Without exception, every time I embark on some social media training, either with a 121 client or a delegate on one of my workshops, the phrase “my mate says” always crops up, together with one or two common social media beliefs that quite frankly make me shudder.
Whilst it’s true to say that most of us use social media in a personal capacity, how many of those well-meaning “mates” are using social media for business? No doubt they’ve had experience of dealing with brands and companies on social media, but do they really understand the difference between personal and business use?
Let’s take a look at 5 common statements I hear time and time again, and the reality behind them.
“I need to be on every social media platform going”
Or do you? Personally, I disagree wholeheartedly with this statement. As a business, the first thing you should think about is where are your potential customers hanging out, in terms of their social media presence, closely followed by asking whether your business is conducive to a particular social media platform. I know of some fantastic local businesses who enjoy great success on Instagram – hairdressers, wedding dress shops, cake makers – but would a Chartered Accountant or Solicitor have as much success? I doubt it. They would be better off investing their time in LinkedIn and Twitter. My advice on this one would be to assess which social media platforms are worth investing in, and work at them rather than being ubiquitous and end up struggling for content and spreading yourself too thin! Which brings me on to Myth #2 ….
“If I use a scheduling tool, I can send the same post across all platforms”
Really? Please – just don’t! Each social media platform should be treated individually when it comes to your posts. They all have a different audience and different formats/rules for posting – and if you’re lucky enough to have the same followers across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and SnapChat (to name just 6!) how will they feel, ,seeing the same post at the same time from your business? And please, if you have your Tweets linked to Facebook, or your Facebook posts linked to Twitter go ahead and unlink them now – here’s why.
“The more Followers/Likes I have, the greater my social media success will be”
Believe it not, social media is not a numbers game. Sure, you can visit the likes of Fiverr.com and easily buy yourself 500 Facebook Likes or Twitter Followers, but why would you? Social media is all about engagement, and a smaller audience of Followers who have actually chosen to follow your brand/business are more likely to engage with your posts – Like, Share, Re-Tweet – than those anonymous accounts who don’t know you from Adam – many of whom are more likely to be automated bots than real people. If you work at your posts and engage with your audience, the Likes and Followers will increase organically over time, which neatly brings us on to Myth #4.
“Social media is a quick fix to get me out there”
Usually, when I take on a new client for social media management, one of the first questions they ask me is “how long will it take to get anywhere on social media?” I always advise them to give it 6-12 months and not to expect miracles in the first 3 months. You may have the best content on the planet, but its not worth putting it out there if you haven’t first built your audience – you may as well be giving a presentation to an empty room. Think about your audience, engage with them and your reputation will grow. Please, don’t expect to have as many Followers as LadyGaGa within a week. Food for thought – the world won’t necessarily come to you if you don’t go to it first!
“I don’t see the point, I’m not getting any orders/sales from social media”
Boom! And there you have it – the ultimate mistake made by many: the expectation that purely having a social media presence will make the phone ring and the order book healthy. By all means use your social media presence as a partial sales funnel but its primary function should be to build your brand awareness and the fact that you exist! Make yourself accessible to your audience (yes, we’re talking engagement again!) make yourself memorable, and when the time comes, they will remember you for all the right reasons, which is when it’s down to you to take the relationship away from social media and talk business. The golden rule of thumb is that just 20% of your social media output should be sales-orientated, whilst the other 80% should be everything else, from sharing tips, joining in conversations on trending topics (think hashtags!) and generally being a clued-up, engaged member of any social media community. Your followers will soon get bored if you turn into Donkey from the Shrek movies with a “pick me, pick me, pick me” attitude.
So, next time your well meaning friend comes out with a golden nugget of social media wisdom, just ask yourself if its advice worth taking, or advice to be avoided at all costs.