Social networking is no longer the new kid on the block. It’s an integral part of many people’s lives these days and will only increase and extend its influence. But, however well we think we may know it, social networking can still be a bit of a mystery to many. Myths and rumours can spread as quickly as a virus, and what began as just a throwaway remark can soon be absorbed into popular consciousness and suddenly become an indisputable truth. In part one of this article, we had a look at some of the popular misconceptions that surround the social media and tried to debunk some of the more outlandish claims. In the next couple of articles, we’ll have a look at some other social media urban myths and hopefully try to put these to bed once and for all.
Twitter is only effective if you spend hours a day on it
You really don’t need to spend hours each day on Twitter to make it work for you. Some people really do believe that this is essential, but the fact is, it isn’t. Pumping out hundreds of tweets every day might get you noticed, possibly for the wrong reasons I might add, and may help to strike up a conversation with other users, but form a business point of view it’s ineffective. It won’t make you any richer, and neither will it bring in more business. What company’s should be doing is using this social network to open new doors, attract new contacts and develop stronger and more robust business links. It’s all about networking, and meeting people who might help you land the next contract.
The truth is you can achieve all of the above and still only have to spend half an hour or so each day. Send your customers, your Twitter followers, Facebook friends, everyone on your email list and anybody else interested in content involving your industry a message inviting them to participate in a weekly chat on Twitter. Make sure you have informative tweets ready to post with your hashtag, and end each chat with a call to action: invite them to register for your email newsletter, or visit your store or website to try out the product you’ve been tweeting about.
The social media is there for you to sell yourself and your business
In some ways this is true, as it is a broadcasting medium where you can get your business message across to an audience. The problem is that’s only half the story. Twitter, Facebook and other social networks have become popular because they allow users to communicate with each other. It’s this social engagement that drives their success. If you consistently bang out message after message without engaging with the audience, you’ll be lucky to generate more than a trickle of traffic to your website. The art of social media is to get people involved with what you’re saying, and keep them involved. How do you make your customers feel involved? Well, that’s really up to you, but you could try the old trusted marketing gambit of offering free products or holding competitions. People love contests and the thought that they might get something for nothing. If all they have to do to stand a chance of winning something is to sign up to your Facebook page, then the chances are they probably will. All you need to do is formulate a similar marketing offer that fits your particular niche, and see what happens. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Social media can replace your website.
It may sound ludicrous, but some people do actually believe that social networking has now made websites redundant. This couldn’t be further from the truth if it tried. The fact of the matter is websites are alive and well and will always be necessary. Websites are where businesses sell themselves and their products. The purpose of marketing on Facebook and Twitter is to drive traffic to the website. Could you really do justice to the products you make and describe them accurately and appealingly in 140 characters? I doubt it.