Social Media Myth-Busting Part Three

In the final part of this article about some of the urban myths that surround social networking, we’ll have a look at some of the grey areas that seem to cause the greatest confusion: namely the apparent inability to use analytics in social networking, whether Facebook and Twitter have made blogging redundant, and if social media really has put the final nail in the coffin for one-to-one, real-life networking.

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You can’t measure your return on investment in social media

Although lots of so-called experts may really know how to socialise on social networks, few have any real marketing expertise and don’t truly understand how they can turn this socialising into cash flow. In fact a large proportion of these experts will tell you that it’s impossible to measure the return on investment on social networking sites as there simply aren’t any suitable analytic tools available. That’s just another social media myth. If a business wants to track what’s happening on social networks, then all it needs to do is track where the users are coming from, identify the actions these visitors took on the site, like purchasing or reading a blog, and calculate the value of that activity.

All a business needs to do to track visitors coming from social networks is to append tracking parameters on the links they post to those networks. To attach tracking parameters, visit the Google Analytics URL Builder and add a link to a web page that you mention in your email messages. In the Google Analytics URL Builder, add the link you want to track to the field labeled “Website URL;” fill in your tracking parameters in the fields beneath; and click the button labeled “Generate URL.” Take the same steps to attach tracking on any links you include in emails sent to your customer email list. To turn all that tracking into usable information that you can act on, a business needs to set up ‘goals’ in Google Analytics to see which tracked links generate the most activity.

Blogging is now a waste of time

If the social media is now so inclusive and pervasive, is there any point in continuing to blog? Let’s face it; it can be hard work, so why bother with all the effort if social networking can do the work for you? Blogging is, and will continue to be important, and the social media won’t alter that. Blogging is special because it gives a business a unique voice, and let’s them maintain a modicum of control over their brand. If any business has got something important to say, and wants to say it consistently, then blogging is the way to go, not social networking. It’s definitely a superior option for those businesses who want to builds closer ties with their customers. Find some of the best questions your prospects have posed and write an article that responds to their inquiries. Add a question at the end encouraging people to post their comments. Share the content with your prospects, customers and on the social networks, and ask others in your network to share the content.  How simple is that?

You have to be on every social network

You can never be all things to all people, so there’s no point trying to cover every single social network just on the off-chance that you might pick up a little bit of extra business. The fact is you probably won’t, and you run the danger of spreading yourself too thinly. It’s much better to focus your efforts on those networks that are the most suited to your particular niche.

Visit search.twitter.com or Facebook and type targeted key words into the search fields. The words should describe services, products, or other topics with which your company is involved.  Study the web pages that appear in the search results. Do the people you see on these pages resemble your target community? Are these the type of people who buy your products or services? If so, interact with them; if not, don’t.

Will social media replace real-life networking?

The short answer to that is no. Yes, new applications come out all of the time, and will appear to be the answer to all your dreams, but they usually aren’t. Take Google +’s latest Hangout feature that let’s you hold video chats with up to 10 people at once: it might appear to be the ultimate answer to all your networking problems, but the truth is nothing can replace one-to-one contact and real-life networking. We all prefer face-to-face communication at the end of the day.

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