Social media is all the buzz. Brands are looking for new ways to generate traffic and harness the power of social media, jumping on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. But with any new medium comes a learning process that requires some trial and error and a lot of misinformation.
We’ve compiled a list of the top social media myths we have heard over the last few months from clients, self proclaimed experts, and the misguided marketers. We’re about to bust them all.
- Social media campaigns are free and/or cheap – It is true that there are really no hard costs for media, but planning and launching a social media campaign is extremely expensive in man-hours. The amount of time it takes to research your audience, architect conversations, build creative, and engage them effectively is anything but cheap.
- Setting up automatic direct messages with a link to your website/blog is a great idea – This is the fastest way to get unfollowed in my opinion. Welcome to 140 characters of SPAM. Twitter is about engaging with your followers. Sending DM’s to new followers is a great way to open a channel of communication, but take some time to see what they are writing about, what they do and start the conversation off by adding some value. Don’t push yourself on them.
- Using a naked picture of yourself as your avatar can help increase friends and followers – Be genuine. People can spot a phony a mile away. No one wants to see that either, keep it in your pants.
- Your customers are on every social network, so your campaign should be too - You need to understand your audience and where they work and play online. Pick the most appropriate networks to be effective from a marketing and cost perspective. If you are targeting upper class, middle-aged women; launching a campaign on MySpace probably isn’t your best bet.
- Mass replying on Twitter is a good way to connect with people – Sure you can get people’s attention, but then when they go to your page and see the same reply to 50 other people your goose is cooked. Be original and authentic. Start one-on-one conversations. If you want to blast everyone with the same message go sign up for MailChimp.
- Creating a Facebook fan page or group will drive lots of awareness - this isn’t the field of dreams. If you build it, they will not just come. If I had a dollar for every time I saw someone promoting their Facebook page only to find it had 5 fans and no updates, I would have a lot of dollars.
- Push marketing tactics are key in social media. If you retweet @GuyKawasaki using your own promotion, he’ll show you some love – It’s called social media for a reason. It’s about being social, not pushing your own agenda.
- It’s all about the kids, tweens, teens, millennials, etc – Who’s the flavor of the week this time? People aren’t age ranges. Define your audience on your own terms based on demographics, psychographics, technographics etc.
- LinkedIn is only good for contacting business people – If you are one of the thousands on LinkedIn trying to sneak your way into your network’s contacts and Inmailing them pitches; take a number. This business social network is becoming overfilled with business developers, salespeople, traditional MARCOM folks and junior level marketers who just don’t get that value of REALLY connecting with someone. Why not give a little first? Stop yelling at everyone.
- Social media is like viral marketing – It’s true. You build a social media campaign, drop some links around some of the popular networks and BAM! Your campaign gets spread by the masses. Ehhh! (Sound the gameshow buzzer) In both cases you can create a strategy, build a plan, but there is still so much unknown. You can’t control viral or it wouldn’t be viral. Social Media is about engaging someone and adding value to their life. Make sure you understand the difference in your integrated marketing strategy before you just load your barrel and go for the spreadshot.
So there you have it. If you find yourself telling a collegue, client, or friend any of these things you better go to the local police station and turn yourself in. Remember to be genuine, authentic. Invest the time in building a strategy and plan before you invest the time in a social media campaign. The results will speak for themselves.