Friday, September 21, 2012

8 Social Media Myths Busted

What presumptions do you have about social media for business?  Here are some of the social media myths you need to get out of your system:
Social media is all about YOU
Your Facebook page is yours. Your Twitter page is yours. But there’s a reason why it’s called SOCIAL media.It’s all about people, not self-absorption. Think of yourself as the gracious 
Social Media Myths
host. You have to master the arts of responding tactfully to the crassest remarks, encouraging small talk and meaningful conversation, and handling conflicting ideas in a diplomatic way.

Social media is primarily for sales 
Well, it’s true that we have sites designed for business promotion. But social media is more than just a tool for selling.  It’s all about building and maintaining relationships in the online world. People use social media to converse with others and connect.  It also gives you an arena to provide information and respond to queries. In short, social media is all about building trust. As Mitch Joel says, you have to “Ask yourself: Am I adding value or am I creating static and noise?”  Share and create valuable content, and don’t just aim for the hard sell.
Social media is a replacement for traditional marketing and SEO
How many times have we heard it before?  SEO is dead. Traditional Marketing is dead.  Truth is, each of these channels is important in your overall business strategy.  Traditional marketing still packs a powerful message and has its own potential for virality.  Traditional marketing materials also satisfy your audience’s need to hold or behold something concrete (a magazine, a billboard, etc.). As Media Bistro points out, social media is a lot cheaper and has measurable results; however, “campaigns can be time-consuming and the impact can disseminate very quickly.”  On the other hand, traditional marketing campaigns, especially on television, can “produce short-term results that have greater tangibility.”
As of now, the “virtualization” of the masses is not a hundred percent complete and we can only make assumptions about whether it will ever be complete.  SEO, on the other hand, is important in getting you discovered on search engines.  You can’t be discovered through social media alone. Google is still everyone’s friend—take advantage of all tools out there to get your message across and learn about the nuances of each.
Social media is free
Sure you can pretty much join all the major social networks for free, but  thinking about how you can use social media as a communication strategy and handling a social media team is not as easy as you think. You would need a content team, a project manager, an analyst, and a product expert, to name a few. Decide if you want freelancers, an in-house social media team, or a social media marketing agency to fill in these positions. Then there’s the question of financing for ads, promotions, and contests. Bottom line is, you would need to spend time and money for social media.
You have to be on every social media site
With all the social media sites out there, how can you possibly keep up with all of them? There are now alternatives to the social media behemoths like Facebook and Twitter.  SocialMediaToday tells you to identify where your customers are and which activities have the highest marketing ROI.  Focus on the most relevant sites for you.  For example, a business that makes beautiful wedding cakes will not want to pass up Pinterest, which has a huge female following and is known for spreading a lot of pretty pictures.
It’s okay to make grammatical errors – it’s just social media!
You might argue that this is the age of texting (and abbreviations) and that my point is a matter of personal preference. But as RingCentral points out, grammatical mistakes make you look unprofessional.   I think abbreviations are acceptable every now and then on Twitter where the number of characters you can type are limited. Even then, you can argue that constructing a 140-character message that says what you want to say can be considered a skill.   If you have the space to spell out the word in full, do so. Take a look at the quote from CS Lewis below:
CS Lewis Social Media Myths
What if I wrote the quote as:
If we find ourself w/ a desire dt noting n ds world cn satsfy, d most probable xplanatn s dt we we’re made 4 anodr world. –CS Lewis
It’s going to be a travesty to language and to C.S. Lewis.
There’s nothing to be gained from social media small talk
Perhaps you’ve also read about countless deprecating remarks about how social media has reduced our ability to form meaningful relationships. Our idea of conversation has been whittled down to “had pancakes for breakfast,” “watching FRIENDS reruns and laughing,” “routed all my calls to voicemail,” “off to Paris,” “sitting on the toilet,”  etc. Granted, these are valid arguments.
When not overdone, though, small talk on social media (as it is in real life) is useful.  Small talk is a form of informal discourse and phatic communication. It serves to form and maintain bonds, share feelings, and potentially prolong conversation.   On social media sites, small talk can also take the form of pokes, likes, emoticons, and the like.  But don’t take my word for it. Take it from the experts.  Recent research by Danica Radovanovic and Massimo Ragnedda show that this form of communication on social media is in fact meaningful.  As Radovanovic points out, while “the content itself is not relevant, the ‘keeping in touch’ signal it delivers is crucial.”
Social media is pretty much a “strike anywhere”
Just because you see random memes and inspiring photos popping up everywhere doesn’t mean that you’ll have to do the same thing on your business page. This is your page, remember; it’s not your news feed.  It’s okay to post disruptive posts and small talk (see previous point) once in a while; you can be inspiring and funny and current on your page. But also remember who you’re creating content for and why you’re sharing content.  Does your page satisfy its clientele?  To illustrate: If I go to the Lord of the Rings Movie page on Facebook, I expect to see LOTR updates.  I don’t expect to be bombarded with political posts about Republicans and Democrats or 9Gag parodies of the Avengers.

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