There is so much noise about social media, much of it not very helpful. Myths about how and why to use these networks abound, spread by networking neophytes and so-called experts alike. Here, then, is a comprehensive guide to social networking misconceptions–each accompanied by a tangible action plan that you can take right now.
Myth 1: Everybody is on social media. Why it’s perpetuated: Experts will show you pretty statistics on how more than 80% of people heard of a product through social media. This is a scare tactic to get you to hire them. The truth is social media is not on every one’s radar–not yet, anyway.
Action plan: Even if your target demographic is not on social media, you can harness the power of the Web by making it easier for search engines like Google to find your website.
Myth 2: Social news aggregators like Digg, Stumbleupon and Reddit are dead. Why it’s perpetuated: These sites don’t get the same level of mainstream media coverage that Facebook and Twitter do. Meanwhile Digg, Stumbleupon and Reddit are still great at spurring viral distribution of content. Some of the most shared content on Facebook and Twitter is initially submitted to these social aggregation platforms.
Action plan: Before you can take advantage of social news aggregators, first you have to ingratiate yourself with other users. It’s an etiquette thing. Start by registering for an account on Digg.com, if you don’t have one already. Write on my Facebook wall asking me to invite you into our Digg groups where we vote on each other’s Digg links.
Myth 3: You can’t do it all in-house. Why it’s perpetuated: Consultants make it appear that campaigns launched on social media networks are the product of occult practices involving three blind witches that play hot potato with one eye ball they all share to see. If they show you how you could do much of it yourself, why would you hire them?
Action plan: Go to Google and type the following keywords: social network . Study the sites you find. See how many people are registered, are currently online or are replying to conversation threads. Read and gauge the quality of the conversations. Post a question to the forum or article, and use the responses to create useful content for that community.
Myth 4: You have to spend hours a day on Twitter. Why it’s perpetuated: Thousands of Tweets may spark a fun conversation with hundreds of people, but your wallet may not be fatter for the effort. You can do better. I’ve been able to meet people who have helped me land contracts; I’ve also been given free tickets to events by tweeting @reply messages during Twitter chat sessions for 30 minutes to an hour a day.
Action plan: Send your customers, your friends on Facebook, your Twitter followers, each person on your email list, a message inviting them to participate on a weekly chat on Twitter. End the tweet chat with some type of call-to-action–like inviting participants to visit your store or web site to try out a product or service that you tweeted about during the chat.
Myth 5: Social media is solely a broadcast channel. Why it’s perpetuated: At first blush, social media feels like a cheap and powerful bullhorn. It is, but don’t be surprised when blasting messages in one direction–from you to them–only generates a trickle of traffic. The trick is to get people involved, and keep them involved.
Action plan: For ideas, query + contest or sweepstakes or giveaways on Google. Maybe you’ll read about how a computer store sold more laptops by holding a contest for free iPads that required people to make their entry on the store’s Facebook page. Formulate a similar marketing campaign that fits your niche.
Myth 6: Social media can replace your website. Why it’s perpetuated: Social media is the new shiny red apple. It’s not going anywhere, but neither are web sites.
Action plan: Email remains one of the most powerful ways to prospect for business. Although you can capture email addresses on social media networks, it is a lot easier to simply add a form at multiple locations on your web site. Create incentives- any kind of premium content- that you can give to email subscribers if they recruit customers for you using their social networks.
Myth 7: You can’t measure your return on investment in social media. Why it’s perpetuated: Many social media experts know how to use social networks to socialize, but they have little to no marketing expertise–meaning they don’t know how to turn all that socializing into cash flow.
Action plan: First, build a “Thank you for subscribing” page on your site that people see after signing up to your email list. Then set up that page as a “Goal” in Google Analytics. Next, also define as a second Goal the confirmation page that loads after someone buys one of your products. Now, if a subscriber hits the purchase-confirmation page anytime after clicking that promotional link, you will see that tracked link as the referring source.
Myth 8: Blogging is a waste of time. Why it’s perpetuated: There is so much noise on the internet, why bother blogging? Here’s why: It gives you a voice and at least a modicum of control of your brand–especially if you really have something important to say and you say it on a consistent basis.
Action plan: Download the WordPress blogging platform from WordPress.org. Install it on your server into a new directory. Next, find some of the best questions your prospects have posed and write an article that responds to their inquiries. Encouraging people to post their comments and ask others in your network to share the content. Repeat.
Myth 9: You have to be on every social network. Why it’s perpetuated: Peer pressure. When no one knows what they’re supposed to do; they feel the need to do everything.
Action plan: Focus your efforts. Visit search.twitter.com or Facebook and type targeted key words into the search fields. The words should describe services, products, or other topics in which your company is involved. Study the web pages that appear in the search results. Are these the type of people who buy your products or services? If so, interact with them.
Myth 10 : Social media will replace real-life networking. Why it’s perpetuated: New stuff keeps coming out. The Google+ Hangout feature allows you to hold a video chat with up to 10 people. The more new gadgets there are to play with, the more time people will spend playing with them, and the less time they will spend talking to each other. Or least that’s how it might seem.
Action plan: People–friends, customers, vendors–still crave face-to-face communication. Get out and meet them, and use social media to help you do it. Based on that information, schedule a gathering to chat about those topics, drink a few beers or hopefully both. Invite your prospects, customers, and people on your email lists; have them test your product for free. The goodwill will go a long way.
The truth is the answers to these questions keep changing, because we are only beginning to understand how to harness social networks to unlock the Web’s true potential. We are learning, day by day. What none of us can afford is to stand by and watch it all unfold. There’s money to be made, after all! Learn these tactics and be so-called social media expert.
The beauty of social media is that most of the time you can see the work you have done for your clients. Thank You Very Much SompongYusoontorn