Recently, I was interviewed and asked what misconceptions companies make when developing and implementing their social media strategy. My experience may run counter to many of the gurus out there, but – in all honesty – I think this industry is finally matured and the results speak for themselves.
Social Media Misconception #1: Social Media is a Marketing Channel
Companies often look at social media primarily as a marketing channel. Social media is a communication channel that can be used for marketing – but it’s not solely a marketing channel. The first thing companies run into when getting on social media is typically a complaint – and now they need to resolve it successfully since the world is watching. Social media is what the audience expects despite your company’s view of how the channel should be used. Not being responsive to these requests will destroy any social media marketing strategy you did have planned.
Social Media Misconception #2: Return on Investment Should be Immediate and Easily Measured
Companies want to measure the performance and return on investment in social media with every tweet or update. It’s like measuring the success of a band after they hit the first drum beat. Your social media return on investment can only be measured after you actually bring value to an audience, that audience (listening) becomes a community (sharing), and you build both authority and trust in your industry. In other words, you have to make great music before you can expect a return! As well, the return on social media grows over time – building momentum as you captivate your audience and build a community that begins to echo your message. This blog is a decade old and only in the last 5 years did revenues grow to a point of building a business around it.
Social Media Misconception #3: Marketing Should be Responsible for Social Media
This relates to #1, but companies often limit social media messaging to the marketing department, who are often unprepared to respond. Marketing often excels at branding and messaging – but not at responding. Customer Service, Public Relations and Sales personnel are the resources in your company who pitch prospects and media everyday, listen and respond to concerns, and understand how to deal with objections. Deploying a great social media strategy must include these personnel while marketing helps craft the messaging, monitor and share on the channel, and measure the impact.
Social Media Misconception #4: Social Media Mishaps are Devastating Companies
Companies believe their messaging on social media must be perfect, without mistakes. Day after day, week after week, and month after month we see these incredible examples of how companies have done something that the professional social media gurus call social media disasters. They may be mistakes, but they’re rarely disasters. If you look up all the incredible blunders on social media by companies, the vast majority had NO impact on sales, stock prices, or profits. Companies can absolutely make mistakes and fully recover from them. In fact, we’ve seen where the echoing of blunders has often grown the company’s sales since news channels and other social outlets echo the issue beyond what any advertising could have paid. The strategy comes in the resolution of the mistake and recovering can be a huge boon to business as it builds trust and authenticity with the audience.
Social Media Misconception #5: Social Media is Free
Discovering, curating, publishing, responding and promoting your brand on social media is not free. In fact, if you do a terrible job, it can be a huge waste of time and energy for your company. It can cost you sales instead of actually making them. On the platform side, social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are being pushed hard by their investors to make a buck… so the ability for your message to be promoted in social media without buying some audience is decreasing every day. Establishing budgets and resources to discover, curate, publish and respond on social media to grow your reach is imperative.
Agree or disagree? What other misconceptions do you believe are out there?