A while back I covered several common social media misconceptions which many small business owners have when they are first thinking about a social media campaign. With all the information available today, it's easy to get in the wrong mindset when it comes to this new form of marketing.
Let's face it; social media can be challenging, but it isn't some kind of black art. Anyone can handle it with some training and practice, whether it's self taught or not. However, there are still some big misconceptions people have even after they're familiar with it.
The misconceptions I'm going to talk about in this post can often lead to discouragement in the middle of a marketing campaign. People get frustrated when they aren't gaining traction. Pay attention to the list below; your current way of approaching social media actually might be holding you back.
- "Great content will always get noticed." - If only this was true. There is more excellent content floating around the web than you can imagine, and you'll probably only see .01% of it if you're lucky. The fact of the matter is that the internet is heavily saturated with great content. There is certainly a lot of mediocre and low quality content as well, which makes filtering through good content even harder.
I read articles preaching that "high quality content will draw in an audience" weekly, if not daily. It is true that you need good posts if you want to attract readers, but good posts will rarely draw in viewers on their own. You need to actively promote your content if you want to grow your reader/fan base.
If you already have a huge fan base, you don't need to promote your content as heavily. However, I have a feeling that isn't your case since you're reading this. You need to find ways to get your content in front of your target market if you want results - whether its promoted posts, guest blogging, advertisements, or email blasts.
Do not fall into the mindset that simply creating great content will be good enough. 99% of the time, great content will not build a fan base without effective promotion, and business owners will become discouraged by a lack of results.
- "Good, sharable content always goes viral" - As a marketing strategist, I can't even count how many times I have heard business owners ask, "Why don't we just make a viral video/photo/post?". If anyone could come up with an exact formula for creating viral content, they would be rich.
It's possible to create content which has a good chance of going viral; in fact, it even seems easy sometimes. However, something will almost never go viral simply because you think it's great. As I mentioned above, good content gets viewership through extensive promotion.
You can upload the funniest, most interesting YouTube video the world has ever seen, and it still might get zero views. Sometimes things take off on their own, but the odds of this happening are simply too low to rely on. Don't count on your posts going viral just because they're awesome; promote them in unique ways to actually get views, and they might spread like wildfire.
- "I don't see sales coming from social media, it must not be working." - Social media ROI is an extremely difficult thing to measure in any precise way. You can't really see the exact effect social media interactions have on sales without serious conversion trackers which you likely don't have time or money for.
Because of this, it's easy to disregard your social media efforts when you can't attribute them to any specific results. However, if you're actively engaging your audience and making any kind of impact on social platforms, you're likely profiting in more than one way.
Interacting with your fans, readers, and customers may not always provide you with a direct sale. If you're always expecting a conversation to lead to an immediate sale, you'll probably be disappointed. You need to remember that you don't only profit from sales, though.
You gain the benefit of close customer relations, which can lead to trust, loyalty, and even referrals to new potential customers. In time, these factors may lead to an increase of sales, and a larger customer base. It's important to never shake of interactions simply because you don't see an exact dollar value in increased income; in time, these conversations can be worth more than a simple sale.
Hopefully this post helped clear up some misconceptions you may have had about social media. Success is never guaranteed, but having the right expectations is a great place to start.
You should set reasonable goals, and never anticipate a certain outcome. Social media is based on your individual customers, and their actions can never truly be predicted. If you understand this, you won't want to give up when things don't go well. Instead, you can learn from your experiences and plan your next move accordingly - eventually, you'll find what it takes to be met with success.