Are you still storytelling like it’s 2007? Or, is your brand making use of a major tool that is now a regular part of our everyday reality: Social media?
Even though marketers, online entrepreneurs, and even major agency heads like Gary Vaynerchuk preach about the necessity of social media marketing, there are still a staggering number of SMEs that simply wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole.
And even though most of these businesses’ employees will retire to platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter when they’ve clocked out of their 9-to-5, at work, social media marketing may be somewhere between taboo and uncharted territory for them.
The truth is that the social media landscape is changing and growing fast, and businesses stand to gain in ROI when they use this tool for gaining more marketing success. While it’s certainly not a magic wand you can wave for instant brand loyalty and off-the-charts revenue, social media is undeniably powerful and should be harnessed.
Too bad many companies are still avoiding social media marketing, no thanks to persistent myths casting more doubt on it. We take a look at five such myths below, and explain to you why you shouldn’t be fooled.
1. Social Media Management is only for the Young
There is a sense among businesses that target older people that their market has simply “aged out”; that if you didn’t grow up with social media, you’re automatically never going to “get it.” The justification often goes like this: “These kids spend all their time on social platforms for fun so…they would be the experts and users, right?”
Wrong. This assumption is simply untrue.
But the justification does reveal something else: It may very well take those who are not used to a particular social platform for communicating with their peers a little longer to get the hang of it. But, as far as user flow goes on social media apps, it’s the design, focus, and features of the app—not the age of the user—that determines how fast they learn to use it.
For businesses new to social media marketing, they may fall prey to this myth, and if their target markets focus on the older generations, they could think that social media is just a waste of time. Fact is, in 2017, over 50% of people aged 55-64 actually use social media. That’s a huge statistic, one that businesses targeting people in that age group shouldn’t dismiss. It also tells us that, hey, they may be old but there’s a good chance your grandma or grandpa is on social media. After all, social media, as a whole, is for everyone.
2. My Customers Are Definitely NOT on Social Media
Many businesses dismiss social media just because they think that their customers are not on it. This thinking is not only negatively simplistic but also downright false. As of last year, almost 2.5 billion people are on social media, so there’s a very good chance that most, if not all, of your target audience use social networks.
Think about social media as simply a new arena to play in. Making the argument that “my customers are not on social media” today is as absurd as saying, “my target audience doesn’t watch television.”
The obvious counter to that is, “Yes. They do. Everyone watches television.”
And you can bet everyone with a smartphone is also on social media. Which is just about everyone in the world at this point. According to a worldwide survey conducted by eMarketer, the number of smartphone users worldwide currently sits at 2.53 billion and is expected to grow to and surpass the five billion mark by 2020.
The point is not whether your customers are on there or not. To continue with the television parallel, the point is whether you’ve managed to snare your viewer’s attention for a few moments in time with your ads and content. Thinking that you don’t need social media because you’re convinced that your audience are not on it will result to missed opportunities to expand your reach and widen your customer base, leaving you at the mercy of the digitally-driven competition.
3. Social Media Just Doesn’t Work for B2B-focused SMEs
If television was all about “glamorising” products and services, making consumers desire them, then social media is the ideal place for “humanising” a brand. Any brand, whether it’s a B2B or a B2C.
There’s a common myth that because social media seems more informal and more personal, it’s somehow better geared for B2C marketing. Those who run social media business accounts are only all too aware of the fact that they’re directly speaking to their audience and interacting with them every single day. And this kind of personal approach is okay when brands are speaking to consumers but when businesses are speaking to businesses, it’s all about professionalism and formality.
However, there’s no reason why businesses can’t be professional and yet human at the same time.
In fact, B2B SMEs have even more to gain from social media marketing, specifically because one of the most important tenets of B2B marketing is the fact that face-to-face meetings between a client and a sales associate is best. And there’s nothing built better to digitally facilitate that sort of interaction than social media.
So, what does this mean for Australian companies? A study funded by the Australian government’s Department of Industry and Innovation found that 93% of business buyers believe all companies should have a social media presence.
Still in disbelief? Canva, the Aussie-born “design platform anyone can use,” is a great example of a fast-growing, incredibly popular solution that is used by users—some of whom are consumers but many of whom are also small business owners. To date, Canva has around 100,000 followers on Instagram, and their Facebook marketing presence is solid and well-maintained.
4. If We Start, We’ll have to be on All Social Media Platforms
So, once you are open to social media marketing, which platform do you focus on? Which combination will make for a killer strategy? Is it Facebook plus Instagram minus Pinterest, with some LinkedIn on the side?
It really doesn’t have to be painful. Making the call on “where” you should be comes down to a combination of factors that culminates in an informed decision which includes who your target audience is, the level of engagement, your brand’s goals, and the kind of content you should produce.
One way an SME can figure out if a platform is right for them is to experiment with the ones they enjoy or are most familiar with. Then, they can study the numbers and see if it’s working out or if they feel they should use another platform, carefully analysing the stats and considering the aforementioned factors.
For example, for a travel agency, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are great choices to market their services and expertise which are tied to pleasing, visually-appealing vacation destinations. They can use, say, Twitter as well, but these three should be the main focus because they’re great vehicles to entice their market, banking on great photo- and video-sharing features to get the word out.
To put it simply, no, you don’t have to be on all platforms to make social media marketing work for you—you just have to choose the right ones.
5. It’s Simply Too Painful to Monitor Metrics
Now, this could be viewed as both a myth and a complaint.
It is a myth because the complaint is easily dismissed if you just try and avoid being discouraged. Businesses that find monitoring stats too tedious or time-consuming—perhaps because they’re currently a smaller team—can (and should!) use specific tools to help aggregate all their social media data into one dashboard.
Using smart technologies or a dedicated marketing consultancy service, users can publish and post content to multiple accounts, automate posts, or set up a content and data stream for various accounts, where they can monitor the comments, reposts, likes, and shares across platforms. They can also choose to remain in their zone of operational proficiency and delegate the management and monitoring of these accounts to third-party social media experts.
Platforms will always change and evolve, trying to suit the needs of their customers and users. User experience, in other words, always comes first.
So, while managing social media data can be confusing, even intimidating, it doesn’t have to be that way, even for novices. There are plenty of digital and online tools such as Google Analytics that don’t require a steep learning curve and will help you manage your social media profiles and give you a better idea of what the numbers mean (and what you should do for future success). You just have to be brave enough and take the first step and try these tools that are built with your success and convenience in mind.
These myths, along with many others, are one of the big reasons why many are still not able to reap the rewards of social media for business. If you want to avoid being fooled by these and to learn how digital marketing can take you to the next level, it’s always a wise move to consult with the experts. We at Curate Bee pride ourselves in being partners for brands who want to realise digital marketing’s full potential for business growth and marketing success. With our experience and expertise in digital marketing, we’ll help you build a solid online presence you can turn into a competitive advantage.