Social media marketing works. We’ve all read the case studies about the big boost in sales. We read the books from the social media “gurus” who blow up their reach using social media tools. So it’s going to work for our business too.
But if you’re telling yourself these common lies about your social media marketing efforts, you’ll be in for a long ride. It’s not to say you won’t find success, but you’ll be wasting a lot of time before you do. If these little points sound familiar, don’t be alarmed, you’re in the majority. But that doesn’t mean you’re right.
1. Instant Boost In Sales
Social media channels are not the savior to poor sales. Sure, added exposure can help, but you need to really dig down to figure out your REAL business challenges. Adding a Facebook page and Twitter account are not going to make revenue fall from the heavens. The expectations of instant return on investment are often grossly overestimated. If you think that your sales are going to increase using social media, you need reasons why. Be honest with yourself before you start inflating sales expectations.
2. Expectations of High Follower Counts
You’re active on Twitter, you have great content, so why don’t people care about your tweets? Don’t expect a tidal wave of Facebook fans and Twitter followers overnight. Unless you’re a large brand who has already spent millions of dollars on previous advertising, it’s going to take a while for people to find you and trust your content isn’t sales geared or spammy.
Brands have an immediate disadvantage with social media because your hurdle is to find a way to make your target audience care about your social profiles. If you don’t have a compelling reason for someone to fan your Facebook page, why should they?
3. Followers Equals Success
Don’t fall into the follower and fan count trap. It’s easy to view these measurements as success indicators but that’s because you haven’t set up real goals. Unless these followers and fans fall into your target audience and you’re having regular engagement with them, they’re useless for anything other than ego. You certainly need to acquire an audience, but they need to be with the folks that can move the needle on real business objectives.
4. Our Content Will Go Viral
Few expectations are talked about more in office meetings regarding social media than content “going viral”. Perhaps I’m wrong and you’ll be the exception. But if I was a betting man (and my Gamblers Anonymous sponsor says I’m not) I’d put money on “not viral”.
Primarily because most brands fail to identify what content their audience actually wants. It’s the old sales folly of selling features instead of benefits. If you haven’t properly identified the information that your audience eats up, wants, and spreads…you shouldn’t expect your content to explode with countless retweets and sharing on Facebook and LinkedIn.
5. Activity Equals Progress
You send out tweets all day on Twitter. You have daily posts to Facebook. We’re doing great!! Are you? Perhaps. But without objectives and goals established and a purpose to your social media marketing, how will you know. Never mistake activity for progress. It’s easy to stay busy with social media, that rarely has a direct correlation with success.
6. It Will Work
Our competitors are all using social media and they’re having successes! So if we use it, we’ll have big results too. First, how do you know you’re competition is having success? Are you judging based on follower counts? Even so, just being active and having an account does not mean you’ll find any success. If you have not created a thoughtful and well planned strategy you shouldn’t expect anything, because you have yet to define what working is.
If these little social media marketing lies sound familiar it’s never too soon to change your ways. Get some real strategy behind your activities and start tracking some real number that drive real business objectives.
Scott S. Bishop is editor for Real Time Marketer and is the Director of Social for an integrated marketing firm. He is an avid blogger and active across the net. He is @thescottbishop on Twitter