In 2010, 72% Australian businesses using online marketing had allocated at least 10% of their marketing budget to social media marketing, according to a study released by Community Engine. Quite a few of these businesses are small and have just a handful of employees. Hence much of the marketing efforts usually fall to the owners themselves, who are rarely social media experts. So it follows that there are many misconceptions among small business owners about social media.
✗ Social Media Marketing Is Free
Marketing through social media is in a way more expensive than conventional marketing because it costs something more valuable than money: time. Creating social media profiles for your small business is free, but updating that page and maintaining it is tougher than you think and it takes up a lot of your time. It’s a long-term commitment to which you must remain faithful. A safe approach is to start with no more than two social media websites and to update them regularly. Then expand your social media presence gradually.
✗ Having Many Followers Is a Clear Indication That You’re Doing Well
While it’s theoretically true that the more followers, the more potential customers, in reality things are hardly as straightforward as that. As a small business, such numbers can be irrelevant because you’re more interested in engaged customers rather than in mere followers. Hence, using follower count and other similar figures as benchmarks is tricky and best avoided. Look instead at the activity levels and at the comments. Be wary of strategies that are supposed to bring you many new fans overnight, at least in the beginning. Remember, it takes time to draw in dedicated followers.
✗ Social Media Is the Best Online Tool For Promoting Your Brand
Though there are always exceptions, the truth is that there are few new small businesses that attract new customers by simply using social media. Businesses that use it well use it rather as a means to solidify their bond with existing customers. Social media is a great tool for discovery, but it’s an even better one for keeping in touch. So it’s often better to focus on solving your existing customers’ issues through social media, rather than ignore them in order to hunt for new followers. The same study mentioned earlier confirms this: 43% of businesses use social media to consolidate their relation with customers, in contrast with 33%, which use it for branding.
✗ The Focus Should Be On the Business, Not On the Customer
Wrong. Effective marketing through social media entails that the customer is always the focus of all your efforts. Your task is to discover what your customers like and want through becoming connected with them, and interacting with them continually. It’s not about trying to impose your products or services on them, but rather learning what they expect from you, and so adapting to their needs. The only way to make it in the long run is to focus on the customer.
✗ You Don’t Have to Get Involved Yourself
With interesting content, like relevant videos, pictures, and so on, you can manage to give something new to your customers regularly, but you’re not making the most of social media. Social media is so popular because it’s focused on people, and the interaction between people is always exciting. So to really get close to your followers it becomes essential that you open up yourself, and share your thoughts and impressions with them. This is the only way to make them share their thoughts and impressions themselves. If you really want it to work interact with your audience yourself, avoiding superficiality.
Nitin Aggarwal is an Internet marketer with a virtual assistant company. His company, Offshore Ally has smart link builders and VA for real estate services.