As social media madness continues to progress, the phenomenon has acquired a bit of a reputation and like most presumed reputations, not all the assumptions are exactly accurate. Read on to ensure you don’t fall victim to some of the most common social media fallacies.
1 – It is not free. Yes, the download and signup is free, but that’s where the gravy train ends. In order to use social media properly and for the best return on any investment you may make, you need to devote something integral into it – time. And as we all know, time equals money. Businesses which think they can just sign up, post a cookie-cutter post once per day and expect miracles to happen are bound to be faced with a social media-tinged reality check when they realize their number of likes and followers are consistently staying in the single digits. Each social media platform has best practices associated with it, and it is important to familiarize yourself with them before embarking on your social media mission. Posting spam to Facebook, not interacting with other users consistently on Twitter and posting low-quality photos on Instagram, simply due to a shortage on time, are all social media faux pas that business should tenaciously steer clear of.
2 – It is not just a marketing and advertising tool. Social media is a method of communication, a tool which enables us to connect with humans from all walks of life, humans whom business giants would have previously not been able to reach directly on such a large, yet still intimate scale. Human connection is a breeding ground for loyalty—the holy grail of branding. Human beings want to be acknowledged, validated and seen. Social media is a bridge between your business and its customers, and it’s not a second or third degree connection – it’s a direct overpass. GoPro, a wildly successful manufacturer of action cameras, is an example of using social media to build connections with its customers, and thus, brand loyalty. By using the photo-sharing app Instagram, GoPro shares daily pictures with its 9.7 million followers, submitted to it by consumers who have taken their photo with the GoPro camera. This user-generated content is completely free for GoPro, allows it to recognize and celebrate individual customers, while still promoting its business and product in an authentic manner.
3 – Contrary to popular belief, your business should not utilize any and all social media platforms available. There are currently dozens of social media apps offered to businesses, but social media is another case of quality versus quantity. When writing the social media strategy for your business, decide which apps are the most in line with what products or services you are offering. For example, a landscaping company may decide to target Instagram and Houzz (an online community which shares architecture, interior design and decorating, landscape design and home improvement) as these apps will allow the company to share photos of their work. Twitter, which is based on short, 140 character messages, is likely not a medium the landscaping company should focus it’s time, efforts, and money on, and instead stick to apps which are comprised of more visual content.
4 – You’ve mastered Twitter, Facebook is your friend, and you even have Instagram running smoothly—shouldn’t you be good to go? Unfortunately, you will likely never be completely free to rest on your laurels. Social media is constantly evolving and spawning new, unique platforms, primed for businesses to realize their potential power. Currently, the mobile app Snapchat is cited as being the fastest growing social media platform, with over 100 million active users, and increasing at a rate of 8 per cent, while other platforms have remained stagnant, such as Twitter, which has not grown in number of users since 2014, according to a survey from Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. If you, like many, are lost on how to effectively use the app, which allows users to share photos and videos which can either “self-destruct” after ten seconds or be pinned to their “story”, which disappears after 24 hours, simply look to Snapchat masters such as Kylie Jenner and her makeup line Kylie Cosmetics. Jenner has used Snapchat to exclusively share pictures and videos of new products, announce when she will be releasing her consistently sold out lip kits, and also communicate with her customer base, asking them what they would like to see change and new products they would be interested in. The Kylie Cosmetic lip-kits, which have continued to sell out in under ten minutes week after week, have been posted on EBay for over 250 dollars (compared to their selling price of 29 dollars), with consumers capitalizing on a company that is so successful, it can’t keep up with demand. While Snapchat can’t be attributed as the only reason for the company’s smashing success, the constant sharing by Jenner to her 30 million Snapchat followers likely doesn’t hurt numbers. Keeping up to date on the social media trends and emerging technologies will allow your business to get an edge on the new platforms and with that, create a link to the growing audience of millennials.
The bottom line is that social media has taken on this fluffy reputation, a reputation which precedes it as being easy to manage and needing little time or effort in order to maintain. Of course, you could treat your business’s social channels with those kind of kid-gloves, or you could recognize that these platforms are a direct link to your customer that should be strategically handled with the utmost professionalism and care.