Social media marketing, for the most part, has an enticing entry fee – Free! For that reason social media is ubiquitous and popular. Its use grows exponentially each day. Facebook alone has 600 million users and yet it is just one small segment of a very expansive revolution in how customers communicate and make decisions. Two billion videos are watched per day on YouTube. Three thousand images are loaded to Flickr every minute. Sixty-one percent of U.S. households use social networks.
Despite these startling statistics many businesses are still kicking and screaming against the value of social media in business. This article dispels the three biggest myths and bad assumptions being circulated in the business community about social media.
- Myth #1: Social media is free. But businesses should not confuse free with effortless. It might not cost you money to launch a Facebook page, Twitter account, or Your Tube channel but turning social media into a revenue or customer loyalty generation machine is a different story. Converting a follower or connection into a business asset takes time and resources. Not having the time or resources to get started or keep current is no longer a viable excuse. If you do, you’re telling your customer, he or she isn’t worth it. Social media marketing has become as vital a function as sales. Social media has gone mainstream and “no time-no money-and- no resources” does not give you permission anymore to avoid using social media to market your business, build customer loyalty, or recruit candidates.
- Myth #2: My customers aren’t using it. Who are you kidding? Every time a customer leaves a review about a book they read, a hotel or restaurant they visited, a product they just purchased, they use social media. Sites like Yelp, Amazon, and Google Places have put your business on social media without your permission and there’s nothing you can do about it … except manage it. Customers are leaving messages about your business for millions of other people to read and many businesses aren’t paying attention. Research by Convergys Corp. has shown that a negative customer review on YouTube, Twitter or Facebook can cost a company about 30 customers. What it means is poor service and/or a lousy product cannot escape the eyes of potential consumers in today’s digital age. Google and social sites facilitate all sorts of reviews about your company. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to getting the attention of customers.
- Myth #3: Build it and they will come. Just as you are short of time, so are your customers. Unless you give them a good reason – a really good reason – to read your blog, watch your video, or like your Facebook page and then stay connected, they won’t do it. Even when customers have made social media a subconscious activity, every business is vying for their attention. Customers want to feel you are listening to them. Even if it’s only for one brief moment, they want to feel like they have your undivided attention. Did I mention your content has got to be so good that it gives customers a reason to visit your site and return often?
Social media has inverted the marketing funnel. Mass marketing is dying. Inbound marketing – aka 1:1 marketing or permission marketing – is thriving. Customers will choose to spend time on your site and less time somewhere else only if they receive value or feel part of a special community.