Out of all the best practices of social media, it can be incredibly difficult to navigate (and find)what works best for your business. What makes it even worse is when companies try to tell you what those best practices actually are. But when it comes down to it, how do they actually work for your business? Because the world of social media is definitely not a "one size fits all" approach. Maybe your business is looking for something more? Or you are trying to up your social media game? Whatever the case, it can be tricky.
And when it comes down to it there are a lot of myths, misconceptions, and lies in regards to social media. Luckily we're here to share with you the most common lies about social media that everyone seems to be spreading. Here's the kicker, these so-called "best practices" might actually cause more headache than necessary.
TEN LIES ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA
Lie #1: You can't just ask people to follow/retweet/comment/like/share...
Here's the thing, you can. In fact, you actually SHOULD ask people to do the actions mentioned above. You have to think about it in terms of inbound marketing. Social media is such a great resource. Especially when you can directly ask your customer to do something for you. But there's a right way and a wrong way to go about it. First and foremost, you have to build their trust. So how can you do that? The trick is to post relevant content that appeals to your audience. Not only does it create a perfect segway to ask them to do something, but it helps boost your credibility. This works because it makes it easier for your audience to interact with you. As well as boosting your content. Never be afraid to ask.
If you’re a small brand, your goal should be to find the exact niche for your business. The perfect niche brand focuses on creating deep connections with smaller audiences. The theory is to provide excellent value to a small, but extremely engaged community. Which comes from asking your followers to like, retweet and comment. Be sure to check out how to build an engaged brand community.
Lie #2: Reach is your MOST important metric.
I can envision a lot of successful brand owner's shaking their heads at this one. Honestly, this could be one of social media's biggest lie in the industry. Yes, when it comes down to it, reach is important. But so is engagement and your posts performances. Essentially every single piece of your analytics is important. But if you don't check your analytics once every quarter you are missing out. This step creates a path. One that helps you determine what clicks with your audience and what isn't.
This is extremely important because it helps you communicate with them effectively. However, each piece of the puzzle, whether its reach, engagement, clicks, etc - is just as important as every other piece. Reach does nothing more than tell you how far it went on Facebook, but true engagement will tell you with that reach how many people actually interacted with your content. Never lose sight of that fact, because it's incredibly important.
Lie #3: Delete or ignore negative comments - in fact, disable comment posting altogether.
Alright, are you sitting down? Believe it or not, negative comments are not as bad as they seem. Yes, they can be hurtful, but this can actually give your business an advantage. And the upper hand. You just have to react appropriately. Whatever you do, don't ever delete a negative comment. Whenever you delete a negative comment it can be viewed as shady to your potential customers. Seriously, how can you have a 3-star rating when every single review is flawless. It's pretty much impossible! And here's the most harmful aspect when it comes to deleting negative comments: it discredits your business. Just keep this in mind: no one is perfect.
Negative comments can actually create a snowball effect that leads to a variety of customer service opportunities. Whenever you respond in a timely and appropriate manner, in regards to a public issue, it shows your customers that you are attentive. It also lets them know that you want your customers to be happy. A proper reply to a negative comment acts as a great damage-control tool. It also helps increase your online presence. So go ahead, let the negative work its magic. Because honestly, there's no such thing as bad press.
Lie #4: Hire an intern to do all of your social media work for you.
I know you're busy with a thousand other things with your brand. So much so, that the idea of throwing social media onto the pile seems like an absolute nightmare. But just hear me out... If you hire an intern to strictly manage your social media accounts, issues might arise. Most importantly, you do not want a full-time student (with limited experience) handling some of the issues that social media can present. The key issue is that these interns don't have anyone to guide them when an issue does arise. Whether it's a supervisor, policy or admin on a page it's important that interns are given some direction. And not just handed the passwords to all your accounts.
If you choose to go the intern route, you need to give them clear expectations. You can even let them shadow others in your business so they get an idea of the company. It also doesn't hurt to create goals on social media to ensure that your intern is getting the most out of the experience. While at the same time, giving you the social media supervision that is desperately needed.
Lie #5: Automate your updates to save time.
In theory, auto-posting seems like a great decision. Yes, you can save a lot of time, but it isn't always the best choice. Automated messages can come off as too rigid and timed to your followers. Which can turn them off and cause them to unfollow you! Try posting in real time as often as you can. Make sure that your content is timely and current with what is going on in the world. It can really increase your engagement.
But don't worry if someone unfollows you. At one point or another, people will inevitably unfollow brands on social media. It's just what happens. One of the reasons they unfollow is due to irrelevant content. Granted, "relevant" content is different to each person. But what it really comes down to is how your audience interacts with your content. Once you decide the type of content that they like, stick to it. Give them what they want and they’re sure to follow you. To find out more tips on how to avoid the dreaded "unfollow" head over here.
Lie #6: Auto-publish whenever you share content to several sites.
Auto-publish is never a good idea. You might post an article, only to realize there are grammatical errors, or you forget to include tags. You might even need to modify a layout. Whatever it is you want to give yourself time to change whatever the issue is before it reaches the masses via social media. Auto-publish could actually work against you, especially if you accidentally click the publish button before you were ready. Just remember this: once it's on the internet, it's there forever. ESPECIALLY in terms of social media.
This is why you should always review your past posts to see which ones did the best in terms of engagement. Afterwards, you’ll be able to figure out the relevancy factor by weighing them in. Also, try your best to avoid these 7 social media automation mistakes.
Lie #7: Only focus on Facebook.
There are SO many other platforms that matter. Yes, Facebook might have a huge interest base right now, but what about tomorrow? The world of social media is always changing, a lot faster than we might even notice. For instance, a few years ago YouTube proceeded Facebook in unique users for the first time. This leads to BIG changes in the world of social media. So do yourself and don't put all of your eggs in one basket. Disperse your content and branch out to different platforms. You might just find your perfect audience on Instagram instead of Twitter. Whatever you do, just make sure to create customer interaction between several platforms.
Lie #8: You need to be on every single platform all the time.
While you should diversify your social media platforms, you shouldn't take on more than you can actually handle. A few big platforms that you should at least try to see if they work for you are: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. That way you can invest a little time on each one and see what works best for you and your brand. It also gives you a chance to design your social media efforts to best fit your customers. Which is always a really good tactic. Don't forget to read our article on how to create a social media calendar for your business.
Okay, so here's the thing. You don't need to be on social media all the time. I mean, if you have great information to consistently share, that's awesome. But if you don't you should consider using it less frequently. That old adage of less is more, actually does apply to social media whenever there is a lack of quality content. Don't make the mistake of posting something just to post it.
Instead, you should really focus on the creation of high-quality updates and interactions. Instead of being on the social sites because you have to. Posting on a daily basis doesn't guarantee you success. And most importantly, it won't necessarily make your social media accounts more popular. Actually, if you look at the numbers, social media participation on a daily basis can actually hurt your brand.
Lie #9: You don't need an email if you have social media.
This is so far from the truth! You really do need an email. Especially now more than ever - even with a social media account. Maybe even an email that is specifically set up to handle JUST social media management. This type of email will help you receive notifications and communicate with your customers more effectively. Don't make the mistake and think that a social media account is all you need. Because it simply isn't the case.
Lie #10: All you need is social media.
As much as I love social media, this is so wrong and on so many different levels. The main purpose of having a social media presence is for your business or brand to sell. Therefore you need to use your social media to send customers to your business. That way they can make a purchase and you can make money! In order to successfully do this, you need to have a website. And not just any, old website. The site needs to be fully-functioning, responsive, and current. This is so much more important than your Facebook or Instagram page. Keep in mind that your social media can act more as a route to the end result (your website) than the actual target.
As you can see, there are a lot of misconceptions about social media marketing. It's always a good idea to do your own research and find what works for you. You can even take what you discover and improve on it. Since social media is here to stay, make sure to use it to your advantage and drive a lot of traffic your way. Just make sure you leverage it correctly. Honestly, practice makes perfect, and with social media, it's no different. We'd love to know what you think about the ten lies we mentioned above. Even if you've been using social media forever. Or if your brand is new to the world of social media. Have you heard any other social media lies that we left out? Have you fallen victim to any of the lies we mentioned above? Let us know in the comments below, so we can discuss.