As a business owner operating in the United Kingdom, it can be easy to read things online or see what our American cousins are doing and attempt to follow them when promoting your products and services.
You’ll likely get your information about the best strategies to promote your business from blogs, YouTube videos, e-books, marketing seminars… the list goes on.
But the truth is that the marketing world is full of misconceptions and fake news.
Businesses and individuals will tell you what they think is right without backing it up in an attempt to sell your products or services. For example, you’ve likely heard that SEO is dead or a waste of money, but it’s one of the most valuable, rewarding marketing techniques when done right.
Social media is another marketing technique some people rubbish, but again – when used in the correct way, it can generate leads, boost brand awareness and transform your brand.
Below, we’ve put together some of the most common social media misconceptions that you should stop believing if you want to take your business to the next level in 2019…
Social media is a waste of time
Let’s start with the biggie. Social media is a waste of time.
Well, that misconception may be true in some cases, especially if you’re spending several hours a week on social media and you’re not doing a very good job.
Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram give back whatever you put into them – if you post lots of engaging, relevant content and you interact with followers, then you’ll naturally generate leads, increase traffic to your website and grow your business.
If you’re simply going through the motions and are not connected with your followers, posting random tidbits of information and expecting the customers to roll in overnight, that simply isn’t going to happen.
Hard work pays off – so put in the effort, or outsource to a firm that will.
The more followers, the better
You can have millions of followers and zero engagement, and vice versa.
You should not measure your success on social media by the number of followers you have, but by the results that you get from those followers.
So, set up analytics on your website to see how much referral traffic you’re getting from Twitter and Facebook; offer exclusive social media discount coupons and measure how many are used, and ask your customers where they find you.
Those are the best ways to measure your return on investment and ensure you’re getting something back from social. If you’re not, you’re probably doing something wrong.
Everything must be promotional
When crafting the perfect social media presence for your business, you should be mindful not to be too promotional.
Indeed, if you are, then people aren’t going to want to follow you or engage with you. Think of it like Robinson’s Squash – one part concentrate, ten parts water.
For every one promotional post, share ten things that aren’t directly related to your products and services, whether that’s industry news, tweeting your customers, sharing user-generated content or having some fun with memes, GIFs, and trending topic content.
You shouldn’t share other people’s content
This one’s a biggie.
Many businesses fall into the trap of thinking that everything they post on social media has to relate to their business. That’s not the case whatsoever.
If you’re only ever harking about your own firm, then people will A) think you’re a little bit full of yourself and B) probably unfollow you, because they’ll grow tired of seeing the same stuff time and time again.
Look, we’re not saying that you need to retweet your competitors’ adverts or give a shoutout to your clients, but you should not be afraid of sharing content from reputable third parties.
For example, a hairdresser may want to share celebrity news, especially if someone like Holly Willoughby gets a new style on This Morning, whereas a local restaurant might share recipes for Halloween and Christmas to boost engagement and show that they care about their customers, rather than it always being “me, me, me, I, I, I, self, self, self.”
Ads are a waste of money
Advertising on social media is one of the simplest and fastest ways to increase your reach and generate new customers, but you need to know how to use them before you start splashing the cash.
Focus on your ad copy – you need to create something that stands out and is going to attract people’s attention. After that, you should look at your audience segmentation and make sure you’re targeting the right people.
It’ll take some trial and error but you’ll get there, and you’ll soon be generating a significant return on your ad investment.
You must use hashtags
It’s so frustrating seeing businesses finish their posts on Twitter and Facebook with 100 hashtags in a bid to increase engagement and reach.
That doesn’t work. In fact, some research has shown that hashtags don’t increase engagement whatsoever – they simply make your content easier for robots and spammers to find, and like to attract your attention.
You can get away with lots on Instagram but use them sparingly on Twitter and Facebook.
I don’t need to be on Facebook/Instagram/LinkedIn
Although there are some niches where a presence on a particular platform may be deemed as unnecessary, in the majority of the cases you can benefit from having a presence on one of the Big Four social networks.
A while ago, we’d tell customers and readers to hone in on just one or two, but we firmly believe that you should keep posting new content on all four, even if it’s the same material.
Simply put, the more places your brand can be found online, the easier it’ll be to find new customers and encourage existing ones to stick around.
Brand awareness is key – and if social media can only do one thing right, it’s increasing awareness.
There you have it – some of the most common misconceptions about social media. Did any surprise you? Do you disagree with our list? Let us know on Twitter using @99socialUK.