Things Social Media WON’T Do for Your Business
More than 87% of the United States has internet access. Not only that, but more than 72% of all internet users are now active on social media. It’s no surprise, then, that more and more businesses are jumping into the social media marketing pool. Some are just now dipping their toes in the water, due to a lack of time or resources. But others have already been in and gotten out, because of high expectations and an unrealistic idea of what social media can do.
We’re not sure who told businesses that social media was a cure-all, but that just isn’t so. Setting realistic expectations is an important part of any project, and we’d like to set some below. Here’s what social media won’t do for your business:
It Won’t Automatically Increase Traffic. Just being on social media won’t bring you more traffic. Interacting with consumers, providing great customer service and sharing helpful, non-sales-y content, however, will – albeit indirectly. Think about it – let’s say you see on social media that Home Depot helped build a cart for a puppy with cancer. Probably gave you the warm fuzzies, right? We love seeing big brands helping others. And now, Home Depot is in a very positive light in your eyes. Guess where you’ll probably end up going to get that bucket of paint you needed?
It Won’t Assure Viral Success. You’ve got some great articles or videos, and you’ve put them up on your social channels for the world to see. You even tried creating your own meme. Still hearing crickets? Sharing content on social media does not and cannot assure viral success. Truth is, there’s no tried and true way to go viral – it’s a combination of planning, coincidence, connection and pure luck. Look at any of the content that went viral in the past few years, and you can find similar content that didn’t go anywhere. Put out content you love that your customers will find value in, and you’ll be just fine.
It Won’t Guarantee Sales or Leads. While posting on social can lead to sales, there are no guarantees. Social media isn’t meant to be a sales tool – people don’t want to be “marketed at” on Facebook or Twitter. They want to find interesting content, they want to vent, and they want to keep up with friends, family and brands that interest them and provide value. Like Scott Stratten said, social media is about the C’s – Community, Connection, Conversation and Customer Service. If you’re rocking all of these things, you can bet you’ll see an increase in sales thanks to social media helping you increase brand awareness and advocacy.
It Won’t Offer Fast Results. Like all marketing strategies old and new, social media marketing requires time, planning and testing. To find success, you’ll need a long-term strategy that defines your target audience, tests different strategies, and analyzes what content is engaging your audience and why. Collect the data that comes from your strategy and you’ll have an average benchmark to compare highs and lows to from then on.
It Won’t Allow You to Ignore Your Website. Your website is still a vital part of your online presence and should be updated regularly, if not just as often, as your social networks. There are a few things to remember here: 1) Social media networks don’t work for your company. They provide a free service to millions, and they could easily disappear tomorrow – so use them to support your business, not run it. 2) Your website is still an important and major source of information on your company. If it isn’t up-to-date, mobile-friendly and easy to navigate, you’ll lose customers.
It Won’t Fix Your Bad Reputation (or Cement Your Good One). If you’re already known for swearing at customers, yelling at small children or having nightmarish customer support, social media will not be a quick way to repair the way consumers see you. It can be of assistance, but that will only be long after necessary (business) soul searching, repairing and restructuring. Similarly, even if you have a stellar reputation, setting up social media and then ignoring your customers can drive your reputation down drastically.
Don’t be fooled – a great social media marketing strategy takes dedicated team members a lot of time, planning and effort. All businesses can find social media success, if they have high aspirations, and realistic expectations.