Part 1: Social Media Advocates – Myths

Social Media Myths

Continued from ‘Creating Social Media Advocates‘ series.

Before getting into the ‘tools’ or ‘strategies’ of successfully building and harnessing the power of a social media strategy, let’s first begin by looking at some of the most common myths of social media. The point of here is to get over the typical myths and cliché’s of social media, and start with the essentials of understanding where to begin and what influencers can do for your social media strategy.

I’m not going to get into the typical social media cliché’s you’ll read or hear, such as…

– social media provides transparency with your market.
– social media is a tool, such as FB ‘like’
– social media is not limited to teenagers, celebrities or online-maniacs
– social media is not a replacement for a marketing plan or internet
marketing plan.
– social media is being authentic, organic and builds your identity
– content is king
– it’s all about viral marketing

Let’s get past those, and a few other points to get to the meat…

– social media is anyplace people converse online
– social media allows anyone to be a critic, expert, etc.
– social media is one silo, or one channel, of marketing
– Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Blogging, Foursquare, LinkedIn, etc. are all social media platforms or engagement tools. They are not strategies.

Now that we outlined those, let’s get past those. Social media is marketing – plain and simple.  It is a marketing channel where individuals are now comfortable to publish anything, anywhere, to anyone – its a return to local relevancy, and expression of opinions, thoughts and real conversation.

The truth of social media should be thought of as a marketing channel where your consumers already want to be, and help them do what they already want to do, or simply put – fish where the fish are, but just don’t make noise. The consumers owns the voice and are there to be heard, not the corporate voice as traditional media’s have taught us.

So if you don’t have a social media plan, and your actively engaged in SM (social media) marketing, then your ‘likely’ doing it wrong (not I said ‘likely), or wasting your time.

Most people do not trust corporate blogs (Forrester Research), and jump into Facebook and find a few business pages and likely you’ll find their is little to no engagement, or interaction. Why?

Whether its an administrator managing the Facebook page or Twitter account, or the blog is being used to publish press releases and announcements, the most likely reason its not working in their social media strategy is that there is no plan or strategy behind it. If this is true, you’re likely wasting your time.

Social Media Myths

1. Social media is all about the conversation
– Social media should have a goal behind it. Plain and simple. You’re executing it to make money, drive awareness, etc. The plan behind your social media efforts need to address the fact your social media efforts should ‘move the gauge’ in your goals.

2. Social media is free
– Expectations – it takes time. It takes time. Good. You caught the repeat.  Social media success won’t happen over night (ok..charlie sheen is the exception), but a social media plan takes time, and resources to work.  Big successful brands have 5 to +40 people working behind it. Is this necessary? Depends on the strategy, plan and budget, but its not free. It takes time, and some manpower. It is realistic to achieve your goals for both small and large businesses.

3. Social media is just another marketing campaign
– A campaign is something from a beginning, and end, then report the results. Social media is not a campaign. Think how SM can be enabled, and monitored throughout all the marketing that is done in your mix.

4. Social media cannot be measured
– Fire the ‘guru’ who told you this. You just need to know what to measure. Hire new employees, handle customer support, drive website traffic, brand conversations, sharing content, giving advice, etc. But before this opens up the box of possibilities of what can be measured, be very clear on your goals and what KPI (key performance indicators) you’ll define to measure those goals.  Those KPI will help determine exactly what social media metrics you’ll measure.

Within these metrics, don’t think just ‘drive traffic’. Foster engagement with the audience because the evangelists, are more powerful than an employee or corporate message. Harness this power.

By identifying your evangelists (and your detractors and normals), you can better harness their power. One approach is move the evangelists conversation offline and build on that  relationship, understand what motivates them, and offer them more resources and tools to help them. Rather than continue the back and forth conversation on the web – the personal touch of going offline can strongly impact and influence their feelings of your brand and make them look good – which translates back to the web. Key point – understand what motivates them.

Get to know the infuencers – where are they online, who do they trust, what tools to the use (ex. Twitter), where do they work and their role, are they bias, and what motivates them. But before you can do this, you need to identify them. How?

Analytic tools can help you find these if you have your social media tools as Twitter integrated with your analytic. But if you don’t have this luxury, monitor the conversations, the users, find similarities of keywords (ex. product) and activities, site/product engagement and activity, referrals, etc..  There are other ways to identify the influencers, but the above is a good starting point for now and we can address this conversation in a different post.

So now that we’ve gotten past these social media myths and cliché’s, and you have a little more understanding of the importance of identifying your influencers (and detractors and normals), and begin engaging them to recognize and help them, lets’ move on to the social media plan (coming soon).

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