If I had to define social media for business, I would say that it’s an online communications tool, which helps to establish new relationships, enhance current relationships and increase awareness. The reason it’s so powerful is because we have a platform to instantly reach millions of people, furthering our opportunity to expand our reach beyond any other means we’ve ever had before.
But, that doesn’t mean we can take shortcuts. Despite the overwhelming knowledge about social media, there are still many folks who do not understand its purpose. And others who just do not want to put in the time and effort. Here are five social media beliefs that need re-programming.
It’s a broadcast outlet. Because it’s a communications outlet, some folks treat social media as a broadcast medium, much like a radio or newspaper ad. They use it to broadcast announcements, not to build relationships and showcase the results of their work. Simply setting up social media sites and sharing brochures is not enough. Social media, by nature, is designed to be social. It’s a two-way form of communication.
If you build it, they will come. Just because you set up a Facebook page for your business does not mean people will be attracted to it. Community-building is like the red-headed step child of social media. We hear a lot about generating strong content, but many don’t do enough to emphasize that the content is useless if no one is listening.
It’s something anyone can ‘do.’ Many organizations want to ‘check the box’ that they are using social media, so they say, ‘’let’s have the intern to do it.” While there’s no harm in having the intern help, it takes more than knowing how to tweet or use a fancy automation tool if you want to actualize results. An organization must understand what they hope to achieve with their social media efforts and allocate the proper resources to make it happen.
A plan is not necessary. A successful social media presence requires a solid plan of action including establishing clear goals, selecting the appropriate outlets for reaching prospects, developing engaging content and integrating marketing and operations efforts. Without a plan of action, we are fumbling around in the dark trying to find the light switch. It’s a misuse of time and resources.
It will generate immediate revenue. I don’t care if you are a solopreneur, the president of a large business, the executive director of an organization, or just someone trying to make some side cash, social media will not generate revenue for you just because you are using it. That’s just the starting point. The actions generated by social media only fill the upper tiers of the sales funnel, aiding awareness and relationship building. These must be done effectively to consider moving down the funnel, with even more steps before a conversion.
Social media offers an unprecedented opportunity for businesses looking to expand their reach. But we can’t overlook the process required to actualize results.