I attended the first meeting of ‘Bloggers International’ in Portlaise, Co. Laois, Ireland last week. Bloggers International is a brand new organisation formed by KLCK Bloggers Network and The Chipping Norton Social Media Club. The aim of the group is to connect with other blogger and social media groups around the world. It was a good opportunity for people who attended to ask questions regarding blogging and social media. I said I would write a couple of words around the myths of social media and answer some of the questions that came up.
Should you use social media or is it just a waste of time? Many people are split on this – but one can’t deny facts: over 600 Million FaceBook Users, 200 Million Twitter Accounts, 4 Billion Pictures on Flickr, Over 1 Million companies on LinkedIn – I can go on and on and site more statistics, but the point is people (your customers) are using social media and should you. But many people are still spreading myths about Social Media – should you believe it or not? Let’s take a look at the most common ones:
Myth #1: Social Media Is Time Consuming.
Don’t have time to do social media? If you think about it, any revenue generating activity is time consuming – (especially for small businesses) such as implementation of direct mail campaign, creating products, going to networking meetings, etc. Making money and building relationships through social media it takes less time than these activities (think of the last time you traveled to an event or meeting). The fact is, if you spend 15 minutes per day on FaceBook, Twitter or LinkedIn, you can really make social media work for your busines. You could plan each day to schedule and assign time for logging into the social media sites, checking comments, posting articles, and publishing content. You could have a look at your social networks within 15 minutes per day or can plan a schedule for checking and responding to comments on specific day of a week. Moreover, free automated tools are there such as Tweetlater or Hootsuite where one could set an automated posts in advance for weeks to months. Using the right tools and really planning your activities out, social media need not be time consuming.
Myth #2: Social Media Won’t Make You Money
An immense debate is that social networking is just not about closing sales, but it is about relationship building. But, the argument for building relationships as marketing AS closing a sale could be made here. Though buying cycles might take patience on the social media platform, it can still make you money. Creating relationships on social networks gives time for prospects to know you and in addition, trust you. Many customers (and more importantly, return customers) will want to give their hard-earned money to companies they have confidence in.
Myth #3: You Can’t Measure Social Networking.
It is said that it’s quite difficult to evaluate Facebook and Twitter, as it is entirely about engagement. But with anything you do for your business that costs time and money, you’ll want to have metrics to measure your ROI. One way to measure your success by the number of your followers/fans. One can actually install Google Analytics on FaceBook to see the number of people going to your fan page. If posting an article, one can sign for bit.ly i.e. URL shortening service tracking the clicks of articles one submits. FaceBook also has their own tools – Insight – helps you monitor the activity on your page. This way you can check if people are actually visiting your page, clicking your links and going to your social network pages or your website.
So, should you get on social media? Many businesses have a hard time with social media, but mostly they don’t understand it. They think they can just put up a FaceBook page and leave it alone. But, with social media, you have to work on creating a relationship with customers and really embrace it. If you can make social media a real part of your business, your daily operations, then you can really make it work for you.