With more and more businesses taking the plunge into social media, it's perhaps understandable that a slew of myths surrounding the platform have sprung up over the last few years.
However, believing these misconceptions can be bad news for your online marketing efforts. Here are three myths that small businesses should keep an eye out for.
Myth #1 – Lots of likes and followers = success!
It can be exciting to see your Facebook 'like' count or the number of followers you have on Twitter go up – but this doesn't necessarily mean you can rest on your laurels. Attracting fans is just one element of small business social media marketing; the hard work lies in keeping them engaged with relevant, interesting posts and the odd special offer from time to time.
Look at some of the biggest companies on Facebook – Coca-Cola has more than 41 million likes, but a quick look at its page reveals regular posts and photos relating to its products and activities, each of which have attracted lots of likes and shares in their own right, keeping the brand in the minds of both its fans and their friends. Give your social media followers a reason to keep paying attention to you, and they'll reward you in turn.
Myth #2 – Social media marketing doesn't make money
This particular myth isn't quite as widely believed as it used to be, but it's still a pretty common misconception that social media marketing doesn't offer any tangible financial rewards.
Think of social media marketing as several interlinked chains of events, rather than as a 'Facebook page = money' equation. To put it very simply, a good presence on social networking sites will raise awareness of your brand, which could boost traffic to your website in the long term – increasing the likelihood of purchases.
Or, a sound social media presence combined with regular, well-advertised special offers and incentives could increase sales in the short term. It all comes down to knowing what your followers would like to see from your business.
Myth #3 – Social media isn't right for my business
There's much more to social media marketing than setting up on Facebook, Twitter and Google+; it's not just for retailers looking to engage consumers. Business-to-business, non-profit and other organisations can take advantage of other forms of social media to spread the word about their activities to their target audience.
Blogs, for example, are ideal for many small firms, simply because they provide an easy to use – and easy to follow – platform for you to broadcast the latest news and updates to existing and potential customers. They're also ideal for supplementing your SEO efforts thanks to the regular flow of fresh content they provide.
Other social media tools you might want to consider include videos, photo-sharing sites – like the immensely popular Pinterest – and professional networking websites, such as LinkedIn.
Are there any other social media myths that should be debunked? Or do you disagree with our claims above? Let us know!
Want to know more about how content marketing and social media can boost your business? Visit ContentPlus at Internet World 2012 between April 24 and 26 – and don’t forget to sign up for a free site health check!