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Debunking Social Media Myths

Although social media has been around for a while, there still seems to be numerous misconceptions and myths regarding its effectiveness. Our Social Times reports that last year, Instagram grew by 50 percent over a 9 month period, making it bigger than Twitter. Snapchat grew at a rate of 56 percent last year, and Tumbler is signing up 120,000 users daily. Clearly, social media is the future of online marketing. If you are still hiding behind the myths and misconceptions about social media, it is time to come out from the dark.

#1 Myth- My Customers Do Not Use Social Media

Many brands, particularly small businesses, continue to believe that their customers are not on social media. This is probably the single biggest myth that prevents more companies from interacting with prospective customers via social media. However, statistics seem to indicate otherwise. You might be surprised to discover that not only are your customers on social media, but they use it actively. Furthermore, your competition is also on social media, and they are targeting your customers. Pew Internet reports that 71 percent of the adult population uses Facebook.

Brands might argue that their customer base is senior users who are not on social media. Yet, Pew Internet points out that usage among seniors is on the rise. Approximately 56 percent of Internet users at least 65 years of age now use Facebook, an increase from 45 percent in 2013 and a rise from 35 percent in 2012. Usage of Twitter is also on the rise, with 23 percent of online adults using Twitter compared to 18 percent in 2013. The same holds true for Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn; all of which demonstrate continually rising numbers of users. Social networking has become a cultural standard. There is now virtually no demographic that is not represented significantly on at least one, if not multiple, social media sites. If you are not leveraging social media because you believe that your customers are not present there, be prepared for your competition to court your customers through social media.

#2 Myth- I Have No Way of Measuring the Effectiveness of Social Media

Among the most common objections that many companies give for not investing in social media is that they have no way of measuring the impact it has on their marketing efforts. While it is true that the ability to measure efficacy on social media is different than traditional marketing that does not mean such methods do not exist. It simply necessitates learning a new skill set for measuring what is or is not working with your social media strategy. It is entirely possible to track the impact of your social media strategy.

Social media can typically be measured through two different approaches: campaign focused metrics and ongoing analytics. Analytics refer to the method through which your overall activity on social media accounts is tracked over time. Campaign-focused metrics are utilized to gain an understanding of the impact of your social media marketing initiatives. One-time sales and other promotions are included in this category. While all of that might sound complicated, there are numerous tools that can help make the task of measuring your social media impact easier, such as Klout, which calculates your social media influence using hundreds of signals from a variety of different networks, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. PeerIndex offers not only a snapshot of what you are talking about, but also stats on topic resonance so that you know how much others find what you share to be valuable.

#3 Myth- I Don't Have Time for Social Media

There is a common misconception that social media takes a lot of time to manage. As a result, businesses owners who already feel overburdened tend to shy away from it. Actually it is quite easy to learn how to interact on social media and to maintain an active social media presence. There are numerous tools available that make the process easy. The return you receive on your investment of time spent interacting with others while posting useful and engaging content is more than worth the effort. Among the most popular tools currently available are TweetDeck, which is great for posting on Twitter, and HootSuite.

#4 Myth- Social Media Will Expose My Business to Too Many Negative Comments

It is only natural for a business owner to desire to avoid negative feedback. No one likes to be told they are doing something wrong. Yet, the reality is that as a business, negative feedback is sometimes going to happen, whether you are on social media or not. Through maintaining an active presence on social media, you will know when you receive a negative feedback, and have the ability to respond quickly and appropriately (highly recommended). If you are not active on social media, you will never have the chance to speedily dispute or address a potentially erroneous and negative comment that could hurt your business. By responding publicly to a negative comment, you have the opportunity to demonstrate your company's excellent policy regarding timely customer service.

#5 Myth-It's Too Hard to Learn Social Media

If you are not already active on social media, it can certainly be easy to view it as too difficult to learn. Social media does continually change, but that can said of virtually anything else in the business world. Among the true benefits of social media is that it provides you with the chance to interact with your customers on a personal level. It also offers the chance to demonstrate true transparency, something that is highly valued today.

While there may be numerous misconceptions regarding social media, taking the time to distinguish between truth and fiction can prevent you from missing out on the tremendous opportunities that social media marketing offers. 

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