Technology & InternetSmall Business Update: 6 Myths about Social Media Marketing (and how to get past them)

Small, local businesses will sometimes shy away from social media marketing. There are some common misconceptions that may hinder the process of deciding whether social media is the right fit with your brand. Addressing these myths and examining your marketing goals is critical so new business is not passed by. Do any of these sound familiar to you?

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 1.  This is just a fad and this social media wave will pass.

Specific social media tools may wax and wane in popularity but social media marketing will remain a dominant feature in the information age.  Due to the fact that product info is easily accessible, quick, and allows for connectivity, consumers have grown accustomed to using social media platforms via their smartphones and tablets.   Many brands realize this and use their social media content to shift and influence consumer behavior.  

2.  My customers aren't on Twitter.

Maybe not today, but think about your customers down the road.  If you want to grab the Millennial or Gen-Y generations you must have a social media presence.    According to Pew Research Center, 83% of all men and women aged 18-29 use social media and 77% of men and women aged 30-49 use social media.  Is your main customer base full of Baby Boomers?  It turns out this is the fastest growing group turning to social media.  

3.  My customers are local.  Doesn’t Twitter just go to thousands of people all over the world?

Most people don’t realize that social media tools can segment audiences across all geographies and demographics.  I participated in a twitterchat recently and learned that you can target Linked In members not only by job title and seniority but also endorsed skill.   With third party software such as TweetAdder, Twitter users can find audiences based on zip code and key word.   If you owned a pet shop in Boston, just imagine reaching everyone in zip code 02201 who have "pet lover" in their profile.

4.  I don’t have anything to say.

Believe me, you do.  Think about past conversations with your customers.  What kind of information is exchanged and what types of things do you find yourself repeating over and over in conversations with vendors, customers and leads?  Let’s take the example of a car dealership.  At first thought, the only possible content would be when the Presidents Day Sale ends or what color Accords are in stock.  That info is great, but don’t forget about all the other stuff that makes you an expert in your field.  You could post car maintenance tips during the winter months or where to find low gas prices.  

5.  What if I say something wrong?

Social media marketing is not a whole lot different than what you are doing already.   People are talking about your business.  People are talking to other people about your business.  You are talking about your business.  Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s bad but it’s already a very social machine.  The likelihood of you saying something wrong is no different whether or not you are use social media.  In fact, business owners who are active on social media say they have much greater insight into customer beliefs and behavior.

6.  I don't even know where to begin!

There is not going to be a magic time when your business is ready to go social.   The great thing about social is that you can start with small steps -- itty, bitty steps in fact.  Perhaps your first step may be creating an account and profile. From there, you simply start following others, sit back and enjoy the show.  Perhaps your next step is to see what your competition is doing.  Eventually, you will engage via tweet, like or post and a natural flow of marketing content will begin.

Business has always been social.   Small, local business owners have always connected personally with customers, vendors and leads.  It's just that in 2013, most consumers expect to connect digitally and personally.  Good luck!

 

image courtesy of John Atkinson

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