Aug 31, 2011

Top myths about social media for business #1: “It’s just another marketing channel”
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Written by : Rachel Parker| 0 | Social Media

This is the final post in our series “Busted! Top 10 Myths About Social Media for Business,” where we debunk many of the myths out there surrounding social media as an effective business tool. Inspired by many objections I’ve heard (and overheard) from real business owners, I developed this series to help you separate the fact from the fiction in this still-uncharted territory. Thanks for sticking with us through the countdown, and let us know what you think in the comments!

Social media: NOT just another marketing channelIn our last post, we debunked Myth #2 about social media for business—”Don’t need it, we have SEO”—by looking at ways in which social and search are becoming inextricably intertwined. For our final post, let’s look at the misconception that social media can be approached just like any other marketing channel.

Print. Radio. TV. Web. Social media. Sounds like a natural progression, right? For many marketers, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social networks are just another venue for spouting the same “buy my stuff” messaging that populates other channels.

And why not? Like print, radio, and TV, social media is another way to reach the people in your target market, right? And the ultimate goal is indeed to convince them to “buy your stuff,” right? So it stands to reason that the same messaging should be just as effective in the socialverse as it is on Planet Mass Media, right?

DEBUNKED! Blasting your social audience with marketing messages is, in fact, the quickest way to take the “social” out of your social media activity … because you’ll be doing it all by yourself.

I always love that point in social strategy sessions when we come to YouTube, and the client waxes eloquent about how they just can’t wait to get their own channel so they can post their TV commercials … or, better yet, their radio commercials set to some filler visuals.

At that point, I usually excuse myself so I can enjoy my facepalm in private.

Folks, we don’t want to see TV commercials on YouTube. Hell, we don’t even want to see them on TV much anymore. And the same goes for any advertising content you’d care to plaster across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other social networks.

The simple truth is that people engage on social media for one of four reasons:

  1. to be informed,
  2. to be entertained,
  3. to engage with others, and
  4. to get something of value (special offers, freebies, coupons, etc.).

If you’re not doing one of those four things, your content will get you ignored at best, unliked or unfollowed at slightly worse, and openly ridiculed at worst.

I’d be willing to bet that a majority of businesses who “tried social media marketing and it didn’t work” tried using social networks as marketing megaphones, only to be shocked—shocked!—when their efforts came up empty. Don’t hate the messenger guys, hate the inappropriateness of the message.

As for evidence, well, just take a look at the brands that serve as social media role models—Zappos, Nike, Cisco, Starbucks—and read the kind of stuff they’re posting on their blogs, on Facebook, and elsewhere. Not a whole lot of marketing messaging to be found, is there?

So, that wraps up our Top 10 Myths About Social Media for Business. Do you agree with our lineup, or did we miss any? Tell us about it it in the comments; we’d love to hear from you!

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Rachel Parker

A self-proclaimed geek who can recite entire episodes of South Park by heart, Rachel Parker helps businesses publish content that connects with their audience … and converts those followers into customers. She’s also the host of the Content Marketing Podcast and a sought-after speaker, having presented to many major business and marketing organizations.
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Rachel Parker

A self-proclaimed geek who can recite entire episodes of South Park by heart, Rachel Parker helps businesses publish content that connects with their audience … and converts those followers into customers. She’s also the host of the Content Marketing Podcast and a sought-after speaker, having presented to many major business and marketing organizations.

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