One of the most common words being tossed around in this era of technology and smart phones is the term Social Media. It might be funny to know that majority of people do not even understand the meaning of this popular word.
First of all, let’s split the words into two; Social and Media. Social means an informal gathering by an organization or members of a group or club. Media is an instrument for communication such as newspaper, radio or television.
Social media therefore is a collection of communication platforms dedicated to help users interact, share content and collaborate. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat, Wikipedia, websites etc. dedicated to social interaction, forums and micro-blogging are all examples of social media.
WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING?
Social Media Marketing (SMM) refers to a form of marketing that makes use of various social media platforms and sites in order to attract leads and attain marketing goals. Social Media Marketing basically covers activities that involve the sharing of content, images, videos and other forms of content all for the purpose of marketing.
Social media marketing is based solely on creating engaging content that encourages users to share with their various social media platforms. These platforms are easily accessible to anyone who has access to internet. Brands also use social media marketing to increase communication, foster brand awareness and improve customer service.
A typical example of a company that uses social media marketing effectively to improve customer service is Vodafone Ghana. They use this aspect of social media to get interactive with customers giving them the opportunity to ask questions or voice their complaints.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING MISCONCEPTIONS
Since the inception of social media marketing, many misconceptions and theories have arisen based on how people understand the scheme. We have had to debunk such misconceptions when faced with them during interactions with clients. Some of them after learning the truth have only one word to say -Wow. Below are some of the misconceptions people have about Social media marketing.
- IT IS FREE
The social media platforms are free to sign up but it doesn’t mean using the platform to market your brand is also free. Facebook for instance allows everyone to create a page for his or her business at no cost. But to boost your business page for it to reach a wider audience, one needs to pay. The same applies to other platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.
- IT IS EASY
Of course, anyone can post on Facebook or send a tweet or even pin an image on Pinterest but it doesn’t mean they can be good at it when it comes to business. Every business that ventures social media marketing has to make sure that there is return on investment. To achieve this, you need to listen, monitor and engage with customers on social media which is very difficult to do. Posting on Facebook is one thing, but getting fans to engage and interact with your brand is harder than you think.
- IT IS FOR THE KIDS AND YOUNG ONES.
Most people assume that social media is the playground for kids and young people who have nothing doing apart from pressing their phones from morning to evening. Especially with Facebook and Twitter, people assume that it’s exclusive to students and young adults which is very false. Twitter users are also businessmen and women in various professions with an average age of 39 according to research. Same applies to Facebook with users having an average age of 40. These social media platforms include everybody and not meant for any particular group of people within a certain age group.
- IT DOESN’T INVOLVE PAID MEDIA
People tend to have advertising in mind when they hear paid media without considering social media marketing as advertising. A strong social media marketing strategy includes paid media. This is to raise more awareness for your brand and showcase your products to a wider audience. Paid media comes in the form of sponsored blog posts, Google adwords, Twitter ads or Facebook promotions and advertising. It is even cheaper and comes with a lot of tangible advantages when compared to the traditional marketing strategy.
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- IT STARTS WITH FACEBOOK
Most of the time when we mention social media marketing to clients, the first place their mind goes to is Facebook. Some even go like I have a Facebook page so we can start from there. Well, yes, Facebook can be a part of your social media marketing strategy but it shouldn’t be the core of your strategy.
Knowing the platform on which your target audience is will give you a fair idea of which social media platform to begin with. If your findings show that they are active on Twitter, then starting your campaign on Facebook would be a step in the wrong direction.
- IT TOTALLY REPLACES TRADITIONAL MARKETING
There have been many instances where people have tried to compare social media marketing to traditional marketing and end up ranking the former over the latter. This is a very big mistake that most marketers make. Some think traditional marketing is a waste of time and resources hence social media marketing is the best.
Meanwhile, there are situations where traditional marketing strategies are very relevant and must be used. It’s therefore advised that you get both types of marketing work perfectly for you and leverage on their strengths rather than putting all your hopes into one.
- YOU NEED TO BE ON EVERY SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM
We have clients who walk in and want to be on as many social media platforms as possible. Some have the conviction that, the more platforms they have, the more visible their brand will be online. This conviction might be logical but it doesn’t work with social media marketing.
Choosing a platform depends solely on your audience and where their interest lies. There are brands that have only one social media platform yet are making massive conversions and sales. Others are also on three or more but are as invisible as a pin in a hay stack. It’s not about the number of platforms on which you are, but it’s about the quality of audience you are marketing to.
- ALL SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS ARE THE SAME
Your business might lose personality and interest if you approach all social media platforms the same. You will turn people off if you write so much on Instagram just because Facebook gives you that liberty when in reality, Instagram is supposed to be used for the sharing of images.
Each social media platform has a trend and style of posting which must be well studied for successful social media marketing.
9. SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING IS A WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY
This is one of the most common social media marketing misconceptions which are mostly harbored by people who didn’t put the right personnel and strategies in place for their social media marketing.
In general, 30% of your business income must be spent on marketing and this must include social media marketing. Social media marketing would be an effective marketing tool when met with the right strategies and personnel.
How are you using social media to market your business? I would love to hear your thoughts, questions or comments. Please leave them in the comment section below!