Social media is an essential tool for most modern day marketers, it's something that shouldn't be ignored, but it is something that you should approach with a plan. Many people think that they will find instant success for little effort with social media, it's simply not true, it's just another arrow in your quiver.
"You need to use every social media platform!"
If you used every social network you'd be using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, Tumblr, Flickr (the list goes on). I may be being pedantic listing them all, but it's to get my point across, who has the time or the money to devise a unique social media strategy for each network or even 4 or more of them? Probably the big multi nationals, but if you're reading this I highly doubt you're the CEO of Nike or Coca-cola.
So do your research and decide on a social network that is right for your business, the right social media to reach your target market . There's no point wasting your time on an audience that isn't interested in what you have to offer!
"Don't use Google+, it's a ghost town, ignore it!"
If you compare it to Twitter, Google+ receives significantly more visitors a month than Twitter does (Google+=300 million, Twitter=241 million). Not only this, but Google+ has a significant influence on Google search engine rankings, so you'd be daft to ignore it completely!
"Negative feedback on social media will damage your brand"
If you ignore a complaint on social media, then yes this may damage your brand's image. However, isn't this the same with any complaint?. That "private complaint" could then become a rant on TripAdvisor or on any other review site, making it very public. The importance here is to focus on good customer service, if a customer complains on social media, you should reply in a timely and helpful manner, like you would with any customer service complaint. This is where social media is great!. Your helpful replies can be seen by your customers, if they see that you are replying with a solution to the problem or a way of compensating the angry customer, then other customers will see your great customer service, unlike a private conversation, with no public record of what was said.
"The more followers you have on Twitter the better"
This is so wrong!
In an ideal world, all 5,000 of your followers would regularly engage with your brand on Twitter, however this world is far from ideal. What is the point in having 5,000 followers if only 5 will regularly engage with you and visit your website. The followers metric is merely a way for businesses to look bigger than they actually are. Twitter is a network full of connections, the old adage is correct, focus on quality not quantity. This brings me round to an example I'd like to use, I had posted one of Keane's blogs on Twitter (as I normally do) this was re-tweeted by a follower with 17,000 followers, which was then re-tweeted by 7 other people/companies all with a fairly high number of followers ( highest being 38,000, 1,745, 1,500). I had a link tracker on the blog link that was attached to the tweet, out of all those followers a grand total of 2 people clicked through to the website. This reiterates my point, get quality followers that are interested in what you have to say and don't worry about the number!
"Social media marketing is free"
Yes it's free to join, although if you want to be a success through social media you're going to have to invest some serious time and money, like any marketing channel it needs a proper plan and strategy in place. Admittedly it is significantly cheaper than other marketing channels.
Come on guys, don't be the person who #hashtags #absolutely #every #damn #word. Hashtags are important on twitter yes, they join together threads of conversation, but it makes you look like an amateur if you have any more than 2-3 hashtags in a tweet.
"You can't measure social media"
*Sigh*, wrong yet again!
Although social media is slightly harder to measure doesn't mean you can't measure it. There are a number of ways that social media marketing can be measured, referrals can be measured through Google analytics and there are a number of sites that measure social media activity, such as Hootsuite, Social Bro, Sprout Social etc. All this can be done in about half an hour at the start of the day (with most offering downloadable reports). Being able to measure your social media strategy means you can see what's working and what's not working, refining your social media marketing skills.
What you have to remember before using social networks for marketing is to have a clear strategy in place before you start. Make sure you do your research and don't jump into it blind, or you may start believing these myths.