In our field of expertise, we often encounter clients who know that they should have a social media presence, but have not fully committed to developing this resource. Time and time again, we hear the same concerns from small businesses, organizations, and associations regarding best practices in social media. We recently gave a presentation to the Virginia Society of Association Executives debunking some of the more popular “myths” regarding social media practices and offering strategies for taking charge of your social media plan.
Myth #1: I need a young person to manage my social media accounts
While young people (millenials) are often up-to-date with the latest trends in technology, apps, and online communities, being able to use a social media platform is just a small part of being a content manager. Developing an online presence for your business is also about understanding your audience and creating an appropriate tone and voice. These are skills that often develop with time and experience. Consider who your audience is expecting to hear from when your business shares a post on social media. If you’re trying to reach the “decision makers,” who generally belong to a higher age demographic, a mature voice might make a greater impact. Finally, trust is of paramount importance when it comes to choosing your content manager. As the digital face of your company, your social media manager should be constantly aware of the responsibility that comes with maintaining your business’ networks.
Myth #2: Social Media takes too much time
One of the most common complaints we hear from clients is that managing their social media accounts takes too much time out of their day, preventing them from focusing on more important tasks. While it’s true that any kind of digital marketing will take time and effort, there are ways to minimize the day-to-day effort using simple tools and a bit of preparation.
- Designate time for a content calendar at the beginning of each month. This will help you determine your posting cadence and identify significant days or events. Planning these posts in advance will help reduce your daily workload.
- Do a little research and see what your colleagues and competitors are sharing successfully. Use that creative spark to develop your own unique content.
- Once you’ve planned your content calendar, use scheduling software such as Hootsuite to automate your pre-planned posts. Schedule your posts days, weeks, or even months in advance.
- Outsource your social media work. In some cases, it may make more sense to hire a professional firm to handle your social media platforms, especially if you aren’t confident in the ways of the social media world, or you need help developing your voice and brand aesthetic.
Myth #3: I need a business account for each network to capture the largest audience
With over 3 billion active users, social media has fast become a cornerstone of marketing and brand awareness. With a large audience divided across many social media networks, it can be tempting to try the “catch-all” approach and create a business account for all platforms. Before you create any new social media personas (or even if you have too many to count) consider the following suggestions:
- Determine who your target audience is and what social media platforms they are using to gather information rather than for personal use. Focus your efforts on developing quality content for these networks.
- Take stock of any current social media accounts ensuring that each account is set up properly. Are your Google Business Page settings correct? Have you updated your LinkedIn header image? Having a business account set up but not optimized won’t provide anything of value to your visitors.
- Create consistent cross traffic by linking your social media accounts to your organization’s website through the use of icons. If you decide not to use certain social media networks, or if you have accounts that have not been updated, be sure to remove them from your website.
Myth #4: Paid Advertising is too expensive
Sometimes, reaching your audience through organic posts simply won’t do the trick – especially if you have an important event/cause/product to share or promote. If you’ve never allotted funds for social media advertising, getting started can be overwhelming. Luckily, social media paid advertising has a very wide price range, allowing businesses of all sizes to develop an advertising strategy to fit any budget. Take a look at the average advertising costs on some of the most-used social media networks:
-Average cost of promotion on Instagram $0.70-0.80 per engagement
-The average cost for a Promoted tweet is around $1.35 per engagement.
-Average cost of promotion on Facebook $1.72 per engagement
-Average cost of promotion on LinkedIn $8.39 per engagement
-Snap Ads are currently the most inexpensive form of advertising available on Snapchat, however it is still one of the most expensive options with campaigns beginning at $3,000/month
When determining a budget for your paid advertising campaign, consider how much value a new client brings to your business. When you put this in perspective, social media advertising is one of the cheapest, easily accessible advertising options.
Myth #5: There is little ROE (Return on Effort)
It can be frustrating to devote time and effort to your social media presence if you aren’t able to measure the success of your investment. There’s no magic formula to determining the impact your social media strategy is having on your brand, but there are tools you can use to monitor your ROE.
Analytics tracking software makes it much easier to see the impact your campaign has had on your intended audience. Social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram) allow users to track the reach and impact of posts and paid advertisements within the platform, which can be helpful in determining which content performs the best. You can take this a step further and combine in-platform analytics with Google Analytics, following your audience from social media to your website. Lead generation or conversion may not be your only goal. If you’re looking to build brand awareness and become a thought-leader in your industry, certain metrics such as website traffic, views of your page, and link clicks are all ways to measure an increase in buzz about your business or organization.
Some businesses view social media as an optional addition to their existing communication strategy, but it has the potential to be much more than that. Social media is an inexpensive, self-cultivated resource that almost every business has access to. Are you making the most of it?