Marketing is typically an area that business owners struggle with. As I’ve stated in previous posts, marketing doesn’t act like other areas of your business. Because there isn’t an immediate return on the owner’s investment, there’s a tendency to just assume it didn’t work and abandon their marketing strategies. But today, I want to examine a different side of marketing. In this post, we’re going to explore 5 social media and digital marketing myths that could be preventing you from maximizing your business’s influence.
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I have no doubt you use social media in your daily life. At some point during the day, you’re going to open up your favorite social media app and begin scrolling. In many cases, it’s a great way to see what your friends and family are up to, and it’s a good medium for you to express yourself. However, do you truly understand what it can mean for your business?
Using social media platforms as a part of your marketing strategies gives you unfettered access to many different demographics. Not only that, but you can build brand awareness for your business by engaging with current or potential customers. And the best part? It’s absolutely free! But there has to be a catch, right? Technically, yes. But no more than your other marketing strategies. Here’s the thing—and this is true regardless of which strategy you use to market your business—you must be consistent!
You see, social media, as a digital marketing tool, is growing in popularity. According to Clutch’s Small Business Social Media Survey, 71% of small to mid-sized businesses use social media to market themselves. 52% of those businesses claimed they post to social media at least daily. Just 10 years ago, only 7% of the U.S. population used at least one social media channel. Now, that number has skyrocketed to 71%. This goes to show that social media’s popularity can no longer be ignored by business owners. So, why are there so many small business owners who refuse to utilize digital marketing through social media as a marketing strategy? I believe these five misconceptions could be to blame.
How many times have you heard this? Perhaps a better question is, how many times have you thought this? This is a common misconception that can be debunked with basic logic. No social media account has ever had hundreds of thousands of followers when it was created. We all start from zero. This is just as true of Coca-Cola’s social media accounts as it is for your local mom & pop pizza shop. Now, larger corporations with massive brand recognition such as Coca-Cola might be able to grow their followers at a much faster rate, but they still had to grow them. However, there is a trade-off.
While the big businesses might be able to grow their followers faster, they can’t provide personal engagement. As a small business owner, you will have a much smaller, much more manageable group of followers to engage with. This means you can connect with them on a personal level. They will be able to see you, the business owner, rather than just a business. Likewise, you will be able to see their individual comments. This is such a valuable tool that can be added to your marketing strategies. You’ll be able to see what they think of your product or service and respond to that in real-time, giving you valuable data for quality control and market research.
Small business owners have an enormous amount of responsibility. Nobody can deny that. However, one of those responsibilities is finding ways to promote the business. You have to engage with your customers. Show them what you’re doing. That’s what advertising is all about. You have a business. Therefore, you tell people that it exists. You have a new product or service. So, you must inform your current and potential customers that you have this great new deal.
Consider this… If you’re truly the CEO of your company, look at what a CEO does. They aren’t the technician. The CEO manages the managers. Managers manage the technicians. Of course, I realize that many small business owners must wear multiple hats. Sometimes, that includes being the CEO and the technician. If that’s the case, then you really can’t afford to not use social media as part of your digital marketing strategy. It takes minimal effort to pull out your phone and make a quick post that shows who you are and what you’re doing. In fact, one of my favorite YouTube channels is a guy that owns a painting business. He makes videos of himself, painting a building, all the time. It’s simple and to the point, and it’s helped him to build a phenomenal business.
I can’t tell you how many business owners have tried to use this one on me when discussing digital marketing strategies. It’s just not true. Not even close. Analytics can provide information on statistics surrounding each account. Oftentimes, it’s easier to track this data through social media than through traditional market usage. However, unless someone is tracking this data, many business owners misunderstand the process. You might put out a short burst of content and call it a day. Well, that’s not how it works.
You must use the data to shape your social media content. Likewise, you must create a consistent and engaging social media presence. I love to hunt. If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you know this about me. But how successful would I be if I didn’t explore my hunting site beforehand? What if just showed up in my camouflage, sat down in the woods, and left ten minutes later because a herd of deer didn’t immediately run to meet me? It sounds absurd, but this is essentially what many business owners are doing with their digital marketing. You must know who you’re marketing to, what their interests are, where they are, and then actively engage them in those areas.
If you believe this, I’ve got some oceanfront property for sale in Idaho. As of April 2021, there are more than 190MM Americans over the age of 13 with a Facebook account. My own mother is in her 60s and has a Facebook account. We’ve got clients in their 80s, who, likewise, love Facebook. So, the idea that older people aren’t using social media is patently false. Everyone is online and your business should be no different. If you’re not using this tool to market your business, you’re missing out on hundreds, if not thousands, of potential customers.
According to data collected by Omnicore, 75% of users visit the Facebook page of local businesses at least once per week. With numbers like this, you could make the argument that Facebook is a better way to target older demographics than Google Analytics. Folks, that’s just one platform! And, if you’re thinking, “Justin, there’s no need for social media in my industry,” that’s also not true. Every industry is dependent on attracting customers. Using social media to market your business provides an opportunity to present your business by delivering a high-quality commentary on current events within your industry. In doing so, your company is able to find interested candidates and present your expertise to interested current and prospective clients.
A lot of times, I hear about business owners making content for one social platform and distributing it across all of them. This doesn’t work. Not all social media platforms are the same. Individual social platforms aren’t unique in their branding alone. Each one has a different timbre and language. For example, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok are visual mediums. On the other hand, Twitter and LinkedIn are much more connected to the written message. Even then, social media platforms have unique intricacies that separate them. LinkedIn has very little political commentary. In fact, if you make political statements there, you’ll likely be booed right out the door. Twitter, on the other hand, is rife with political opinions and debates.
Therefore, you can’t simply create one type of post and distribute it throughout all forms of social media. Your older crowd tends to lean more toward Facebook. Meanwhile, younger demographics can be found on Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok. If you operate a business that serves other businesses, LinkedIn attracts many B2B professionals. You must know who you’re speaking to and how your message should be presented on each platform. Likewise, don’t make every post about your business. Instead, make one that’s educational, one that’s humorous and relatable, and then make one that’s promotional in nature.
After doing this in my own business, for many years now, I can tell you that the social media posts that get the most engagement are almost never about our business. They’re the ones that talk about my love of pizza, a message of hope, or a video that tells the story of someone accomplishing their goals. Using social media as a marketing technique is about connecting on a personal level. People want to feel something. You’re not likely going to conjure up an emotional response by pitching your business. Therefore, you must balance promotion with real engagement. Be human. Be you. That’s what your customers want to see.
Friends, I know that marketing is a tricky prospect. Not only do you have to know exactly who you’re trying to reach, but you must know where to reach them and what will inspire them to take action. In today’s culture, incorporating social media into your bag of marketing tricks is absolutely necessary. Don’t fall for these digital marketing misconceptions, any longer. If you haven’t included social media in your marketing process, don’t wait another moment.
Look, I know life is hard. But life is still good. Operating a business brings you more stress than you have a right to and marketing can be frustrating. But it doesn’t have to be. By employing social media marketing as part of your marketing strategy, you can at least, make digital marketing financially simple.