Myths abound when it comes to social media marketing. There are plenty of tales of woe – and no shortage of advice. You have to be “real”. You have to make it your second career. And so on. If you follow the conventional wisdom that’s tossed around in the social media marketing world, you’d spend so much time on Twitter that your core business would suffer visibly. And when the revenue dries up, you’re left with nothing but the opportunity to gripe about it in 140-character bursts.
Now, how is that productive?
In reality, it can be relatively easy to get started in social media marketing. In fact, you can do things “the wrong way” and still get a reasonable return on your investment. Let’s take a look at some of the common myths associated with social media marketing and how they really aren’t a problem.
1. Syndication is bad: this, quite simply, is not true. I’ve heard that you need to “humanize” content on your blog or from your blog that is syndicated to your Facebook or Twitter page. That’s B.S. What you need to do is provide good content that people will want to read. If you have valuable or unique information – if you’re solving someone’s problem – nobody’s going to care if you don’t come across as authentic. This is just reality.
2. You have to be actively engaged: don’t get me wrong – this helps. A lot. It’s a great ideal, but we all have plenty of competing priorities. Are you going to tweet actively at the expense of reviewing print proofs for your latest report? Or, are you going to let that advertising campaign gather dust while you craft Facebook status updates that are “authentic”? Get real. Having even a robotic social media presence is better than having none at all. You’ll get some play off having content out in the social media ether, and if nothing else, you’ll get a bit of search engine love.
3. It’s best to wait until you know what you’re doing: you never will. I launched my first corporate blog in 2005, a short-lived effort to discuss the implications of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for microcap companies (exciting stuff, I know … I’m awesome at parties, by the way). Every year for the past six, I’ve looked at my older work and thought it weak. The obvious (and correct) reason for this is that I’ve learned something along the way. You will, too. Waiting until you are truly ready is like keeping a play in rehearsals. Eventually, opening night comes, and the curtain must rise.
4. You need a voice: yawn. You don’t. Corporate-speak is fine, as long as your content is compelling. If you’re reading a financial blog, which is more important to you: knowing where interest rates are headed or feeling like the person writing it is a genuinely warm human being? If your job depends on knowing the former, you won’t care much about the latter, I assure you.
5. The risk is too high: quite the contrary – waiting invites risk. Your competitors aren’t going to wait for you. Your target market isn’t going to wait for you. Your company loses opportunities by waiting, and your clients are talking to the companies that are communicating effectively with them. You shouldn’t ignore the risks associated with social media. Rather, you should address them while entering the space.