Nearly every business has some form of social media presence, but the percentage of those making the most out of it is probably lower then you’d expect. For a lot of business, updating social media is simply seen as a soft form of marketing with soft results to match. In my experience this has often been because organisations are unsure how to measure social media performance and so here are some common misconceptions:
Reach isn’t popularity
Many people wrongly assume that the more people their post reaches, the more popular their content is. Just because your content gets in front of a lot of people, it doesn’t mean those people are actually engaging with it. You could think of a post like billboard advertising, if you advert is in a good location lots of people will see it but that doesn’t mean they will be influenced by it.
I feel that many marketers use the reach statistic with the underlying logic being that “the more people who know we exist the better.” and although I can’t argue against this objective, surely the aim for any decent marketing is “know we exist and care” or “know we exist and still remember us after they’ve scrolled up.”
Although a greater reach does open your brand up to a greater audience, this may simply be more people who don’t care. Digital marketing should always be a cycle of expanding your audience as you test new platforms, forums etc and contracting as you identify your core audience in those places.
Popularity isn’t value
The social media popularity contest has turned so ugly that platforms such as instagram are considering doing away with likes all together for fear of the damage it may be doing…but this is a meaty topic for another time.
Many marketers wrongly assume that popularity equates to value. It is not difficult to chase engagement, to chime in with trends, to add the hottest hashtags. Marketers talk about creating ‘engaging’ content and they use the metrics of likes, shares, comments to demonstrate this. Instead, they should concentrate on content, which provides value for their target audience, which ultimately may not be the most popular. (This is especially true for B2B brands)
Value doesn’t create itself
When brands think about inbound marketing, they picture social media activity converting into customers, almost by magic. This is a naive belief, which I think many businesses cling onto through hope rather than expectation. In order for people to convert from followers to clients, you need a system in place to record and capture those people, qualify them as prospects and track activity. This of course needs to be combined with an outbound approach, which shares relevant content as a soft approach for sales.
It is easy to forget sometimes, that social media marketing is still in many ways in its infancy. Best practice is shifting as brands explore new and innovative ways to reach, engage, and convert prospective customers. At the core of any good marketing though, is the need to think empathetically about the needs and interests of your target audience.