What Most People Get Wrong About Social Media

Samantha Orr

Brand Manager

Social media is now seen as a part of life when it comes to personal fulfillment – baby showers, food porn, recommendations, high school reunions, etc. In business, it’s a vital piece of the puzzle in a variety of industries. While social media has been around for 10 years, there are still a number of misconceptions people have about social media and what it means for their business.

I “need” to be on social media – if you’re in an industry with a ton of regulations, or your target audience isn’t technologically savvy, social media may not be the right outlet for you. It all comes down to your target audience and how they engage with your brand. You shouldn’t feel pressured to be on social media – if it’s not a good fit, don’t force it. It’s more efficient and cost-effective to spend your time where your target audience is.

The more platforms you’re on, the better – there are hundreds of social media platforms, each one having its own distinct purpose. While you can promote content on a number of these platforms, make sure it fits your target audience and overall brand. If you’re a manufacturer sharing content through Snapchat, evaluate your overall goals. Who are you trying to reach, and what do you want them to do? Is it for recruitment purposes, education, or an internal marketing initiative? Your goals and target audience dictate where you should have a voice on social media. Not to mention, the more platforms you’re on the more you content you need to generate/update. The minute content starts getting stale, your brand becomes irrelevant.

Social media directly impacts sales – too many companies put social media into a silo and expect immediate return on investment (ROI). Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as turning on a switch. Social media should be an extension of your other marketing efforts including SEO and content marketing. Treating them as one unit is far more powerful than divvying everything up to work independently. Think of it as splitting up a rock band – who’s Angus Young without AC/DC? An overall marketing strategy is key. It’s important to have a holistic approach including inbound marketing efforts (social media, content marketing) and outbound efforts (paid ads, TV spots) to effectively measure ROI.

Social media is easy – a majority of social media listings are free – and it’s easy to create a post here and there about what dressing compliments an arugula salad. However, successfully engaging with your audience, takes hours of research, content development, interacting/responding to others, and analyzing data. Social media management isn’t cheap – and for good reason. It’s a brand’s digital presence for the world to see. Only a wise investment will reap the true benefits of how social media can elevate a brand.

Social media isn’t as straightforward as other marketing tactics and it’s hard to predict what comes next. It is critically important to establish clear goals for the company. From there, define your target audience and outline the number of tactics to help get you there. If social media is one of those tactics, make sure to tie it in with your other inbound marketing efforts.