I have been meaning to write this post for quite some time, but it seems as though every time I make my top 5 list of social media myths, I hear a new one that feels like it should make the list. But rather than keep pushing it off, I have decided to go ahead and publish my top 5 favorite social media myths, but I reserve the right to update the post and expand the list beyond 5 in the future. In fact, if you have an addition to the list, let me know and I’ll consider adding it.
So, without further delay, here are my 5 favorite social media myths (at least right now):
1. It’s Free – Yes, the channels are free. Yes, you can engage in social media with just the employees and resources that you have at your fingertips right now. But that initial, “free” burst can only be sustained for a short time. As you strive to learn more about your community, you’re going to need to engage a social listening tool beyond just Google Alerts. Tools like Radian6 and Spiral16 can give you great insights on your community and how they interact, but they do cost money. Additionally, you’re going to need long-term headcount to be devoted to your community engagement and interactions. If you decide to continue using existing resources to expand their responsibilities, it’s likely you’re going to have to backfill their responsibilities with more headcount.
In other words…Listening is cheap, engaging requires a bit of investment. The more you engage, the more investment will be required.
2. It doesn’t take much to start/maintain – This completely depends on what you want to get out of it. If your business is a B2B and you there isn’t much conversation about your brand or competitors in the consumer space online, then yes…it probably won’t take much to start listening and you probably don’t have a lot of social crisis situations going on. However, the more you put into social media, the more you get out. If you start writing your internal employee policy on the use of social media, you may decrease the risk of an employee “oops”. If you start looking at ways to educate your sales force on the best way to use social media to identify leads and connect with prospects and customers, the sooner you’re going to be able to reap the benefits.
Again…the more you invest, the more you will get out of it.
3. It’s a fad for kids and geeks -Really, if you still think this, you’re probably type on a typewriter and still believe that smoking doesn’t cause cancer. The reality is that social media is a fundamental communication shift that is changing the way we community individually and the way we do business. Over the last couple of years, I have seen corporate executives begin to shift their perceptions from “whether” they should engage in social media to “how” they will engage.
4. It’s so easy, our interns can do it – Sure, you can assign your must junior, inexperienced employees to manage your brand. It’s a great strategy for putting your entire brand at risk and find new, unique ways to end up as a social media case study as the company that lost all its customers with a single tweet, or ended up in an FTC investigation for accidentally sharing inside information with the entire blogsphere.
Sure, your interns are likely a younger and claim that they “get” social media, but the reality is that they don’t “get” business, they aren’t versed in the ways to handle internal and external communications, and they certainly don’t know the do’s and don’ts of what information can be shared.
Basically, just because you can put your interns in charge of your social media doesn’t mean you should.
5. There is no ROI in the activities – I mentioned ROI earlier, but this one definitely deserves it’s own conversation. If you don’t think you can develop an ROI on your social media activities, you’ve already lost half the corporate battle. As I mentioned in myth #1, social media engagement is going to require investment and resources. To get the required funding, you’re going to need to demonstrate to your executives that it’s worth taking resources from another project and devoting them to yours. That ROI is going to be unique to your organization, so look for ways to either reduce costs internally or increase sales, donations, or other revenue for your organization. A few good places to start looking for an ROI on social media can be found here, but be your company may offer other unique possibilities.
There you have it…my current 5 favorite social media myths. Have your own? Leave a comment or write an article on your own blog. If you send me a link and I’ll put together a list of great social media myths.