Social media gets a lot of buzz out there in the online world these days.
Yes, social media has the potential to be a great marketing tool.
Hundreds of millions of people are using social media. When that many people form communities like that there has to be a way for businesses to take advantage.
But as with any new marketing channel there are a lot of outstanding questions.
With this post we’re going to try and clear up some of the questions you have and might be ashamed to ask.
You’re not alone with these questions. I’ve had them. I was too ashamed to ask so on a couple I went out and looked for the answers.
And I’m sure we’re not the only ones asking.
Let’s get into it.
1. Do I Need Be On Every Social Media Site?
Nope. Leave it to the big businesses with big marketing budgets and big staffs to try and tackle every social media site out there. For small and medium businesses it’s going to be really difficult to keep up.
I’ve worked for a pretty good sized company and it was difficult.
Stick with 1 to 3 networks that have your target audience and stick with it.
2. What Is A Hashtag?
Twitter seemed to be the first social network to start this whole hashtag thing. Now Facebook, Pinterest and all the others are on board. Hashtags are like categories and tags on blogs or ecommerce sites. They make it easy for people to segments of information on social media.
3. Do I Need Company Profiles Or Personal Profiles?
You can do either, but to answer your question I would suggest company profiles if you want to build an audience for your brand. Stick with Twitter business profiles, Facebook business pages, etc. Share your content there and build the audience around your brand. This way, the people can change, but your brand community will remain strong.
4. How Often Should You Post New Updates?
Shoot for five updates per day. You can automate much of this with tools like Buffer. Spend one day a week putting together your updates and then sit back and let them go out automatically.
Shoot for up to ten each day of you can. Twenty would be even better.
But don’t get too spammy. Do more than that and you’ll flood your audience with too many things especially if they aren’t finding the content helpful.
5. Is One Person Enough For A Social Media Program?
In reality, one dedicated person may be enough for a small or medium business, but I would say it’s not going to be enough. Your social media program should involve blogging. It should involve being active on 1 to 3 social networks; really involved.
I’ve seen businesses struggle trying to do it with a person that works on social and also work son other areas. That doesn’t work. And one person involved is really a stretch. If you want to commit then commit with a full team and a full plan (that includes blogging).
6. What Type Of Content Should I Share?
Social media users like photos. Interesting photos including behind the scenes photos are always hits with social media followers. Also share tips that will help your audience with tasks related to your industry. Think of a chef sharing cooking tips with social media followers and then promoting their line of cookware.
7. Does Social Media Advertising Work?
We’re starting to see signs in a few industries that advertising can work. Here is one example of it working on the social media site, Reddit. It seems like Twitter advertising is still pretty expensive, but I believe they’ve geared it more toward smaller businesses now. Facebook has had ads for a while now. There must be demand and now they offer sponsored stories.
The answer, yes. It can work if you’re looking for an alternative to your AdWords campaign.
8. Do All Of My Followers See My Updates?
No. Unfortunately, there are a number of reasons that all your followers won’t see every one of your updates. Some simply don’t use social media all the time and the timing has to be right with your updates for them to see them. Others follow a ton of people so your updates get lost in the wash. And other times your updates simply won’t show as a result of programming determinations like Facebook’s ranking system.
9. Should I Automate Social Media Updates?
Yes. Automate what you can. Have your recent posts shared on social media. Schedule old posts to update. Schedule updates without links to your articles. Follow the Buffer link above. There are other ways to automate your updates as well including the Sharing function in WordPress.
10. Will Social Media Replace Email?
Nope. At least not yet. I don’t see how it could happen in the future, but you never know.
Just know that right now, about 90-95% of online users have an email account and check their inbox regularly.
11. What Is An Influencer?
An influencer is someone that has influence over your target audience. These are speakers, business owners, doctors, etc. that have captured the attention of your target audience. They might be complementary industry experts. Befriend these people. That relationship can lead to you growing your audience.
12. What Is Engagement?
It can be all kinds of things. Shares, follows, likes, retweets, etc. It can be a lot of things. Watch these somewhat. They can tell you about how you’re doing on social media, but also track sales and profit. That’s what you really need to have social media success.
13. Who Uses Social Media?
It’s becoming more broad, but the main audience on social media is the younger generations. You don’t see too many grandparents on social media. Yes, everyone has a grandma on Facebook, but that isn’t the norm.
If your customer is younger you have more opportunity for success with social media.
14. What Is The Best Social Media Tool?
Some might think software.
The best tool is content. And it’s content you own.
Create a blog. Put content on your website and use The Snippet Strategy to build your social audience.
15. What Is The Best Social Media Site?
It depends on your target audience.
Do you sell to other businesses? Focus on LinkedIn.
Need traffic to your blog for your B2C company? Facebook.
Need traffic for your news site? Try Twitter.
16. What Is A Social Media Guru?
I have no idea.
If someone calls themselves this you probably want to avoid working with them. You’re looking for people that have case studies and examples of generating real results for clients. Real results = sales.
17. Did Social Media Really Help Catching Fire Earn $300 Million?
This was a great point made by a great marketer.
Here is the message he put up on Twitter:
Hunger Games did $304,000,000 worldwide Fri/Sat … always remember, Product > Everything Else.
— Kevin Hillstrom (@minethatdata) November 25, 2013
That second part makes it.
It’s about the product. Without a great product, social media doesn’t really matter. At least not yet.
So the answer is “no”. Social media did little or nothing to help Catching Fire earn big box office numbers.
Bonus. How Many Social Buttons Should I Have On My Site?
Not too many.
Here is a post on social media buttons.
There you have it.
Some of the biggest questions out there regarding social media. It’s a new marketing world out there and there is a lot of confusion around social media.
Hopefully this has helped clear up some of those questions you’ve had.