Demystifying Social Media Myths (from B2B Forum)

By Amanda Sides | Jun 24, 2011
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With the still dramatically increasing growth of social media, more and more B2B companies are working social media into their overall strategies.  With the increased adoption of social media these days, a few myths are becoming more prevalent across the board.  Katie Delahaye Paine, the CEO of KDPaine & Partners, addressed social media efforts and ROI attribution at the MarketingProfs B2B Forum in Boston last week.  In her Wednesday afternoon session, she also had a mini presentation on debunking common social media myths, which I found to be pretty interesting.  Here are the most common social media myths, debunked.

Demystifying Common Social Media Myths

1. Social Media ≠ Facebook

When upper management hear the phrase “social media,” they typically assume that means Facebook.  This is not the case. If you have a complex message, hosting videos on YouTube might be a better fit for you.  Don’t always assume that you SHOULD have a presence on Facebook, or that it’s your only option.

2. Eyeballs ≠ Awareness

Getting your brand in front of 3 million people may not be beneficial to you. You really need to focus on getting in front of the right eyeballs. Putting your message in Justin Bieber’s face about the benefits of pallet cushions probably isn’t going to get you anywhere. Make sure you are targeting the most appropriate audience for your business.

3. Followers ≠ Influence

This will be different for everyone, generally speaking, increasing the number of followers you have on Twitter doesn’t necessarily mean you are increasing your influence. Take note of who is following you; in this regard, the quality of your followers goes a lot farther than the quantity.

4. Likes ≠ Engagement

You are probably tracking the number of “Likes” you are receiving on various efforts, but what exactly does that tell you? Someone who gives you a “Like” could simply be a one-time visitor.  Think about tracking the volume of retweets, links back to you, direct messages, hashtags, or comments you receive. This shows the true engagement with your social media efforts.

5. Engagement ≠ ROI

So now that you are tracking true engagement, keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily equate to ROI. Ensure you are using proper tracking to see what each social media outlet is doing for your ROI.  Katie shared a case study regarding a Construction Software Company.  Once they implemented the proper tracking measures, they discovered that 30% of their sales originated by participating in discussions on LinkedIn.  By establishing accurate and appropriate tracking, you can find out which of your efforts are working for you, and possibly let you know where to allocate more resources.

6. Sentiment might not always matter.

80% of social media conversations are neutral… Most people are simply making an observation and stating facts.  This makes it very difficult to make valid assumptions about the sentimental value out there; it requires acquisition of a high volume of data. In regards to B2B conversations, a lot of businesses don’t evoke any sense of sentiment, so it really may not matter here.  Collect and analyze your data, and decide whether sentiment means anything to you or not.

7. ROI might not always be the goal.

While a lot of businesses adopt social media efforts as another way to increase ROI, keep in mind this is not the only thing you can use it for.  If you are trying to rebrand, improve or change your reputation or image.  You can use social media to increase visibility or awareness, provide information for those looking for it, or increase participation.

8. It’s not always about you… So get over it.

Social media conversations aren’t always revolved around selling your product.  Whoever manages your social media efforts needs to know when certain conversations should be addressed by other departments of the organization.  Sometimes the conversation will revolve around selling the product, but sometimes customer service needs to get involved, or Marketing, Competitive Intelligence, Research and Development, Market Research, or maybe even Human Resources. Don’t try to sell a product to someone who has a questions regarding something completely different.

Congratulations on beginning your quest into the world of social media! Now, be sure you are going about it in the best way for your business! There’s a lot of information out there these days on how you should be utilizing it, but remember… Every company’s goals are different, so what works for one company may not work for you.  Let me know what’s working for you by commenting below or reaching out on twitter!

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