5 Social Media Lies That Scare Business Owners
I am a copywriter. I have a degree in English, with a concentration in writing. Running a business has given me an education in marketing and sales. Personal inclination has given me some expertise in social media. (Yeah, I’m addicted. So what? There are worse things.)
So, while I may want to write articles all day, I often end up answering client questions about social media and marketing, and whether it’s all useful or if it’s just hype. I don’t mind
answering those questions, and sometimes it’s fun to help a new client get things set up. Usually though, people believe one of the following lies they have been told and (continue) to avoid using social media platforms at all.
1. Social media will take up
a lot all of my time. This is probably the biggest fear that busy people have. Social media will take up exactly as much time as you let it. Sure, you could spend hours upon hours exploring, looking at photos, watching videos, and reading articles. Lots of people do. But you could also spend hours in front of the television. Or, you can turn the TV off.
The easiest way to make sure social media doesn’t become a time suck (the most common description I hear from people who don’t use it) is to set yourself some limits. Decide that you can dedicate exactly 15 minutes to Facebook in the morning, or give yourself 20 minutes to respond to comments on all of the social channels you use. You have control and will not be magically hypnotized and forced to spend days staring at your screen.
2. There is no practical business use for social media. If you still think this, you are well behind the curve. There are tons of practical business uses for social media, from networking with colleagues, peers, and mentors to providing outstanding customer service and learning more about what your customers want and need. It’s true that not many sales happen on social media platforms, but all sorts of other business stuff does. You can tell people about sales, find out what people are looking for, describe new products, speak individually to the people who make running your business possible, and you can educate people.
Most business owners will tell you about something their customers just don’t understand. Social media gives you the opportunity to help them understand. You can explain your relationship with your suppliers, why your return policy is what it is, where your products come from, how you are different from the guy down the street, what they should expect after making a purchase, or whatever else it is people just don’t get.
3. I will have no privacy at all if I use social media. You get to decide what you share or don’t share on social media. Facebook is probably the most frequently cited platform when people have privacy concerns. You should be concerned about privacy. You should educate yourself about the terms of service of any platform you use. But you should also always remember that you have control. Facebook has a number of ways you can (and should) separate your personal profile from your business page.
Not one single social media platform that you might want to use for business requires you to list the high school you attended. You should guard your home address and phone number carefully. Most certainly be careful with information regarding your children, especially images of them. Authenticity and transparency are great, but so is common sense. If you are using social media for business, then talk about your business. You have control regarding what you share.
4. There are ways to automate social media so I can “set it and forget it”. There are automation tools. By and large, they don’t work. It is much better to choose one or two platforms that you can easily manage than to start accounts on five sites and then automate them. Probably the most commonly used automation tool is linking your different accounts together so that you can type in one status update and it will appear on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter – probably others, too, but I don’t know because I don’t use those tools.
Why is this such a bad idea? Are your conversations with your colleagues and peers the same as with your customers? What about your friends? There probably is some overlap, but it is likely your peers know much more about your business than your customers do, and your friends probably don’t want to hear about your business. Your audience is important, and varies depending on which social media platform you are using.
5. Social media will help me make thousands of dollars more each year. Social media can do lots of things, but it is not a magic money maker. Like any other marketing tool, it requires strategy and work. Sales don’t usually take place on social media sites, although many of your friends, fans, likers, or whatnot will visit your primary web site where sales can take place. (You have a primary web site, right?)
There are stories about business owners making connections that lead to huge sales because they are active on LinkedIn or Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest or whatever, but there are also stories about business owners making connections that lead to huge sales on the golf course. Neither social media nor golf is required to run a successful business. You can make connections anywhere.
Since I spend a considerable amount of time online, it surprises me that there are still lots of people out there who believe these lies. None of this is new stuff, but for a business owner trying to figure out how to get started, or why things are working as expected, it is important stuff.
If you would like to learn more about social media and how it can work in your industry, for your business, you might enjoy digibiztrainingcompany.com. Take a look. Enjoy some blog posts. Sign up to receive email.