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Social media has become a part of our everyday lives. As a result, Facebook and Twitter campaigns are becoming more and more prominent in social media marketing strategies for businesses.
Since the creation of social media in 1997, it has drastically grown and has forever changed the way information is shared and the way that consumers interact with the internet. In 1999 the idea of blogging arose, which later accelerated the popularity and prevalence of social media. MySpace, LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, Tumblr, Foursquare, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook are just some of the most popular social media channels.
Internet users began to turn to social media and blogs as information sources. Instead of turning to search engines, personal blogs and social media pages would quickly fill with conversations by real people, not brands. The internet suddenly became a social environment. No longer was the internet solely for gaining information put forth by companies; it was now a two-way street open to any topic of interest.
As the popularity and overall consumer demand for smartphones increased, so did the demand for mobile access to social media. Texting may have been enough for a flip phone user, but the smartphone generation wanted more. Social media apps were introduced and spread like wildfire. New social media sites arrived on the market through growth in the mobile-app world.
Today social media users want information, conversation, and connection at their fingertips, at all times. The anticipation to get home and log in on your personal computer [in most instances] is no more. If there is data or Wi-Fi available, there is a way to connect. It has become almost impossible for us as an online generation to disconnect from the social world. This is why the social media revolution is real and is here to stay.
Social media, and it’s uses for business, has many myths and truths surrounding it. We are going to breakdown some of the most common myths about using social media for business. Let’s begin!
MYTH: “My customers aren’t on social media.”
This is the most common social media myth. Your customers are on social media. You just need to find out which channels they are active on. The majority of social media users are active on Facebook. According to Statista, Facebook has 1,590 million monthly active users and there are 500,000+ ‘likes’ every minute. The same source shows that there were 310 million active monthly users on Twitter in the first quarter of 2016.
People tend to believe that social media is solely for teens and young adults, but this is a huge misconception. A Pew Internet report shows that out of all internet users that are at least 65 years of age, about 56% actively use Facebook. The same report shows 71% of the entire online adult population has a Facebook account. These users spend a minimum of 20 minutes per day on their Facebook accounts!
Facebook is not the only social media channel your customers are on. Twitter use is also on the rise. Hootsuite reported that the most rapid growth in Twitter users was in the age group of 55-64. According to Social Media Today, Twitter usage in general is quickly rising compared to past years.
MYTH: “I need to join every single social media network, RIGHT NOW!”
There is no need to sign your business up for every single social media channel you can find. It’s unnecessary. Your customers ARE social, but they may not be active on every channel. Small Business Trends stated that one of the biggest social media mistakes a business makes is trying to do too much on social media.
When you’re getting started, choose two (three at the most) social media channels for your business. Research your customer base. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about their social media usage. It’s crucial to find out where your customers spend time online and to have accounts set up on those channels, so they can find you. Get your feet wet with two networks, like Facebook and Twitter, then decide if your business should take on more social accounts.
MYTH: “My social media pages should not be personal.”
There are dangers associated with sharing personal opinions on social media. Sharing political, religious, and societal views are examples of how posts can be taken too far and can affect a business’ online reputation.
It’s critical to be aware of the difference between being “personal” and being “personable” on social media. Providing content in ways that make your business look approachable, knowledgeable, and easy to talk to is important. Digging too deep into emotions and opinions can have more adverse reactions from your audience, and detrimental results for your business.
Everyone on social media has their own personal opinions that may or may not reflect yours. It’s important to avoid crossing relevant industry topics with your own opinions on the industry.
For example, you can share an article from a well-known automotive or tire publication about how there is a recall on a specific automotive part. Use personal content in your post like, “If you purchased this part from our business, please feel free to contact us right away with any concerns. Your safety and satisfaction comes first.” This content is professional and will prompt conversation, whether it be on your post or through private messages.
Avoid sounding harsh, hostile, or negatively opinionated in your content. “These recalled parts were sold to our shop, because someone at the warehouse apparently doesn’t know how to do their job. We apologize for the inconvenience,” is the wrong way to react. It creates an uncomfortable situation in the relationship with your supplier and your audience. It also makes your business look unprofessional.
Keep posts related to your business and the industry as much as possible. Keep opinions neutral and treat every situation on social media with caution. Remember that once you post something on social, you can’t take it back. Stay professional.
MYTH: “It’s better if I post more and use a lot of #hashtags.”
The frequency of your posts really depends on where you are posting and what you are posting about. On Facebook, posting twice a day can be fine, or it can be overkill. It depends on your audience. On Twitter, you’ll see businesses posting many times throughout the day.
Twitter users don’t mind seeing multiple tweets from an account on any given day, as long as they all have value. If you can manage to keep your Twitter followers informed, entertained, and engaged- post away! Always pay attention to user response.
If you get retweeted, always take the time to answer back. If you realize your tweets are not getting retweeted, liked, or replied to, take a step back and analyze what you have posted. You may be posting too much. In time, you’ll learn what works for your audience and what doesn’t.
A lot of hashtags is always better, right? Wrong. If you use hashtags in a post, only use one to three very relevant ones. #There #Is #No #Need #To #Hashtag #Everything. This actually becomes quite annoying to users and they may dismiss your content altogether.
The purpose of a hashtag is to help people find and contribute to a conversation on social media. Hashtags are essential, well, tags. If someone searches for that hashtag on social media, they will be presented with every post or comment that used that same hashtag. The more specific a hashtag is, the more specific the results will be. Gone are the days when searches only occurred on Google, Yahoo, or Bing. Social media is used every day to search for specific topics often, using hashtags.
Twitter even dedicates a page to trending topics (topics that are currently being discussed more than others through hashtags). Don’t be afraid to implement trending hashtags into your content, especially if it relates to a good cause or to the industry. It will help you get more visibility.
Hashtags can be used to promote your business as well. If you are posting about an upcoming holiday tire sale, use specific hashtags that will help your post perform better, like #TireSale or #HolidaySavings. These hashtags are common, relevant, and will lead more people to your page if they are searching for these relevant terms.
MYTH: “Social media doesn’t compliment traditional marketing strategies.”
Social media can compliment your traditional marketing in many ways. Sharing content on social media channels can benefit your business’ advertising, public relations, consumer research, customer service, website, and sales strategies.
Social media helps gather feedback from your audience by observing what they like, share, and comment on the most, which is beneficial for your customer service strategies. Any questions, concerns, issues, or complaints can be answered (and possibly resolved) within seconds on social media. The faster you respond, the happier your audience is.
Is your shop holding a contest, or maybe a giveaway for free tires? Is there a coupon or rebate available on your business’ website? Social media can strengthen the impact of any promotion. It’s the perfect resource. There is no need to pay for a billboard or newspaper ad. Promote your special on Facebook through original content or paid advertisements that are directly targeted to your customers. Add content to your post that makes your audience want to make the next move. Reach your audience where they spend most of their time- on their smartphone. You will promote your business, as you build social relationships at the same time.
Using social media as a means of promotion does not mean forgetting about your website. Think of your business’ website and its social media presence as a two part team. One has the others back at all times.
According to HubSpot, in 2014, 92% of marketers agreed that social media is important for their business to have and maintain. 80% of those marketers noted increased traffic to their websites through their efforts on social. This is why it’s crucial that your social media pages and your website are integrated. Have your business’ social media channels linked on your homepage through icons. This will promote traffic from your social media pages to your website and vice versa.
MYTH: “Social media doesn’t influence quote requests or purchase decisions.”
So you think consumers don’t look at a business’ social media pages before requesting a quote on tires or deciding to schedule maintenance? A Nielsen report shows that 46% of online shoppers rely on social media before they decide to make a purchase or even ask for more information. Now you’re asking, “Is this true for the tire and automotive industry?” Yes, multinational professional services firm, Deloitte, stated that when looking to buy automotive products and services, or thinking about requesting a quote for tires, 32% of users will turn to social media, where they are influenced to take action.
Social media gives your brand personality and increases the level of trust your customers have for your business. Maybe the pictures of tires on your website isn’t enough to seal the deal, but that post you created last week about why your business is proud to sell the tire brands it does made a customer trust your brand and its products. Mission accomplished.
MYTH: “You can’t get thousands of followers if you’re not famous.”
Remember grumpy cat—the angry looking, fluffy cat that was posted everywhere? Before his picture went viral, he was just a cat, not famous and not a celebrity. Just a cat with a grimace. People found him amusing and it influenced their behavior to share.
Nowadays you don’t need to be famous to become social media famous. Crafting content to fit the desires and interests of your followers will boost your status on social. Your business’ goal is to achieve shares, likes, and comments on your content. Start a conversation and make followers want to share your content.
Even though social media fame is achievable, don’t set it as a goal when you begin. PR Couture states that a big a following is not always better. In some cases having a huge following means nothing. A page could have 10,000 followers and can’t get more than 10 likes on a post. You want your followers to be people you influence within the industry and the network you are on. When looking at your audience remember quality, not quantity.
MYTH: “You can’t measure effectiveness on social media.”
Let’s be clear, you can measure the effectiveness of your social media activity. Facebook offers Insights, where you can monitor your page’s activity (once you hit 30 followers). Insights help you see how your posts are actually performing. You can see what times your audience is on Facebook, so you know what times to post. You can see how many people actually clicked on a link you posted or watched a video. You can see the average age and location of your audience. Basically, Insights tells you what’s working, and what’s not. Twitter also offers its own tool, called Twitter Analytics.
Social media analytics can be very intimidating, especially when managing a new page. Dedicate free time to learning how these tools work and what they can do for you. You’ll learn so much about your audience and you’ll have the numbers to help you build your strategy.
MYTH: “Social media doesn’t help me connect to my customer base.”
Your brand and its customers will form a better connection through social media. When people follow celebrities on social media, it is not because they know them, but because they want to connect with them. They want to know what they do on daily basis and what they are passionate about. The same goes for your business.
Your social media pages are a way for customers to see you in a different light. You are not just an auto repair shop. Maybe you are a family business where grandpa still supervises while his grandson is under the hood. Maybe there is a special tradition within the shop that makes your employees stand out. Whatever makes your business special—share it. Humanize your business and watch as connections and values begin to form between your brand and its customer base.
Social media success does require effort. A well-planned strategy is key to gaining quality followers and being successful. Business-related social media pages are not one size fits all, but taking a few minutes throughout your day to monitor them will reap many benefits. Remind yourself to look at your accounts, their activity, and their analytics a few times a day. Check out your page while you’re having your morning coffee, going on your lunch break, or relaxing at night. It takes less than 10 minutes to make sure everything is up to speed and see how well posts are performing.
Beginning your journey on social media can be intimidating, but once you rule out the common myths, the path to social success is pretty clear. Buckle up and get ready to take on the social world. If you need a helping hand, we’ve got you covered!
Net Driven’s Social Media Master Tech was created to help you get social, without the stress. We manage, update, and monitor your pages for you! Your expertise is in your shop, ours is in ensuring your success online and in social media marketing.