It has been a rollercoaster ride in Social Media land the last 12 years and new social network platforms keep popping up out of nowhere. It feels like we are living in one big bubble. Everyone has his own ways and own opinions about this bubble. What to believe and what not to believe?
Back in the days
It all started in 2002 with the launch of Friendster. The idea of this social network platform came from classmates.com, a virtual school reunion network, and sixdegrees.com, a social network to connect with friends. The aim of the Friendster network was ‘Circle of Friends’ and they promoted to create a rich online community which links people who have common bonds. Due to technical difficulties the website lost a lot of members.
A year later LinkedIn and My Space launched. In which LinkedIn took the more serious approach and MySpace the funky, feature-filled approach with music and videos. Only one year later the king of our Social Media land as we know it today was brought to life: Facebook. For two years it only existed for Harvard university students, but after the big business opened for the general public.
The Social Media landscape keeps changing every day, more different types of network platforms are created to reach as many people as possible like Instagram, Foursquare, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc.
Most organizations already found the magic combination between their business and Social Media. More and more businesses create accounts on several network platforms to keep in touch with their audience, to sell their product and/or services, or send out their message.
No organization can stay behind, it is every business’ own responsibility to keep up with the market and its competitors in Social Media land. But what is true about the stories and what not? Which myth is true and which myth is nonsense?
Everybody is on Social Media
As many people say, everybody is on Social Media. Especially the people in the younger generations. But is it true? No. Not everybody is on Social Media, not yet at least. The focus should be on where the target audience is. If your target audience is active on Social Media, it is useful for your business to also be active on Social Media. But if your target audience is not fully active it does not mean that your business should not be. For this group it is important that they can find you on Google for example. With the use of search engine optimization (SEO) you can make it easier for the audience to find you on the free web. For your online target audience network platforms like Facebook and Twitter can be seen as the newest free web search machines. They don’t only search for organizations on Google anymore, they use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well.
You have to spend hours a day on Twitter
Many people think and say that with the arrival of Social Media, multiple jobs arrived too. It is true that there are new jobs with contain to work with Social Media, but is it an all day task? Could be if want to, of course! No one is holding you back. But you also could spend your time and money on other activities. Thousands of tweets are dropped on the network and yes, it is important to keep up. A good idea might be to schedule a specific time per day to check the Twitter account, to update a tweet and to reply on tweets send to your organization if necessary. Another option is to create a tweet chat with your customers, stakeholders etc. by all using the same hashtag.
Social Media is solely a broadcast channel
Solely? No. Social Media is created to keep in contact with each other. Not just broadcasting but also a perfect place for two-way communication. The target audience should like or follow your business’ page on Social Media to stay involved. A way to make that work is to create a contest or a sweepstake. For example, a travel agency could ask the audience to like and share a photo and if they do they can win a vacation or a trip. Through this way the friends on the audience members get involved too, because they see the photo on their wall. For Twitter an example could be to use a hashtag so the audience members can tweet messages with the same hashtag.
Social Media can replace your website
This is what happens when peoples opinions bcome myths. It can work for some people but definitely not for everybody. The business its Social Media account is to my opinion not the same as its website. The website is the information source and the Social Media account is the way to keep in contact. This means that both can work together. You can link the one to the other, since some people are more fond of Social Media, and others still prefer the website itself. In my opinion it is not a good idea to replace your website with a Social Media account.
Blogging is a waste of time
Blogging is a nice way to share your voice and to keep control of your brand. Important is, while blogging, to be consistent and don’t write to long. The ultimate length of a blog differs per person, I would say as long as it consists all the important information it doesn’t matter what size the blog is. Make sure you add pictures, infographics, videos, or anything like that to keep it interesting to read. An option for blogging is to answer the questions the customers have in a blog. You can also ask questions in your blog to start a blog-conversation. Extra tip: Link your blog to your LinkedIn page!
You have to be on every social network
The one answer to this myth is: No! You should pick the network platforms which help you to keep in contact with your target audience, but you should also consider that you do not have to do what everyone else is doing. Peer pressure also exists in the business world. Your biggest competitor can have an account on Instagram for example. Well, good for him! Of course you can create an account too, but make sure that you keep it up to date and alive. If you don’t post any picture, get rid of the account! You can reach your target audience with many networks, but make sure it is an effective one for your business.
Social media will replace real-life networking
Most of us can not think about a life without Social Media. But what if the bubble bursts? Will it ever burst? I personally think that it will and I know some people might disagree with me. But Social Media can never replace real-life networking. The power of the Social Media is big, but knowing your customers in real-life, knowing their faces, knowing the sound of their voices, having personal contact, that’s what really matters. Even if the bubble keeps expanding, stay in personal touch with your customers. That will connect better than the Social Media ever can.
Do not believe everything that is being said. As you have read, all these myths are busted. The most important thing is to keep in touch with your target audience. As long if you can manage that, it does not matter on which network platform you are or if you are active on one or more platforms, or none at all.
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