There's a lot of noise about social media and the importance of your network these days, I'm one of the people who's making some of that noise – I'm pretty passionate about using social media to build your connections and your business.
But have you ever noticed how easy it is for someone to put up a pretty website and say anything? And if it's on a well branded page, people listen. They don't always think about what they're hearing, though, and usually don't take the time to look up any new information to make sure it's accurate.
This means there are often many people claiming to have certainty about the topic of social media and building social networks for business, but there really isn't much evidence to back them up.
Not very comforting, is it?
The Real Truth About Social Networks for Business
#1 – Not everyone is on social media.
This probably sounds like a strange truth to lead with – I love social media! But I also know it's limited – not everyone is there, and you may well have customers who aren't there. This doesn't mean you shouldn't have strong social media marketing for your business. But building social networks for your business marketing shouldn't be your only strategy, either.
Make sure you're still reaching out to your customers and prospects via your website, e-mail, and providing good old fashioned excellent customer service in person, too.
#2 – Using social networks for business effectively isn't free.
Your social media profiles are free to set up, sure. But – learning the strategy and techniques to use it the right way, in addition to having tools to increase your productivity and measure your results, aren't free at all. If you haven't invested anything in your social media marketing, I'm going to guess you might also be among the people saying it's not working. That's like picking up a violin and expecting to be able to play without investing in lessons.
#3 – Social media is not another broadcast platform.
One of the fastest ways to get your audience to tune you out on social media is to approach it like you do any other form of broadcast media. It's not a place to pump out a "buy, buy, buy" message all hours of the day and night.
Social networks for business work best when you take the time to engage with the people who are your friends and fans. Listen and respond. Consumers expect to be able to interact with the companies they do business with online – and when they post a review, good or bad, they expect to receive an answer.
#4 – Your _____ (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) profile does not replace your website.
If you're treating one of your social media platforms as your only online presence, you're losing the benefit of a website. Not to mention – if that network gets hacked, or they suddenly decide your profile is out of compliance or your header has too much text, you're going to be losing money quickly.
You don't own your profile on a free platform. This is the single biggest reason you need to have your own company website, one that is self hosted (not a free WordPress account).
#5 – You don't have to be on every social media network.
If you've read my content for any length of time, you know I'm a fan of multiple social media networks. But the reason is that I need to know about multiple kinds of platforms to create the best strategies for my customers to achieve their mission. Every social media network might not be right for your business or your target customers. If you're not sure which networks you belong on, a social media consultant can help you identify your target customers and determine which platforms they're most likely to be using. This way you're using your resources most effectively.
What truths about social networks for business have surprised you lately? Leave a comment below!