Last weekend I went to my 35 year college reunion. We are a close knit group and a core group has stayed pretty much in touch since 1977. This year we made a big effort to find those who have fallen away and we were pretty successful and had the best attended reunion ever. One of our main communication and organizational tools was Facebook. A bunch of Boomers reconnecting on Facebook is not really news and I certainly am not going to get sentimental over a Mark Zuckerberg remake of “The Big Chill,” but this experience has exposed some myths about internet and social media marketing that are good for internet and inbound marketers to remember.
The 5 Myths of Social Media Marketing
- Everybody is active online: Many of us working in online and social media marketing forget that we are at the cutting edge of much of this technology and not everyone else is so involved. That was true with many of my classmates. According to Forrester Research 18% of the U.S. population is inactive on the internet. Even for those online their activity may be minimal and they may not respond. We tend to poo-poo those who say their customers are not online but there is still a population out there that will just not be reached by the internet alone.
- You can find everything/everyone on the internet: Even though we found a few classmates using Facebook and Google they were the easy ones to find. The truth is if you do not want to be found online you can successfully hide. This is also true for businesses that think that if they have a website they will have no trouble being found. It generally takes more than just putting up a web site to be found.
- Social Media is intuitive: Many social media marketers seem to think that everyone understands social media tools like Facebook and how to use them. Even though these tools try to mimic natural social engagement activities not everyone in our group was familiar with the etiquette of online conversations, how to RSVP the Facebook Event or how to invite a friend to the group. Don’t assume that people know what to do. Tell them how to leave a comment, show them where the share button is and remind them to leave a comment.
- People will engage: This is similar to the “Build it and they will come” myth. Just because you have a Facebook page or a blog doesn’t mean that people will participate and engage with it. We’ve had our college group page up for several years and for most of that time it was fairly dormant. It wasn’t until a small group started to regularly use the Facebook group page to update the group, share news and upload photos that it became a dynamic platform. For any social media to work someone needs to be managing the conversation, it rarely happens spontaneously and organically.
- Email is Dead: The only sure way to communicate with everyone in our group was to send an e-mail. Even then we had a few out-of-date e-mail addresses in the list and it took some work to update it. Marketers often overlook this important tool because it seems so out of date but it is vitally important for nurturing and engaging prospects and customers. A solid e-mail component is an important part of any social media or inbound marketing plan. I use HubSpot’s automated e-mail program but other programs such as MailChimp and Constant Contact are good. A great resource is the eBook: How to Optimize Email Marketing for Conversions.
The one big thing about my college reunion and online social media is that there are real, live people behind the Facebook updates, tweets, likes and e-mails. This is the spot in my Mark Zuckerberg sponsored story, like in the movie “The Big Chill,” where the Motown sound track kicks in and Smokey Robinson starts singing I Second That Emotion. If you are too young to get the reference here is the Wikipedia entry for “The Big Chill.”
Let me know what your favorite social media and online marketing myths are and leave a comment below.
Photo Credit: Rich Williams