Social Media Myths Debunked: A Small Business Owner’s Guide

What is it about social media that has some business owners turned off? Is it the idea that you need a special skill set to master the world of posting, blogging, tweeting, and snapping? Or is it the feeling you get as you scroll through your personal feed, and all you see is a bunch of selfies and political diatribes. I get it, there is a lot of digital noise on social media. But what if you are missing what could be a great marketing opportunity?

I’m not talking about launching a social media empire, but let’s look at a few myths about social media marketing that could use a good debunking.

7 Myths About Social Media for Small Businesses

  • Myth 1: My business won’t see a return on an investment in social media.

False. Today’s consumer does online research. You know this because you spent money building a website to be your virtual storefront for customers to learn more about you before they buy. Social media drives traffic to your website. Consider it the road signs or the GPS navigation that guide customers right to your front door.

The fact is, the companies making more money than you each year are using social media to drive more traffic to their websites. They may even be driving your traffic to their websites. And what happens when a customer lands on a website? They make purchasing decisions. Social media chauffeurs them right to your site.

  • Myth 2: I spent money on a yellow pages ad and it never paid off.

Yellow pages ads only really work for the companies that start with an “A”, right? It’s why we have dozens of businesses in every town starting with that letter. The best part of social media is that it isn’t alphabetized. If you have a strong online presence, your clients will find you much more easily. No name change required!

  • Myth 3: Social media is a waste of time.

Any sales person would agree that the more face time, or touch points, you have with your customers, the more sales you get. Think about how that applies to social media. Social media is a way to engage with customers when you aren’t face-to-face with them. It’s another touch-point. If touch-points lead to sales, then it isn’t a waste of time. It is a smart investment of time.

  • Myth 4: My customers aren’t on social media.

Trust me on this, your customers are absolutely on social media. In 2016, 78 percent of Americans had a social media profile, representing a five percent growth compared to the previous year. According to estimates, the number of worldwide social media users reached 1.96 billion and is expected to grow to some 2.5 billion by 2018. (Thanks statista.com for that data!)

There are so many social platforms that cater to different groups and personalities, you just have to find the right fit. If your typical customer is a 40-50 year old business owner, promote on LinkedIn. If you’re targeting 20-30 year old parents, focus your efforts on Instagram. You just need a strategy that connects your message and offerings with your audience, because they are out there and they’re all on social media.

  • Myth 5: Having a social media presence opens the door to public complaints.

This one has a bit of truth to it. Putting yourself out in the real world where people are means there will be fans that promote your brand like crazy and others who might complain. What if we shifted how we viewed those complaints? Did you know that companies spend tons of cash on customer surveys trying to define what their customers think about a product, service, process, or decision? Social media puts the conversations that used to happen in secret (and that used to cost a lot of money) right in your lap.

Using social media, you can see exactly what people are saying about your business and why. Rather than viewing this as a negative, shift that paradigm to see the opportunity. Your goal is to delight your customer, right? Well, what’s better than giving them a voice? Bigger than that, when you fix the issue publicly you win all around. People prefer to do business with companies that care.

  • Myth 6: We are B2B, so social media “isn’t for my business.”

This may shock you, but businesses are run by people. And people are on social media. Over a billion people (see number 4 above) are on these platforms. And guess what, they own businesses and make decisions online, just like you and I do.

  • Myth 7: It takes a lot of time or money to manage a social media page.

Let’s start with the cost of social media. Most social media platforms allow you to join, create a business page, and interact with followers for free. They offer options to boost posts and run ads, but the cost is minimal compared to traditional advertising.

A TV ad (that will have limited viewership and where you have little control over the demographic watching) can cost you thousands of dollars. A Facebook ad, on the other hand, can cost less than $20 and be targeted to a specific demographic on a specific platform with specific interests. Your twenty bucks can get you more action than you may realize.

As for the time commitment, social media can be as time consuming as you make it. There are services that will handle all of your social media engagements for less than $200/month (by the way, that’s way less than paying an employee to post for you). Or, if you really want to get savvy, you can schedule your posts inside your social media platforms and automate the entire thing.

Are you missing a marketing opportunity? If you aren’t on social media, the answer is yes.

Having a strong social media presence is important for the next wave of business marketing, and now is as good a time as any to step out and let your fans promote your brand of awesome. Don’t fall victim to the myths. Social media is here to stay, so let’s embrace it! Let us know if you need any help.