I once read a book on neuroplasticity called “The Brain That Changes Itself,” which was all about our brain’s amazing ability to, well, change itself. The title got me thinking about how stubborn and ingrown our beliefs have become—often to our detriment.
If you’re looking for the link between me bragging about my reading list and the title of this post, then you’re about to get it: The marketing and business world suffers from a long-standing idea that social media is still a revolutionary idea when in fact, social media has been used in a business capacity for 13 years now. Even more impressively, social media has taken up permanent residence in our minds, changed the way we go about our days, and trained a whole generation to share personal things without reservation.
As someone who has been in the advertising industry for almost a decade, I’ve seen very little change in SMBs’ perceptions of what social media is and what it can do—and this is particularly the case for those in the B2B space. I am also frequently frustrated by blog posts about social media that don’t include statistics, because conversations about the phenomenon can’t all be anecdotal.
I decided to take matters into my own hands by not only creating a list of misconceptions that prevent your business from thriving on social, but finding some stats to provide reasons why these misguided ideas are not only wrong but, in most cases, damaging.
Myth No. 1: Social Media is Free!
- More than half of senior marketers (53 percent) spend part of their digital marketing budgets on social media engagement and community growth. (Source)
- In 2014, social media ad spend reached $16.1 billion, a 45.3 percent increase from 2013. (Source)
- Social media ad dollars from North America, Western Europe, and Asia-Pacific represented 93.7 percent of global social network ad expenditure. (Source)
Remember when you could post something about your new product that would get a huge organic reach and plenty of engagement? Those days are long gone, but the misconception that social media remains a largely free marketing channel is still around—and it’s wreaking havoc on your brand’s ability to get the reach and engagement it needs to thrive. If your marketing budget seems too tight for social, just remember that your competitors are bound to make room.
Myth No. 2: Content is Not That Important
- Nearly 6 in 10 marketers (58 percent) say that written content is their most important form of social content. (Source)
- A total of 48 percent of B2C marketers and 42 percent of B2B marketers now publish online content more than once a week. (Source)
- More than 4 in 10 marketers can attest to positive ROI from their content. (Source)
If you’ve been keeping up with social media news even casually, you’ll have noticed that LinkedIn and Facebook are currently pushing their platforms’ ability to publish content. Curating and publishing content is what separates the serious marketing efforts from the casual. If your company does not have a blog, stop right where you are, save this article for later, and go start one, even if it says “Coming soon.” The important thing is to make plans to start publishing!
Myth No. 3: Paid Advertising Doesn’t Get Much Return
- Paid reach has been shown to lead to additional organic and viral reach, as well as post engagement. (Source)
- Running ads gets you residual benefits for a few days after the ads stop. (Source)
- Facebook came out and said that the sheer amount of paid advertising on its site decreases the “free” (organic) traffic to 1-2 percent of all traffic to your page. (Source)
“Content is king, but distribution is queen and she wears the pants.” – Jonathan Perelman, head of Digital ICM Partners
Even if you’re not up to date on what EdgeRank is, you probably still know that Facebook uses some special kind of algorithm to figure out what your fans are seeing from your page—if anything. This is the same story for Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and more. It’s not necessarily a battle of the budget, but businesses that utilize their boosted post budgets wisely definitely have a leg up on their competition.
The TL;DR version of this post is as follows: If you want to succeed in social media, your business needs to have three things:
- An advertising budget for boosted posts, promoted tweets, sponsored updates, etc. You need boosts to help ensure that new people are seeing your content!
- Content is crucial for social—you can’t only publish calls to action, nor should you solely focus on curated items that might be of interest to your audience. Your company needs to produce its own content and then syndicate it across your social networks. Content without social is like a day without sunshine.
- Your social media strategy must be a mix of organic and paid. More engagement is good for your search results and helps bring more traffic to your website!