Facebook is currently home to half a billion active social media users, while Twitter can boast of a hundred and fourty million tweets a day, and that’s just two of the big social media sites – other social media outlets can account for millions more of users logging in every day. Social media is certainly a huge marketing forum nowadays, and different types of organizations have taken notice – investing fortunes into marketing campaigns that take advantage of social media, but does the approach work?
According to a recent Gallup research, not in the way you’d expect.
Gallup’s recent research involves more than 17 thousand social media users, and evaluates everything from their usage of social media apps to traditional word of mouth. The research provides insight into how people use social media and its effectiveness in marketing. Along the way, Gallup’s research managed to unearth and debunk three pervasive myths regarding social media:
Myth #1: Social Media Initiatives Drive Customer Loyalty And Acquisition
The first myth is a very important one, as it symbolizes majority of what organizations want to achieve from social media marketing initiatives: attract new customers and strengthen relationships with existing ones.
However, Gallup’s research reveals that it’s actually the other way around – it is a social media user’s engagement with the brand that encourages social engagement. This means brand sponsored social media campaigns have very little impact on the decision making process of consumers. For a brand to benefit from social media marketing, the brand must first create customer engagement. Basically, social media marketing – no matter how big and expensive it is – does very little to attract new customers.
That’s not to say that social media marketing it useless, because it is a very effective means of strengthening relationships with customers who are already engaged with your brand, and in most cases, actually solidifies their support for you that they turn into advocates or proxy marketers for your brand, and this is where the power of social media marketing lies.
Lesson: Start with your current supporters. Spend and devote your time strengthening your relationship with them. They will be the ones that will attract new customers.
Myth #2: Social Networking Is An Online-Only Phenomenon.
This myth traces its roots from people’s tendency to confuse the difference between social media and social networking. Basically, social networking is the act of engaging in a social network, while social media is the venue in which people network. To wit, the former is the media, while the latter is the message.
The danger of this myth is that it tricks organizations into adopting a myopic view of social networking, as they focus only on the online aspects such as amount of followers, amount of downloads, hashtags, and clickthroughs, all the while leaving a lot of potential market untapped as they fail to approach the campaign thru more human aspects, such as the creation of content or ideas that will resonate even outside of the Internet, through word of mouth and offline advocacy.
Lesson: You need to design campaigns that will spill over to the “offline” world. It is the conversations that other people will have outside of the internet that will allow you to earn revenues. Inspire your customers or online supporters to think and do something for your brand outside of the internet.
Myth #3: All Social Networkers Are The Same.
This myth is probably a byproduct of myth #2, as it eventually leads to marketers treating social networkers as random figures and statistics that are jumping out of charts, traffic logs, follower lists and other means of collecting data over the net. But such an approach implies that all social networkers are the same, which is definitely not the case as Gallup’s research found out.
The research reveals that social networkers have different motivations for using social media and also have varying ways and means on how to use their networks. They won’t change those to fit your brand or organization, so you need to understand the differences between them and customize your approach based on the ones you want to attract.
Lesson: Learn what each social networking site is for. For example, (this is just an example) Twitter are used more by celebrities. Users there are most likely on the lookout for celebrities. Facebook are used mostly by young professionals. Google Plus is used mostly by executives. Know who is there. Then you’ll know what kind of approach will work on them.