I really hope they aren’t, because if they are, then after a while you’re going to encounter some harsh realities that will push you towards giving up on the whole idea!
Before I got into social media marketing, I heard many people tell crazy stories about it that you can’t ignore no matter how hard you try.
I got some people telling me about the unicorns, rainbows and all the dreamlike stuff that you could think of.
I was so excited that I decided to get my share of those fairy tales and become a major part of them. After a while, this whole thing turned upon me!
Realizing the harsh truth
After a while from spending hundreds of hours learning and implementing the techniques that promised me to get a free pass to the social media success realm, I realized one harsh truth!
This truth was that everything I heard about social media marketing was fairly inaccurate. In order for me to help you avoid this from ever happening to you, here are 5 lessons I learned from being a social media marketer:
1- Social media is not the solution for all
There are many people that will tell you that social media marketing is everything you need to do in order to build a successful business.
Truth is, social media is a small part that should fit into a greater strategy that incorporates other marketing tactics.
Have you heard of the saying “don’t put all of your eggs in the same basket”? Yeah, you surely did.
Social media marketing will not work on its own. Sometimes I get clients who want to only work with social platforms to market their business. I always tell them that marketing through social profiles should be associated with content creation and distribution, email marketing and sometimes even SEO. If you don’t really have a solid-based business, nothing will work for you including social media.
2- You can’t only spend 10 minutes a day and expect it to work
This is how marketers convince people to buy their products. By telling them that social media is not time consuming.
The truth is that if you really want social media to work for you business, you need to give it a lot of time (that’s why small companies are beginning to hire full-time social media managers).
The more you intend to make things go faster, the more time you have to dedicate to social media. 10 minutes will probably get you a status update and tweet done, but posting through social profiles is only 1% of the whole thing (I’m probably being too generous here).
A successful social media marketing campaign is all about researching, planning, executing (which is the easy part) and tracking how well your actions have done. It’s time consuming but worth every second you spend on it if planned correctly.
3- It’s not completely free
The biggest myth that many people try to market these days is that social media is free!
It’s true that social media platforms are free to use, but social media marketing is definitely not.
Because most micro businesses do their social media marketing by their own, they think that Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and all that good stuff are free to market on. Sure they are, but only if your time isn’t that valuable! Let me explain.
As I mentioned before, social media is very time consuming, and time is money, right?
If you’re investing time into social media marketing, then you are investing money, and that’s what makes it not free.
You may enjoy the fact that social networks are free (if you don’t count the paid options), but marketing through these platforms will cost you lots of time. If you don’t have it, then you know the only thing that could replace that. MONEY!
Serious small business owners are starting to realize this harsh fact, and they are now shifting their efforts towards investing money into good social media managers, either part-time or full-time.
4- The thing that worked for others might not for you
The most annoying fact about social media marketing is that it varies from business to another.
With other marketing techniques (let’s say SEO), replicating others actions will eventually lead to the same results.
You buy a product which has proven to work from an authentic marketer you know. You try the same think that they’ve done, and you get similar results, if not the same.
The reason for this is that other marketing channels are based on fewer variables (algorithms). With social media, you’re dealing with human beings with different needs, interests, habits…etc.
The best skill that an experienced social media marketer should have is the skill of testing.
The thing that has worked for others might not necessarily work for you, and that’s why you see all that generic content on many social media blogs. I’m talking about the “being authentic and honest” thing. I know that social media marketing is very hard to generalize to all business types, and that’s why I don’t blame them.
If you want to make social media work for your business, you should test, test, test and see if it works for your particular business or not.
5- Social media is not your business
Because all of the amplification that is happening right now about social media, many people start to think that Facebook and Twitter are their most valuable assets.
Truth is, social media is not the goal, it’s just a tool to reach your business goals!
Many people don’t even have businesses and want to make money via social media. I’m telling you that social platforms are not independent entities. They are just tools to help you market your existing business and reach other customers.
You can think of social media as a strategic place (probably downtown) that has a lot of traffic passing by every day. You can’t just go there and expect to make money! You should have a business (and a good one) in order for you to get a share of that traffic so you can convert it to loyal customers.
These were the harsh realities social media marketing has taught me. What are yours?