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7 Myths About Social Media and How to Leverage it for Better Business Connections
You’ve probably heard from most of your business friends, or a random Facebook ad, how important social media is. Even though it’s almost become a “buzzword”, social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools your business can have. Since social distancing is the new way of doing business, many businesses are having to quickly pivot and focus on their online presence. Lots of businesses are trying to grow on social media, so it can feel crowded, complicated, and like a complete waste of time. Even worse, maybe you’ve tried a few tactics and it’s gotten you nowhere.
No doubt, there are many myths about social media. But when used strategically, it can be your business’s biggest cheerleader.
In this post, we’re breaking down 7 myths about social media and how you can leverage it to build better business connections.
Myth #1: Social Media is a Space to Only “Broadcast” (or Talk About) Yourself
Social media networks are just that...networks! And they’re all about interaction and building connections. Sometimes it seems like the simplest posts go “viral” (more on that in a bit) and it’s because tons of people want to like, comment, and share them. The proof is in the algorithm pudding — posts that get more interaction tend to rank higher.
This doesn’t mean you can’t talk about your business. Instead, let’s think of ways you can talk about your business within the context of connection. See if you can strike a balance. How can you help your ideal customer visualize your product or service in their lives? How will they know that they need your product or service? What are some ways you can ask questions that encourage them to like, comment, and share your business on social media? You want people to interact with your business.
Myth #2: You Should Follow Someone to Get Them to Follow You Back, Then Unfollow Them Once They Do
Y’all, this is not a good way to do business. You really want people to follow you, right? For many folks, whether they have personal or business profiles, they want the same thing. If you don’t plan on genuinely interacting with that person don’t follow them in the first place. This goes hand-in-hand with another social media myth — that you should keep the amount of people you follow low so that the amount of people following you looks higher.
Say what? Since social media is a two-way street, you can like and follow people the same way you hope they’ll like and follow you. Now, before you go following Taylor Swift (because it would be pretty amazing if she followed you back right?), keep in mind that you’ll be using social media differently as a business than you do personally. How many people you follow vs. who follows you is not a factor in social media algorithms. Especially while you’re growing your accounts, reach out to folks who are fellow business owners, potential customers or clients, and community organizations (like the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce!). Follow them back if they follow you first. If you find them instead, give them a follow, like a few of their posts, and leave them a heartfelt comment.
Myth #3: It’s Okay to Use Your Business Profiles Like You Do Your Personal Profiles
Adding to the previous myth, it’s so important to remember that you represent your business on social media. “Influencers”, or people who make a living off posting on social media, certainly make it seem like we can just be ourselves and get thousands of followers. While it’s advantageous to let your personality shine through in your business, you also want to keep in mind that what you post is public and it helps shape the way people think about you and your business.
If we keep in the back of our minds that social media for business is about networking, it makes it much easier to weigh out the things we post, what we share, and who we follow. For instance, you wouldn’t want to only hang out with people you know at AfterHours. You’d want to meet new people, get to know them, and learn more about their business. How can you help each other? Are they looking for a gift for their friend’s birthday? You might offer a discount code if they pop in your store. Are they new to the area and looking for a good coffee shop? You might tell them to mention they met you at an event and the first cup is on the house.
The same principle applies to social media. What are ways you can translate the vibe of networking in-person to a digital space?
Myth #4: DM’ing (Sending Someone a Private Message) is Not Okay
Which brings us to myth #4. Sending someone a private message is absolutely okay, and it’s an excellent way to build one-on-one connection. As a business, private messaging (or “DM’ing”) gives you space to set yourself apart from your competition by personally reaching out.
Private messaging is a great way to interact with your current followers, as well as accounts that have recently followed you. As you’re growing, you can send a quick “thank you” message and let followers know what to expect from you. You can also add a DM “sticker” to your Instagram and Facebook Stories (and, when someone responds to your Story posts, you’ll get a private message from them!) and ask folks to private message you in your posts. Followers tend to send quick questions where they’re already hanging out online because messaging is more convenient than an email or phone call.
But, before you go messaging, remember this — lead with them first. Because you can send links through private messaging, it’s a great opportunity to offer a discount code to your store, share an upcoming event, or see if they’d like to book a call for your services. But if you spam followers with messages about how awesome you are, they might feel like following you wasn’t such a good idea. When you acknowledge them first, they’re much more likely to be receptive.
Myth #5: You Have to Post Several Times a Day
Different platforms lend themselves to different post “lifetime values”, meaning the amount of time a post is likely to circulate on a platform before it’s replaced by newer content. For several platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, the lifetime value of posts is several hours up to several days. Especially with new features like Instagram’s Reels, posts can gain traction for up to a week.
The bottom line — you don’t have to post several times a day. In fact, you don’t even have to be on every platform (as an example, our business doesn’t use Twitter or TikTok). What matters more is that you post consistently. Using “Insights” (follower analytics) you can see when the best times and days are to post, as well as what content your followers interact with more. This information, paired with a consistent schedule you’re able to manage, can guide your social media strategy.
Myth #6: Social Media Won’t Cost You Anything
While having a profile on most social media platforms is completely free, growth is going to cost you both time and money. Going back to our analogy of in-person networking — when you’re headed to AfterHours (before COVID-19) you probably made sure you had business cards on hand, maybe a few flyers for folks who might be a good fit for your services or products, and probably practiced your “elevator pitch” (or how you were going to introduce your business). On-ground networking costs time and money, and so does social media networking.
But it’s not all doom and gloom, friend. The time you put into social media certainly has a return on investment and, when you get a solid advertising strategy in place, pay-per-click (PPC) ads can be an affordable and effective marketing channel for your business.
Myth #7: My Customers Don’t Use Social Media
We’ve even believed this myth ourselves! Since social distancing came into effect, Facebook, Inc. (who owns Facebook and Instagram) has reported an increase of 40% in users on their platform. In 2019, over 2.3 billion people were active on social media (via statista.com). There’s a high chance your customers are out there, and it’s likely they’re on multiple platforms.
This goes hand-in-hand with another myth we mentioned earlier — that you have to be on every social media platform. Nope, definitely not. In fact, trying to manage several profiles will spread your business too thin and you won’t be able to be consistent on any of them. Where you should focus your energy is a combination of where your ideal customers (the people you want to do business with) are hanging out online + what you’re able to do on the platform + what content you’re comfortable with and have time to create. If you’re not excited about getting in front of a camera, it may be difficult to build leverage on Instagram and Facebook. If editing audio clips isn’t your thing, a podcast may be difficult to get done.
Bonus Myth: Going “Viral” Will Solve All of My Social Media Woes
Going “viral” means that a post (video, picture, or other media content) has been liked, shared, and talked about hundreds of thousands of times. Anyone who posts on social media has the possibility of going viral but, because this phenomenon is a bit like winning the lottery, it’s difficult to factor it into an actual social media strategy.
Viral content certainly puts you on the map in terms of how many people see what you’re posting so, if it’s something you’re aiming for, just keep myth #3 in mind. Otherwise, posting consistently and networking (interacting) with your followers will help you find raving fans regardless.
So how can you leverage social media to build better business connections?
Network, network, network. Social media provides us the opportunity to peel back the curtain and share our process, our values, our expertise, and our personality. In other words, the human side of our businesses. And that’s what builds authentic relationships.
We hope you’ll join us as we dive deeper into leveraging your social media this Wednesday, 9/23, at 11:00 a.m. (EST) LIVE on our Facebook page. We’ll be covering ways you can use a few strategies we’ve discussed in this post, along with giving away some of our message templates, and we’re kicking off a campaign to support local businesses through social media throughout October!
This article is written by Cassandra Hendrix, Founder and Creative Director of Base Note Labs. She works with her partner, David, to help businesses launch and grow online with stunning websites and easy tech solutions. Born and raised in Cherokee County, Cassandra and David are passionate about partnering with local organizations to help local businesses thrive. Base Note Labs works with Kathryn Jenkins at Tri-County Community College’s SBC, providing consulting services and free business workshops. For more information, get in touch with Kathryn at (828) 835-9564.
About Base Note Labs
Born in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina, Base Note Labs (formerly The Counter Collective) approaches web design, development, and digital marketing in true southern fashion -- putting your customer first.
By designing with the user experience in mind, from building a landing webpage to analyzing a Google advertising campaign, we ensure your web presence is crafted for conversion. Contact us at (323) 400-5320 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free 30-minute consultation today!