Much of what we’ve come to believe about social media and content marketing is wrong. They are myths. Time to crush them. I crushed them originally a few weeks ago on a webinar for the Content Marketing Institute:
Myth 1: My customers are not social
2013 data from the Pew Internet project finds 72% of American adults who are online use social networking sites. (note: 85% of American adults are online). Even among Americans 65 years old and better, 43% of them use social. To further put this into context, about 70% of American households had satellite or cable television, circa 2011. So, is it possible that YOUR customers aren’t using social? Conceivably, yes. But even if they aren’t yet using social for business, chances are they are using social in some capacity.
Myth 2: Social is not measurable
Social is extremely measurable, but first you have to do something that can be measured. Tracking URLs, visibility into your purchase funnel, unified customer databases. All of it can answer that “are we making money at this?” question, but too often people expect there to be a magic “social media measurement” button, even though there is no such button for radio, TV, email, direct mail, billboards, or fancy business cards.
Myth 3: Social is for creating new customers
Most of the people with whom you are communicating in social are your current customers. Research from DDB found that 84% of the fans of company Facebook pages are – on average – current or former customers of the brand. Of course they are. We “like” what we actually like. Recognize that in social you are primarily preaching to the choir. And to me, that makes social primarily a loyalty and retention play, not a straight customer acquisition play.
Myth 4: You should ignore negative feedback
Social media is a spectator sport. It’s not about making the upset customer happy (although that would be nice) – it’s about making sure your brand is on record as listening and caring, because thousands of other customers/prospects are looking on with a bowl of popcorn in their laps. Answer every comment – positive or negative – and do it FAST.
Myth 5: Social will kill email
I’m so tired of the “(blank) is dead” red herring, and this one is perhaps the silliest of them all. Given that you must have an email to sign up for any social network, it’s tough to see a scenario by which email vanishes. Further, given that social is mostly a loyalty play, that puts social in the same strategic camp as email. Both are used to keep your brand top-of-mind among people who have given you permission to do so. Email and social are complementary tactics, not oppositional ones.
Myth 6: Company channels are your most important social assets
Simply not true. Social success is about people, not logos. If you add up the number of social connections of your employees, they almost always vastly exceed the connections for your official company accounts. Activating your employees and decentralizing social media is the next phase of success. Easy-to-use software like Addvocate helps companies manage this process.
Myth 7: Content creates thought leadership
Not necessarily. It’s okay – recommended, even – to have content that is high effort and polished (thought leadership), AND content that is lower effort and less polished, but addresses specific questions of your customers/prospects. This lower effort content is often created by your employees and your customers, themselves. My friends at Compendium very much empower this type of program – great content marketing software (FYI, I am moving all of my blogs to Compendium soon)
Myth 8: Content marketing and social media are separate initiatives
Content is fire. Social media is gasoline. Use social to drive awareness of your content more so than awareness of your company. Like social and email, content and social should be working VERY closely together.
Myth 9: Your content marketing should be about your products and services
Is a brochure “content marketing?” Is your content marketing just a repackaged brochure? I believe that if your content doesn’t have intrinsic value – if it can’t stand alone as something people actually WANT, you’re not thinking hard enough. Give yourself permission to make the story bigger, and create content marketing that is related to your business, but isn’t 100% ABOUT your business.
Myth 10: Too much content will give away your secrets
A list of ingredients doesn’t make someone a chef. (tweet this)
Myth 11: The rules are different in B2B
Arrggh. This one always annoys me. Yes, the purchase funnel and some of the tactics are different in B2B. But the strategic thrust of content (help, inform) and social (help, humanize) are the same regardless of what you’re selling. Further, every B2B customer is also a B2C customer, and the marketing playbooks of the B2C companies are changing the expectations of B2B buyers. If you think you can take a pass on this stuff because “we’re B2B” you’re in real trouble.
What are your myths?
What did I miss? Drop a comment, and the ones I really like will get a special, limited-edition Youtility T-shirt.