What Not To Expect From Social Media

An article on What local business or SME's should not expect from social media

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Image Courtesy: perrylawrence.com

Expectations should be set right for every single thing and the same holds true for social media. Recently, at a conference where I was invited as a speaker to talk about social media marketing good practices in front of a bunch of people who had local businesses, my presentation was based on a simple thought that I completely abide to,

“Be human and share more on social media.”

During the Q&A session, one of the gentlemen asked me that you have focused your presentation on the aspect of sharing and building trust. However your focus should be on marketing and I have paid for this seminar to know how I can do marketing on social media and make money out of it. A valid question since today most of the people are jumping in with a distorted set of expectations. So I thought of sharing some of the common expectations being set by SME’s for social media.

1. That it is an easy job: Most of them till day consider that social media is child’s play since it involves social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. Social media is not at all an easy job since it requires engaging with humans. You can’t have a defined formula of engagement on social media since some fans may like something while others may just not be bothered. Besides this, social media is foremost a place for users and then comes the brand so it is not an easy job at all to engage. If you are still not convinced, go ask any agency guy and he will tell you how much sweat goes behind making people talk.

2. That it is free: I would like to quote Pradeep Chopra’s thought here, which he had shared at a conference,

“Social Media is free but social media marketing is not!”

No doubt some of the networks such as Facebook and Twitter are free to use but then are you not investing your time too? I suppose that is valuable.  So stop thinking social media as free but it won’t burn big holes in your pocket like traditional media still does with a lesser reach.

4. That it will get me leads from day one: This is a basic expectation and the most prominent one too. SME’s expect that from the moment they are on social media, they will make money or get leads. I would like to ask a simple question to these SME’s:

“People don’t know you, so why should they end up doing business with you?”

The idea should be that you gain trust first like you have done the same way offline which will then help you to add value or give a reason to them for being a part of your community. It is not an easy job as I’ve said before but then that is how you build your community organically.

5. That I can outsource it and forget about it: I would always recommend to go for an in-house team in the long run but if you want to hire an agency then don’t be relaxed thinking the agency will handle everything. It is your business and your responsible for your community so you would need to be involved. So stop expecting that a social media agency will do everything for you and start getting involved.

6. That it will save my bad product: Not at all! If you have a bad product then even social media can’t save you. Having the right product or service is the basic thing and if you don’t have it, then even the Ogilvy’s of the world can’ t help you. So stop expecting miracles from social media and get your product fixed first.

7. That I can ignore complaints: No! You can’t afford to ignore customer complaints the way you used to in traditional media. Social media is all out there and you are constantly being watched. Some time back Swati Bhattacharya had shared in an interview that,

“Social media is a double-edged sword and people can’t ignore complaints.”

If you do, then the reputation of your business is really in danger and you wouldn’t like that. So listen to your fans, resolve problems as soon as possible and  turn your fans into your brand champions. If you do so, these would not only make your fans happy but will lead to positive word of mouth.

8. That having only social media will work: Social media in itself is not enough for every business. Social media is a part of your entire marketing mix and if your business requires banner marketing or distribution of leaflets then do so. Social media is about online engagement and in India the state of online is not that handsome yet! So just don’t survive on social media, do a complete strategy and see what works for your business. Use social media rationally.

Have you come across any other grave expectations that SME’s are wishing from social media? Do share them with us.