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November 2013

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By Sallie Burnett

Social media is the brave new world of marketing that is in a constant state of change and growth, so when we try to wrap our heads around it, it can be easy to fall into the trap of the generalizations overheard during cocktail party banter. Here, we take a look at the all-too-common myths about social media and let you in on the straight scoop.

Myth #1: Social Media Is Free
Yes. Setting up a Facebook page, Twitter account, Pinterest presence or just about any other popular social media account is completely free. And you can post and tweet to your heart's content without every paying a dime. But as soon as you acknowledge that your social media efforts should be in tune with all your other marketing efforts, then you will quickly see that in order to make social media effective for you, it is going to take plenty of time and money before you will see a return on your investment. After all, the nature of social media is that it takes time to build, shape and ultimately grow.

Myth #2: Social Media Doesn't Require a Plan; Just Be Social
Think again. This is no Miss Congeniality contest. Just like all your marketing efforts, you need to take time to understand your audience, find the best way to add value to your relationship through whatever social media tool you're integrating, and most important, be sure that your efforts ultimately track back to your overall strategy and business objectives. Have the end in sight before you begin.

Myth #3: Tweet About What You Ate for Lunch
Tweet about some inside scoop, a special event, a new product line, a new addition to your staff or some exciting company news, but leave the boring personal stuff, like what you had for lunch, out of the mix. Remember who your customer is and what will matter to them and let that drive your content regardless of which social media tool you're using.

Myth #4: Your Audience Is Not Social
Resist the urge to think that only those under the age of 25 are on social media. It simply isn't true. With over 1.11 billion people now on Facebook and over 554 million on Twitter and 70 million users on the fast-growing Pinterest site, chances are there is a slice of the social media pie just waiting for you to connect with them.

Myth #5: The Corner Office Will Never Buy Into Social Media
This may be true if you're talking to them like how a teenager raves about the coolest new gadget they just have to have. Start winning their buy-in by talking their language - hard numbers. Show them the data that translates likes, repins and tweets into reach, awareness and engagement. Then, make a direct correlation between social media and the company's business goals, and you'll have those execs ready to give you the green light in no time.

Common Social Media Myths Busted!
Now, Where Do You Start?
So now that you've rid yourself of any urban legends about social media, how do you know which social media channel is the right one for your objectives? Here's a guideline to help you get started.

Face it. Say the words “social media” and some people will think you're only talking about Facebook. It's one of the most relevant and widespread platforms for social networking today. With over 1.11 billion users worldwide, it has become an acceptable place for consumers to connect with the brands they love. Did you know that the value of a Facebook Fan to major consumer brands has increased an average of 28% to $174 since 2010, according to the 2013 study from Syncapse? On average, three quarters of fans are likely to share good brand experiences and share promotions and discounts with their Facebook friends. Plus, over 76% of Facebook users login at least once a day. In fact, if improving your brand awareness is on your to-do list, then Facebook better be on there too. It can make your company more visible to your fans, and the friends of those fans. Another plus, the Facebook insights tool where companies can view reports detailing new fans, numbers of interaction and types of actions taken on their pages. So, if numbers help you get your head around social media, then this can be just the thing.

Clocking in at just over 200 million active users, Twitter may have fewer active users than Facebook, but it has a distinctly unique audience that is tuned in and worthy of tapping. Those who tweet are interested in what's happening right this second. The average brand tweets 4.422 times per day. Those that tweet more frequently catch readers at different times of day and gain more followers. Make keywords a habit in your tweets to send a consistent signal that tells others who you are, how you want to connect with them and what you want to talk about. So Twitter can be a great way to promote products, services, free giveaways, contests, guest appearances and anything that feels newsworthy about your business. Every tweet or interaction allows you to further shape your customers' perception of your brand whether you are based in B2B or B2C business.

It seems like Pinterest has grown overnight into the third largest social media site out there. It's adored predominantly by women and has proven to be a solid traffic driver for retailers providing more referral traffic than Google+, You Tube and LinkedIn combined. In fact, a Wayfair study showed that shoppers referred by Pinterest are 10% more likely to make a purchase than visitors who arrive from other social networks, including Facebook and Twitter. They'll also spend 10% more on average. If your brand has a visual story to tell (and all of you do), then by all means go straight to Pinterest and start creating boards and pinning your best photos and videos. Most importantly, be relevant! Create boards and pin items that appeal to every segment of your customer base. This is your opportunity to speak to all your audience segments. To attract new followers and keep them engaged, provide new content regularly. Create a new board or pin to an existing board at least once a day, seven days a week. Your Pinterest presence can engage customers (try a photo contest that encourages your customers to submit photos with your product), support your branding and drive traffic to your site.

You Tube
YouTube is considered the second most used search engine following Google. That's right, we said, “search engine”. Site visitors search for videos and spend a relatively long time on the site (an average of 23 minutes). So if you have videos already featured on your website or blog, then it's easy to start your own channel, tag it with your most important keywords, then let this search engine bring prospects and customers to you. The_average length of a YouTube video is less than 4 minutes. Telling a story in one or two minutes will help ensure that the entire message gets viewed. If you are of a certain age, you will most likely remember the Dijon mustard brand Grey Poupon for their advertisements branding the mustard as the luxury condiment. Images of a butler and a limousine were synonymous with Grey Poupon. Don't let your video become a hit without providing branding on who you are and how people can get in touch. Include a call to action in your video. Monitor how often your videos are seen, then start crafting a plan for future video that would support your overall business objectives.

Highly considered the first social media stop for B2B, LinkedIn is the virtual water cooler for professionals. Here is the channel for you to network, test industry waters, make connections with colleagues, recruit staff, join like-minded groups and flush out sales leads. Encourage your employees to follow your page, email your existing contact database with a request that they follow your page, place a Follow button on your website or blog, and cross-promote your page on other social channels, including LinkedIn Groups, Twitter, etc. Optimizing your LinkedIn company page content is a good bet. To improve the page's searchability, embed the right keywords-the ones your customers are most likely to use-naturally. LinkedIn Insights also form an important part of developing your business page. These insights are exhaustive in nature and provide you with a thorough breakdown of impressions per post, user engagement, follower demographics, and so on.

This is an easy first step for those who haven't dipped their toe in the social media waters yet. Add a blog to your current website and use it to build your brand awareness, show your brand's personality, connect with consumers in a real and genuine way, and showcase your expertise and knowledge in your field. The content is fueled by you and can then be integrated into your other channels, like Facebook posts, Twitter streams, etc. Don't think this should just be a regurgitation of your latest brochure. This should have a tone and focus that makes readers feel that they're sitting across the table from you over coffee. Also make sure your blog and blog titles include keywords that people enter into search engines. This will attract new organic traffic to your site. Also post on a regular schedule. Companies that publish more than four posts a month see more traffic and get better results.

Sallie Burnett, president of Customer Insight Group, Inc., created an innovative, specialized approach to power social media marketing for business. Companies choose Customer Insight Group because, as one of Colorado's first social media agencies, we know how to turn business objectives into realities in creative, strategic and measurable ways. Explore how Customer Insight Group can help you increase sales and build profitable customer relationships by visiting or by calling 303-422-9758 today.

Sallie Burnett, president of Customer Insight Group, Inc., created an innovative, specialized approach to power social media marketing for business. Companies choose Customer Insight Group because, as one of Colorado's first social media agencies, we know how to turn business objectives into realities in creative, strategic and measurable ways. Explore how Customer Insight Group can help you increase sales and build profitable customer relationships by visiting or by calling
303-422-9758 today.

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