12 Social Media Marketing Myths

For brands, resistance to social media is futile. Millions of people create content for the social Web on a daily basis. Your customers have been using it for a long time. Your competitors have embraced it. If your business isn’t putting itself out there, it should be.

But there are some recurring fallacies and misconceptions out there. Many companies are finding that these tools don’t live up to the hype, especially small businesses. There are a lot of challenges that aren’t immediately apparent. Are you considering Twitter, Facebook, et al as part of your marketing plan? Before you jump in, keep these myths in mind:

  1. Social media is cheap or free. Yes, many social media tools are free to use, including Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, the social network building tool Ning, and content aggregators like StumbleUpon and Digg. There are many free blogging tools, too, like WordPress, Blogger, FriendFeed, and Twitter. But incorporating them into a corporate marketing program requires time, skill, and money.
  2. You can make a big splash really quickly. Sure, sometimes this happens. Social media is great if you’re already a star, but there really isn’t any such thing as an overnight sensation. For example, tweets can drive traffic to articles, Web sites, Facebook pages, contests, apps, videos, etc. — this is easier if your audience already cares about your brand or if you have a truly original product or idea that excites people to the extent that they want to share with their friends. But it takes a lot of time and dedication to keep your content fresh.
  3. You need to be on all the big sites. Most brands that have succeeded with social media sites generally focus on just a few of them. Just because the media says it’s cool to tweet doesn’t mean it has anything to do with your business. If you plan to frequent social networks, don’t spread yourself too thin. The companies that choose their weapons wisely and give it their all are the ones that succeed in the social space.
  4. If you create something that’s great, people will find it. How’s that supposed to happen? Unless you can drive traffic to your social media effort, it’s akin to a tree falling in the woods with no one around to hear it. Many tools can drive traffic, including Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon, blogs, and SEO, but word of mouth trumps them all  — one friend telling another, “Hey, check this out!” is very powerful.
  5. It’s for kids. Contrary to the perception that social media is for tweens, teens, and 20-somethings, older demographics are rapidly evolving into this space. According to analysis by iStrategyLabs, Facebook experienced 276% growth in users aged 35-54 in 2009 and is its fastest growing segment.
  6. You can’t build quality relationships online. The thinking on this goes that it’s a waste of time connect with people online that you don’t know in real life — that it’s a pointless exercise that doesn’t lead to lasting relationships with your brand. It’s actually quite the opposite: Social media enables you to be face to face with your target audience. Even if they don’t turn into paying customers, you still gain valuable insight into what they think and what they react to.
  7. It gives away content and ideas you should be charging for. Simply put: The more you give, the more you receive in social media. You need to let go of the idea that all the content you produce is is proprietary, engage with your audience, and encourage them to share what you’ve created.
  8. It’s a fad. The drumbeat about social media has become deafening. Yet many marketers remain skeptical, hesitating to expand budgets and expend resources on a craze. But social media is a fundamental shift in communication — it isn’t just a new set of tools, but a new sphere of networking, communicating, living, and organizing. It has become intertwined in our lifestyles, so it’s here to stay.
  9. Anyone can do it. It sure sounds that way, doesn’t it? There are a lot of people, from whiz kids to more experienced marketers, who claim to be social media experts. Some even portray themselves as gurus. But how many of them have created successful social media initiatives for clients? To be effective, a campaign must integrate social elements into all aspects of marketing, including advertising, digital, and PR. Theory is no match for experience, and the best social media marketers now have years of experience incorporating interactivity, forums, viral video, apps, social networks, blogs, user-generated content, and contests into the marketing mix.
  10. It’s a cure-all. While social media is a great tool for online reputation management, it’s not a panacea. Don’t get so wrapped up in the concept of of the social Web that you ignore the other problems with your marketing strategy. Social media is another in a long list of tools you should leverage for brand messaging.
  11. You can do it all in-house. You need strategy, tools, contacts, and experience — a mixture not usually found in in-house teams, who are often tempted to use the wrong tools or to reinvent the wheel… which leads to (you guessed it) lousy results. How many in-house teams have the expertise to conceive and implement a social media campaign AND drive traffic to it via blog advertising, SEO, Twitter, etc.?
  12. Social marketing results can’t be measured. There are a variety of methods and tools you can use for this; I’ve covered some of them here and here, and more become available every day. You can monitor blog comments, mentions in the media, traffic stats, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, comments on your content, real-time blog advertising results, click-throughs to your Web site. The tools are out there, and the number of people who know how to aggregate and interpret the data is growing.

What other myths are out there about social media? What lessons have you learned as you’ve tried to get your arms around social engagement as a marketing tool?


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40 Social Media Blogs You Should Be Reading

If you’re reading this blog (thank you!), you probably agree that social media is valuable. But given how quickly the landscape is changing, keeping up to date with the latest trends can be a challenge. With new content being posted constantly around the Web, trying to stay current can be a full-time job.

These are some great daily reads for keeping abreast of social media and social marketing. I’d recommend picking a few, browsing through the archives, and subscribing to the ones you find helpful. Some offer advice about how to leverage social media to your advantage, while others keep you current on the latest trends. I’ve included an excerpt from each blog’s About page to give you some idea about what each one covers. Here they are, listed alphabetically:

  1. 10e20: 10e20 is a New York-based Internet marketing company specializing in social media marketing and search engine optimization. Founded in 2002 in Brooklyn, NY by Chris Winfield and Danielle Lanzillo, they have since grown into a boutique Internet marketing powerhouse focused on increasing their clients’ sales and decreasing their customer service costs.
  2. a thousand cuts: Adam Cohen is a partner at the digital agency Rosetta, leading the Search, Online and Social Media business units. Adam has over 14 years of experience leveraging technology to drive and sustain business value for clients. He blogs about a broad range of ideas, including but not limited to interactive marketing, social media, team building, and other topics that are relevant to how businesses are leveraging technology to drive and sustain value.
  3. All Facebook: AllFacebook.com is a blog that was started by Nick O’Neill. The purpose of the blog is to cover all issues pertaining to Facebook including new applications, general news, and analysis about the future of Facebook.
  4. Altitude Branding: Amber Naslund is a social media and marketing type, and exercises her social media chops daily as the Director of Community for Radian6. She blogs here about social media and marketing stuff for businesses of all sizes.
  5. Blonde 2.0: Ayelet Noff has over ten years of experience marketing companies from various industries and specializes in marketing hi-tech brands. She founded Blonde 2.0 in 2006, back when almost no one knew what social media even meant. Blonde 2.0’s mission then and now is to help brands understand how to use social media tools (social networks, the blogosphere, social software, etc.) effectively in order to carry their messages to their target audience and create brand awareness, find users, recruit employees, or achieve any other goal online.
  6. Chris Brogan: Chris Brogan is President of New Marketing Labs, a new media marketing agency, and home of the Inbound Marketing Summit conferences and Inbound Marketing Bootcamp educational events. He works with large and mid-sized companies to improve online business communications like marketing and PR through the use of social software, community platforms, and other emerging Web and mobile technologies. He is co-author of the excellent book Trust Agents.
  7. Chris G: Chrisg.com is where Chris Garrett posts daily (or thereabouts) thoughts and advice on the business of new media, blogging, and online marketing. The aim is to teach you ways you can create compelling resources, provide your audience more value, build trust and loyalty, and generate more rewards for yourself.
  8. Collective Thoughts: Each member of Collective Thoughts is a known or rising star in their own field and they also have a passion and unique understanding on social media.
  9. Conversation Agent: Valeria Maltoni is a professional marketer with 20 years of real-world corporate experience, 10 online, across a broad array of mid-to-large sized companies. Hands-on work at a Fortune 500 technology company, a technology start-up, in health care, chemical manufacturing, risk management consulting, and the non-profit sector have provided her with a wealth of experience and insights.
  10. Danny Brown: Danny Brown has been providing business branding and social media consultancy services to the consumer and commercial markets, from small start-ups to Fortune 500 businesses, for more than 15 years and is the Social Media Strategist for Maritz Canada.
  11. Dan Zarrella: Dan Zarrella is an award-winning social, search, and viral mar­ket­ing sci­en­tist and author of the new O’Reilly Media book The Social Media Marketing Book. He has a back­ground in Web devel­op­ment and com­bines his pro­gram­ming capa­bil­i­ties with a pas­sion for social mar­ket­ing to cre­ate appli­ca­tions like the social URL shortener Votrs.com, Link Attraction Factors keyword tools, as well as TweetPsych, TwitterBrandSponsors, TweetBacks, and TweetSuite.
  12. Digital Buzz: Featuring the latest digital ad campaigns, hot new Web sites, interactive marketing ideas, virals, industry news, social media, insights, and other great digital trends from all over the world.
  13. Dosh Dosh: Dosh Dosh is a blog offering Internet marketing and blogging tips, alongside social media strategies. Best consumed by bloggers, entrepreneurs, Web publishers, marketers, freelancers and small business owners.
  14. Groundswell: Two of Forrester Research’s top analysts show you how to turn the force of customers connecting online to your own advantage. Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff show how leading companies are gaining insights, generating revenues, saving money, and energizing their own customers.
  15. Influential Marketing Blog: Rohit Bhargavais a founding member of the pioneering 360 Digital Influence team at Ogilvy and author of the award winning new marketing book, Personality Not Included. He writes the Influential Marketing blog and teaches marketing at Georgetown University.
  16. Inside Facebook: Inside Facebook is an independent service of Inside Network, the first company dedicated to providing business information and market research to the Facebook platform and social gaming ecosystem. Based in Palo Alto, California, Inside Facebook focuses on Facebook and the Facebook Platform for developers and marketers. Inside Facebook was started by Justin Smith in April 2006.
  17. Instigator Blog: Benjamin Yoskovitz is the CEO and co-Founder of Standout Jobs, a venture-backed startup founded in 2007. He is also a blog and social media consultant. This blog is where he expresses his thoughts on startups, entrepreneurship, and business, as well as diving into social media, blogging, and online communities.
  18. Liz Strauss at Successful Blog: Liz Strauss is a social Web strategist and community builder. Coming from a background of publishing, business, and instructional design, Liz understands how people perceive a blog, a product, and an experience — how the head and heart engage to make a fiercely loyal customer.
  19. Mashable: Founded in July 2005, Mashable is the world’s largest blog focused exclusively on Web 2.0 and social media news. With more than 12.5 million monthly pageviews, Mashable is the most prolific blog reviewing new Web sites and services, publishing breaking news on what’s new on the Web, and offering social media resources and guides.
  20. Neville Hobson: Neville Hobson is a communicator, blogger, and podcaster, one of the leading European early adopters and influencers in social media communication for business. He is Head of Social Media Europe for WeissComm Group, an integrated communications company focused on the marketing and communication needs of the world’s leading businesses.
  21. NowSourcing: Brian Wallace built NowSourcing to cater to your social media needs. You’ll tend to find original content relevant to social media here, not just another top 10 list.
  22. Online Marketing Blog: Since December 2003, TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog has provided insights, resources and commentary on a range of digital marketing and public relations topics including search engine marketing and optimization, social media marketing, business blogging and marketing, and online public relations.
  23. PR 2.0: Brian Solis is Principal of FutureWorks, an award-winning PR and New Media agency in Silicon Valley. Solis is globally recognized for his views and insights on the convergence of PR, traditional media, and social media. Considered one of the original thought leaders who paved the way for Social Media and PR 2.0, Solis is co-founder of the Social Media Club.
  24. ReadWriteWeb: ReadWriteWeb is a blog that provides analysis of Web products and trends. One of the world’s top 20 blogs, ReadWriteWeb speaks to an intelligent audience of Web enthusiasts, early adopters and innovators. ReadWriteWeb was founded on April 20, 2003 by Richard MacManus and is now one of the most widely read and respected blogs in the world.
  25. RotorBlog: RotorBlog.com was founded in May 2006 by Maris Dagis in order to provide latest Web 2.0 news and startup reviews, later focusing on social networks and online communications. Reaching 160k readers monthly, it has became one of the most popular sources of information for people using the Internet to communicate.
  26. Scott Monty- The Social Media Marketing Blog: Scott is a marketing and communications professional focused on the digital industry — specifically on social media. His career spans a number of industries such as healthcare, pharma, biotech, travel, automotive, tech, and communications, and includes a wide range of clients, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. Currently on the staff of corporate communications in Ford Motor Company, Scott heads up the social media function and holds the title Global Digital & Multimedia Communications Manager.
  27. Shannon Paul’s Very Official Blog: Shannon Paul works as the communications manager for PEAK6 Online, parent company of OptionsHouse.com, OptionsNewsNetwork (ONN.tv), and WeSeed.com. She oversees the integration of social media communication into PR and marketing strategies for the company’s three brands, including an online retail stock and options broker, a Web-based options news and education site, and an online community that allows people to learn about the stock market through investing in virtual stock portfolios.
  28. Six Pixels of Separation: Mitch Joel is President of Twist Image, an award-winning digital marketing and communications agency, and author of the excellent book Six Pixels of Separation. He has been called a marketing and communications visionary, interactive expert, and community leader. He is also a blogger, podcaster, passionate entrepreneur, and speaker who connects with people worldwide by sharing his marketing insights on digital marketing and personal branding.
  29. Socialmedia.biz: This blog was created for two related reasons: To help busi­nesses and orga­ni­za­tions achieve max­i­mum impact with their social media strat­egy or campaigns, and to high­light news, trends, tools, and resources around social media, social net­works and Web 2.0.
  30. Social Media Examiner: Social Media Examiner is a free online magazine designed to help businesses discover how to best use social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to find leads, increase sales, and generate more brand awareness.
  31. Social Media Explorer: Social Media Explorer is the online home and blog of Social Media Explorer LLC, of which Jason Falls serves as principal. Falls has established himself as one of the leading thinkers in the social media, public relations and communications industries.
  32. Social Media Today: Social Media Today LLC helps large companies leverage the enormous power of social media to build deeper relationships with potential customers and other constituencies that influence the development of new business.
  33. Social Times: Founded by Nick O’Neill, The Social Times vision is “learning the skills and tools necessary to help businesses and individuals build social capital.” He is an industry expert on social networking, providing no holds barred commentary and insightful analysis on social networking and social media. He speaks at conferences nationwide and has been written about in multiple national publications.
  34. Soshable: People, in general, are social (or soshal, depending on how you spell it).  We like to interact with others, especially those who have shared interests. Whether in person, on the Internet, or both, human connections make us feel whole. By tapping into the minds and resources of some of the brightest stars and most knowledgeable people in the business, Soshable presents the social Internet on a golden platter for everyone to enjoy.
  35. Techipedia: Tamar Weinberg is a freelance writer and author of The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web who specializes in social media consulting and strategy, blogger outreach, reputation management, and search engine marketing (SEO, link building, and pay per click marketing).
  36. The Future Buzz: The Future Buzz is a blog about Web marketing/PR strategies, spreading buzz in the blogosphere, and building long-term visibility for your brand, business, and art on the Web.
  37. The Social: CNET News’ Caroline McCarthy is a downtown Manhattanite who believes that, despite popular opinion, the Web can actually help your social life. She’s happily addicted to fun social-media tools from Twitter to Yelp to Facebook, sends an inordinate number of text messages, and has a tendency to waste time at the office reading restaurant blogs. Here, she explores all facets of the Web’s gregarious side, as well as the unique tech culture in her home city of New York. (Don’t call it Silicon Alley.)
  38. The Viral Garden: Mack Collier is a social media consultant, trainer and speaker. He has been actively immersed in social media since 2005, and in that time has helped advise, teach and consult with businesses of all shapes and sizes on how they can better connect with their customers via these amazing tools and sites.
  39. Twitip: Darren Rowse is the guy behind ProBlogger and Digital Photography School. His TwiTip blog is all about Twitter. It covers Twitter tips of all varieties including writing for Twitter, branding, growing a following, corporate tweeting and a lot more.
  40. Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang: As a Web strategist, Jeremiah Owyang strives to define and deliver user and community needs, business goals, and Web technology to craft and deliver long term successful Web programs for companies.

Is something missing? Want to share your favorite blogs for staying on top of social media? Please leave a comment!

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Ford Motor’s Scott Monty on Big Brands and Social Media

A hot topic at recent industry events has been the question of big brands and how they can use social media. Ford Motor Company is one brand, however, that has not let that question become an obstacle. WebProNews spoke with Scott Monty, the Head of Social Media at Ford, who explained how the company first became involved with social media just a few years ago. Their efforts began as a hobby, but he helped them develop an approach to incorporate social into their overall business strategy.

(Via WebProNews)

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Saturday Social Marketing Round-Up

Here are some great stories from this week about social marketing:

Integrating Social Media Into Marketing (Social Media B2B)
A big reason that we hear a lot about the shift to social media is that organizations are looking to reduce their marketing costs. Yes, leveraging social media can be far less expensive then a large scale print advertising campaign.

Marketing Generation Gap Threatens B2B Survival (Words Sell)
When marketing ideas that elude b2b leadership are patently obvious to young adults with zero training in marketing – you’ve got yourself a real problem. You’ve got a disconnect between what buyers want and what sellers think buyers want. Or, more precisely, you’ve got a disconnect between what buyers want and what sellers think they themselves want when they’re buying.

Why Are Marketers So Bad At Measuring Social Media? (And How Can They Get Better?) (Forrester Blog for Interactive Marketing Professionals)
The fact is, social media marketers are drowning in a sea of metrics. Every social platform and vendor offers its own metrics, and there are literally hundreds of ways to measure the success of social initiatives. With so many numbers to choose from, and so little insight into which metrics are important, it’s not surprising that marketers feel overwhelmed.

Ten Things Social Media Can’t Do (Advertising Age)
Amid the endless pronouncements about social media — often shortened to “social” these days by consultants trying to sound like they know what they are talking about — is the reality that social media is not a solution, or a sure bet.

How Twitter and Social Marketing Will Save the Movies (Jim Louderback)
Social media marketing was behind the biggest movie you’ve never heard of, the amazing Paranormal Activity, which took in $22 million last weekend, making it the highest grossing flick of the week, nearly double its closest competitor.

Best of 2009 (So Far): Social Media Marketing, Part 2 (MyVenturePad)
Social media, and discussions of its value for PR and marketing, have become ubiquitous. But which social media tool do marketers find most valuable?

Marketing in social media not off-putting to users (BizReport)
More research has added weight to the assertion that social network users are receptive to brand marketing messages in their various social environments and are happy to recommend products or services themselves.

10 Essential Social Media Blogs You Should Definitely Bookmark (Inspired Mag)
The social blog scene is getting pretty crowded these days and we cannot just stand here without releasing a new list. So give it up for the coolest social media & social marketing blogs out there.

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Lufthansa’s MySkyStatus Combines Social Media, Flight Tracking

Flight trackers have been around for a long time, but they haven’t worked very well with social media. Dopplr and TripIt have the ability to connect with your social profiles, but not in real time.

Enter Lufthansa:

myskystatus

The branded MySkyStatus application automatically posts periodic departure, arrival, and en route flight info as status updates to users’ Facebook and Twitter streams. An accompanying link enables users to continue tracking the flight’s progress. And it doesn’t just work for Lufthansa flights — the list of participating carriers is exhaustive. The service mimics what people are doing already — tweeting when they arrive — but has the added advantages of being more accurate and working while you’re in the air with no Internet connectivity.

myskystatusupdates

MySkyStatus is similar to the German site FlightMemory, which launched earlier this year and also updates Twitter when your flight departs or arrives.

The days of proprietary brand experiences are over. Brands today need to contribute to people’s lives in a useful way and not limit their outreach to brand-only engagement. In offering this service, Lufthansa has demonstrated a good execution of social media strategy:

  • MySkyStatus is easy to use
  • Customers receive something of value with minimal effort
  • Because it’s valuable, users naturally want to share it with others
  • It works just as well with Lufthansa’s competitors’ services as with its own
  • It gives users choices about what/how much information they want to share
  • It communicates up front what customers will gain even before they engage with the application

Way to go! It will be interesting to see the next moves from Dopplr and TripIt.

Related articles:


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Saturday Social Marketing Round-Up

Here are some must-see posts about social marketing for your weekend reading pleasure:

234 social media marketing examples
Image by Pete Kim via Flickr

Do you make these Top 11 mistakes with your social media?
Social media can be seriously profitable for your business. “It’s the secret low cost marketing weapon used by the leading entrepreneurs. But, it can go horribly wrong if you make these mistakes…” explains today’s 30 Days of Social Media contributor, Meredith Collins. She identifies 11 mistakes that you don’t want to make.

Social media marketing: In search of an opt-out
Lines are being drawn between email and social media marketing, but not all elements have obvious correlations. Here’s why the unsubscribe doesn’t directly translate to social media.

Social Marketing Is Rooted In The Brand
Your brand is something that lives in the hearts and minds of people out there, and in that sense social marketing is the purest expression of branding.

Utilizing Social Media for Exposing Your Business Website
Social media is a wonderful way for business owners who already have great content on their websites to expand their reach further with marketing their products.

A quick check-up for your social media marketing plan
This little quiz (which you technically can’t fail as we have not devised a scoring system for it—yet) should help you identify the areas where your organization/team is strongest and weakest with respect to social marketing.

Introducing Google Social Search
Google Social Search plugs into your Twitter and FriendFeed accounts and sifts through content based on what people have been talking about. This seems like another function that’s moving you closer to Google Wave, with everything happening seamlessly in one window of information.

Google Social Search Introduces New Opportunities Within SEO
Google has launched a new experimental feature in Google Labs that searches your social circle in addition to your regular Google search results.

Is Social Media Marketing a New Requirement of SEO?
Here’s an interesting question worth a minute of pondering for any SEO practitioner: “[I]s it now a necessity for an SEO to have practical social media skills?”

Strategies: Which social networking site is best for your small business?
In the olden days – say five years ago – it was enough for a small business to market its services with advertising and public relations. But in the last few years, an avalanche of new opportunities has cascaded on the Internet in the form of social networking sites. These sites give entrepreneurs more opportunities to get the word out about their companies, but they’ve also made many of us feel overwhelmed, trying to keep up.

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