The Importance of Social Media Marketing for Any Business

It has taken several years for everyone to catch on, but in 2014 almost every business owner understands that social media marketing is an essential part of any marketing and brand building campaign, whatever their business actually does or however large or small it is.

That having been said, there are still a number of big misconceptions out there that can derail a social media marketing plan and at best make it less effective than it could be, and at worst actually damage a company's reputation. Here is a look at some of the biggest.

You Must Have a Profile on Every Single Social Network

Many businesses, headed by owners who quite rightly try to read and keep up with trends, fall into the trap of believing that if they do not have a business profile on every single social network out there they will be missing out on some big, huge opportunity. So they set up accounts on Facebook, Twitter, G+, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Redditt and..well the list goes on and on.

What they are setting up for themselves however is an unmanageable situation, even if they hire outside help. The very simple fact is that certain companies and niches are better suited to certain social networks than others. Taking the time to figure out which these are for your business and then concentrating your resources on developing a truly useful and engaging presence on just three, or maybe four, different social networks, will be far more successful than having a dozen, neglected boring profiles that are there simply because a manager read that they should be.

You Cannot Use a Facebook Page to Replace a Website

This is a rather scary dangerous misconception that many small and businesses - especially small local businesses - fall prey to. On the face of things it makes sense though; why pay good money that could be spent elsewhere if you can do practically the same things - a store, a blog, news updates - on Facebook for free?

Why is this such a bad idea? To begin with, a real, dedicated website gives you a permanent, solid presence that any Internet user can find. Because contrary to what you might think, there are lots of Internet users who never answered the 'seductive siren call' of Facebook, and even more who simply got bored with the whole thing and moved on. And these people are your potential clients and customers as well.

An even bigger problem is that you do not own your Facebook page, Facebook does. That means you have to post only what they approve of or the page could disappear overnight without warning. And Facebook disapprove of pretty harmless stuff. In addition Facebook decides who sees your page. Even if you have 5,000 followers right now you are one of the lucky ones if even 20% of those people ever see your content.

Social Media is Not Appropriate for Your Kind of Business

This is often the attitude taken by a more 'serious' company, a lawyer perhaps. But whatever your niche if you are not sure that social media is worth your time ask yourself the following questions; Does your company need to generate new leads? Do you need to generate more traffic to your company website? Are you at all interested in building a stronger brand image? Are you interested in providing an easy way for your customers, and potential customers, to give you feedback and ask questions?

If you answered yes to any of the questions then yes, social media marketing can help you. Now if you are a lawyer you may be better off concentrating your efforts on LinkedIn and Twitter rather than the more 'lighthearted' Facebook, but social media should still be a part of your overall marketing plan

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