Social media: Five myths you're sure to recognize

Social media, which might be described as the leading communication tool of the new Millennium, comes in many forms. Whether you use social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for business or fun, or whether you are still in the stage of getting comfortable with the idea of spreading yourself and your business across the Internet, you've probably heard lots of rumors about how these tools work. Social media and marketing guru, Michelle Carvill shared her thoughts on the subject with our UK audience at our sister site, BusinessZone.

 
Myth No. 1
Social Media is FREE!

Whilst the platforms such as; Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, FlickR, YouTube, About Me etc, are all indeed ‘free’ to join – ask anyone who’s doing ‘social media activity’ – and they'll tell you it’s certainly not free.  If you’re time is free – then it’s free.  But if you’re time has a value – or you are paying someone who understands how to use the free platforms with purpose, skill and talent, or you’re taking the time to get to understand how to best leverage these platforms yourself, then that takes time – and time is most certainly not free.
 
If you want to get involved with social media, just as with any other marketing activity – then you need to ask yourself who is the best person for the job.  Are you going to ‘skill up’ yourself, or pay a marketing pro that better understands how to utilize the channels and weave social media into the marketing activity of your business.  Either way – it’s not free.
 
Myth No. 2
You have to sign up and engage with ‘every’ social media platform.
As with any marketing activity, do what works for you. If you don’t have the budget to run a national radio campaign, then you wouldn’t do it. Similarly, don’t feel that you have to engage with every social medium. Experiment and figure out which platform works for you.  For example – I have a client that set up a Facebook page and two Twitter accounts. We measured activity, feedback and some basic metrics to understand what was the more effective channel. We pretty quickly determined that the Twitter accounts were delivering far more than their Facebook activity – and so we pulled back on Facebook and now their primary social media activity is via Twitter.  Try and test – but don’t feel you have to be manically uploading video to YouTube and Tweeting if it’s not getting you any reach. Do what works for you.
 
Myth No. 3
Social Media Platforms is mainly for kids.
I’m aware that if you’re reading this on my blog, you’re already into social media (ish) – so you’re already likely to be aware that social media is most certainly not just for kids. Quite the contrary. If we consider last year alone, Facebook grew 277 percent in the age category 34-55 year olds.
 
The business to business use of these platforms is still pretty much fertile territory – and over the coming months no doubt we’ll see more platforms and features within current platforms that really leverage this fruitful arena – assisting both the b2b arena and of course the platform owners.  And if you’re still skeptical – this great video by SocialNomics is a rather powerful way to put things into perspective.
 
Myth No. 4
I’ll set up social media accounts and as if by magic great things will happen.
I spoke with a chap the other day who advised me that he was doing really well on social media. "I’ve set up Twitter and have a few hundred followers’ – and have some Facebook fans’ – so we’re all sorted with social media."
 
When I asked what they were using the platforms for – and how they were engaging with those fans and followers, what his plan was – he went blank.
 
It’s not just about setting the accounts up ‘and they will come’ – you have to engage and put the effort into using these channels for conversations and brand building, just as you would with any other marketing channel.  That usually involves thinking strategically and planning.
 
For many large brands – they can start out with great numbers of followers – because they have a large offline reputation which they can take online.  For example – Coca Cola has millions of Twitter followers, but they have millions of offline converts too.
 
It’s much tougher for the ‘little man’ that has to build a reputation online – and grow followers and fans through genuine exchange of authentic and useful content and conversations. Therefore, the ‘big splash’ stories tend to happen with big brands. (There are of course case studies where little guys have made a splash – which may not have ever happened in the offline arena) but the majority of us it’s a relatively long game.  It’s not ideal to stop and start your marketing activity – ideally you keep a constant trickle.  So effective planning is key.
 
Myth No. 5
It’s all about listening, you can’t directly sell on social platforms.
As the platforms become more developed I’m sure we’ll see more formal ways in which direct sales can be included.  Right now you can run very targeted pay per click advertising on both Facebook and Linked In – so that’s pretty direct – and Twitter is still playing with sponsored ads.
 
In the conversations I engage with, both for myself and for clients, I’ve definitely posted direct requests for expertise and am very happy for others in my networks to ‘sell’ their wares.
 
I agree it’s more about listening first and engaging in a more ‘consultative sell’ – (and no one likes a spammer) but selling is happening and new business is definitely being generated by the social platforms, which attractively, is highly measurable.
 
There was a very interesting report on @econsultancy this week relating to the ROI of their Twitter activity. And very clearly it’s having a significant impact on sales. Indirectly and directly.  Definitely worth checking out.  View here.
 
So that’s my social media mythbusting session completed (I could go on).  And no doubt I will in a future post…
 
Meanwhile – let me know of any other social media myths we can bust.
@MichelleCarvill is owner and Marketing Director at Carvill Creative - a graphic design and marketing services agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire.  The agency covers all aspects of graphic design and marketing - covering social media marketing and social media training, user focused website planning and conversion focused website design.
 
For marketing and social media advice – view the Carvill Creative Blog
 
See Michelle in action – Business Training Course, Social Media for your Business 16th March 2011, Farringdon.

 

This blog

AccountingWEB is more than just a U.S. team of journalists and financial and technology experts - we have an international side, too. Members of our British team who publish AccountingWEB.co.uk share their ideas, insights, and perspectives from across the pond.

More from this blog

Bloggers crew

Steve Knowles has spent 25 years in business and practice in the UK, but he also worked in the states and the years haven't dulled his way of seeing an alternative view to everyone else, and every day is a new adventure.

38970

Joel M. Ungar, CPA is a lifelong resident of the Detroit area and a graduate of The University of Michigan. He is a principal with Silberstein Ungar, PLLC, a Top 15 auditor of SEC public reporting companies.

70127

Allan Boress, CPA, with over 25 years as a practitioner and consultant to the accounting profession. Mr. Boress is the author of 12 published books in 6 different languages, including a best-seller, The "I-Hate-Selling" Book.

43758

Larry Perry, CPA, CPA Firm Support Services, LLC, is the author of accounting and auditing manuals, author and presenter of live staff training seminars, and author of webcast and self-study CPE programs. He blogs about small audits, reviews, and compilations.

80813
Sandra Wiley, COO and Shareholder, is ranked by Accounting Today as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting as a result of her prominent role as an industry expert on HR and training as well as influence as a management and planning consultant. She is also a founding member of The CPA Consultant's Alliance. Sandra is a certified Kolbe™ trainer who advises firms on building balanced teams, managing employee conflict and hiring staff.
17592

Maria Calabrese, CIR, Human Resources manager for Fazio, Mannuzza, Roche, Tankel, LaPilusa, LLC in Cranford, New Jersey, Maria's topics revolve around the world of: Mentoring, Performance management, and The "Y Generation," a.k.a. "The whY generation".

50772

William Brighenti is a CPA, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified [Business] Valuation Analyst, operating an accounting, tax, and QuickBooks consulting firm in Hartford, Connecticut, Accountants CPA Hartford.

74677

Ken Garen, CPA, is the co-founder and President of Universal Business Computing Company (www.ubcc.com), a software development firm of high-volume, high-productivity accounting and payroll technology.

22511

Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA, is the publisher of TaxMama.com, and author of the weekly syndicated Ask TaxMama column. She provides answers to tax questions from taxpayers and tax professionals worldwide.

58807

Amy Vetter, CPA, CITP is the CPA Programs Leader for Intacct Corporation responsible for leading the CPA/BPO Partners nationally.

31621
Brian Strahle is the owner of LEVERAGE SALT, LLC where he provides state and local tax technical services to accounting firms, law firms and tax research organizations across the United States. He also writes a weekly column in Tax Analysts State tax Notes entitled, "The SALT Effect." For more info, visit his website: www.leveragestateandlocaltax.com
95148
Scott H. Cytron, ABC, is president of Cytron and Company, known for helping companies and organizations improve their bottom line through a hybrid of strategic public relations, communications, marketing programs and top-notch client service. An accredited consultant, Scott works with companies, organizations and individuals in professional services (accounting, finance, medical, legal, engineering), high-tech and B2B/B2C product/service sales.
22552

Rita Keller is a nationally known CPA firm management consultant, speaker, author, mentor and blogger. She has over 30 years hands-on experience in CPA firm management, marketing, technology and administrative operations.

47451
Stacy Kildal is the mom of two fantastic kids, an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Certified Enterprise Solutions ProAdvisor, Sleeter Group Certified Consultant, a nationally recognized member of the Intuit Trainer and Writer Network, and co-host of RadioFree QuickBooks.
24417
Michael Alter's blog specializes in providing practical advice to those who seek greater profitability and practice management tactics that enhance deeper client relationships.
28396

Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, leads a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.

91392

The IMA Young Professionals Blog features the insights of IMA’s Young Professionals Committee. Committee members share advice and experiences on careers, continuing education, work/life balance, and other issues affecting young accounting and finance professionals.

29831

FEI Financial Reporting Blog provides highlights from SEC, PCAOB, FASB, IASB, and other regulatory news, including reporting under Sarbanes-Oxley Sect 404. It is written by Edith Orenstein, Director of Technical Policy Analysis at FEI.

102198

Sue Anderson has 30 years of experience in continuing education for accountants. Currently she is the program director for online CPE provider CPE Link.

54862

Jim Fahey is COO of Apple Growth Partners, a regional CPA firm in Ohio. His focus is on the effective and efficient use of technology within the firm by all team members.

36123
Caleb Newquist is the Editor-in-Chief of Sift Media US, overseeing content for both AccountingWEB and Going Concern.
62043

Leita Hart-Fanta, CPA, CGFM, and CGAP is the author of "The Yellow Book Interpreted" and owner of Yellowbook-CPE.com a website devoted to training for governmental auditors.

87376

AccountingWEB is more than just a U.S. team of journalists and financial and technology experts - we have an international side, too! Members of our British team who publish AccountingWEB.co.uk share their ideas, insights, and perspectives from across the pond.

48483