Your company has a handful of social media pages because Instagram and Snapchat are trendy right now. You started spending more time managing those pages, so the company website hasn’t been touched in months. And while you’re busy with regular company business, a new post gets published once or twice a week on at least one social media platform, so that counts as meaningful engagement, right?
There are 2.8 billion active social media users worldwide, according to Tracx’s 2017 State of Social Infographic, and platforms are becoming even more business-friendly, making social media an easier and more important vehicle in the marketing mix. But, as you develop and fine-tune your social media strategy, be wary of some common social media pitfalls.
If any of these myths are stuck in your mind when it comes to social media marketing, consider them debunked:
Myth 1: My business needs to establish a presence on every available platform. As the social media space continues to evolve at a rapid pace, new platforms are surfacing left and right. Although it may be tempting to sign your company up for every platform you come across, you may quickly find that you are spreading yourself too thin. Before you register your firm for yet another social networking site or mobile app, consider your bandwidth and ask yourself, “Do I really have the manpower to actively manage all of these communities?” Most likely, the realistic answer is no.
Instead, research and focus your efforts on one or two social media platforms that will effectively deliver your message to the people who are most likely to make a purchase. Take Snapchat, for example, which is considered by many as the hottest mobile messaging app. On the surface, Snapchat may seem like a logical fit for your business given its continued rise in popularity, but after digging into the platform’s demographics, you may think otherwise.
According to data from the Statistics Portal, 60 percent of Snapchat users are under the age of 25, while 23 percent have not yet graduated from high school. If your ultimate goal is to get people to purchase a pest control service, this may not be the right social media demographic to target. Facebook, on the other hand, skews a bit older and allows for greater engagement, which may give you a better chance to hit your objectives.
And, let’s not forget about your company website. While social media platforms serve as additional online hubs of content for customers to view, your website is likely the first place your customer visits. It’s important to keep your website up-to-date and credible in conjunction with your social media properties.
Myth 2: My company needs a large social media following to be successful. The days of measuring a company’s social media success based on its number of fans or followers is long gone. Engagement is much more important than “likes.” Just because someone follows you doesn’t mean they have an immediate need for a pest control service. Look at more meaningful metrics to measure success, such as referral traffic to your website and click-through rate.
You also should pay attention to how frequently your followers interact with your content, as it is worth much more to have 200 active and dedicated fans on Facebook than 1,000 followers who go radio silent and don’t engage with your posts. Consider developing a posting schedule to ensure your page is being populated with fresh content for your followers on a regular basis. A good rule of thumb is to post once a day on Facebook and Instagram, and no more than five times a day on Twitter. Also, mix up the type of content being shared so that it keeps followers engaged. For example, if you post one day about tips for preventing termite infestations, link to a relevant news article about bed bugs the next day.
You can even take your posting strategy a step further by testing out some social media advertising features, such as boosting a post on Facebook or promoting a Tweet. Just because you have 200 active fans doesn’t mean every single one of them sees the posts you publish on your newsfeed. In fact, organic reach has been on the decline since 2013, and platforms are now forcing brands to reach their audience through advertising in conjunction with their organic efforts. Try boosting one of your Facebook posts with a $20 or $50 spend and see how it performs. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results!
Myth 3: Social media marketing is 9 to 5. If you only plan to post on your company’s social media pages during normal work hours, you might want to rethink your strategy. Many marketers wrongly assume that their daily social media efforts can quietly close down at the end of the traditional business day. But is that how you use your own personal social media in real life? Consumers go to social media for real-time content and breaking news, so it’s crucial to have a point person, whether it be yourself or another member of your team, who is tuned in to any hot and timely industry happenings that make sense for your company to comment on at all times of the day. Try to engage with fans posting on your pages in as close to real time as possible.
Scheduling tools like TweetDeck are a valuable option for weekend posts or when traveling, but shouldn’t be an everyday solution to posting, as losing the real-time status of your page could deter followers or send them elsewhere for the pest-related content they are looking for.
THE KEY TAKEAWAY. Keep these myths and best practices in mind as you work on your next social media plan — it could make all the difference in helping you achieve your digital marketing goals in this evolving social media world. And remember the simple, time-tested concept of quality over quantity. Strive to achieve a higher quality of content to share on your pages and focus on quality fan engagement. Banish the pressure of being everywhere to reach everyone. It’s not about the quantity of fans/followers or social media platforms you’re registered on. Happy socializing!
Cindy Mannes is executive director of the Professional Pest Management Alliance and vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about PPMA, visit www.NPMApestworld.org/PPMA.