We’re all guilty of believing the odd misconception. Hands up who thinks you lose most of your body heat through your head? Or that you only use 10% of your brain? Or that the brace position on an aircraft is designed to kill you faster/preserve dental records/turn you into a zombie?
With most things, as the popularity of social media has grown, the rumour mill has developed too. Most of these are harmless over-exaggerations or misunderstandings, but they can be dangerous if you base your strategy entirely on these misconceptions.
For our research paper Beyond Cat Videos: Social Media for Business, we surveyed 1,000 UK social media users to find out what they really want to see on social media. While some of the results were expected, some were surprising. We’re so set in our ways with our strategy and thinking about what we want that we sometimes forget about what our audience want. And any one of those 1,000 people surveyed could be your dream prospect. By finding out exactly what they’re looking for on social media you have more chance of attracting them than through simple guesswork.
Below are five social media myths that we debunked, and for even more useful social media research and advice you can download our research paper now.
PEOPLE FOLLOW YOUR BRAND FOR PRODUCT OR BRAND NEWS
Interestingly, only 14% of users follow brands to keep up to date with product and brand news. 41% of people follow brands on social media for discounts and offers (tweet this stat) and 24% follow for entertaining or funny posts (tweet this stat). It’s painful to admit, but most people aren’t following you on social media to help you out - they want to know what’s in it for them. (Read more about why people follow brands on social media in this research by Disruptive Communications)
YOU HAVE TO BE FUNNY AND ENTERTAINING ON SOCIAL MEDIA TO GET FOLLOWERS
26% of people will follow your brand if you post funny or entertaining posts(tweet this stat), but 45% of people won’t follow on social media just because your posts are funny (tweet this stat). Your posts need to be genuinely interesting and helpful. Being funny and entertaining is great, but people can find funny and entertaining anywhere on the internet. What can you do that is different?
TWITTER IS ONLY FOR TALKING TO YOUR FOLLOWERS
We all know to ask questions on social media to get a response from our followers or asking them to tweet us with their photos and feedback, but are you ending the relationship there? 98.6% of people expect a response (retweet, favourite, reply) when contacting a brand on Twitter (tweet this stat). Don’t take tweets for granted - use them as an opportunity to build a relationship. You’d be surprised how happy a simple retweet or reply can make somebody who has taken the time to contact you.
YOU NEED TO USE TWITTER TO PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS
We all know Twitter is a marketing tool and with the pressures of delivering ROI it’s tempting to flood your followers with posts on your latest products and offers. However, our survey found 56% of people have unfollowed a brand for posting boring or salesy content (tweet this stat). Remember the 80/20 rule here - if 80% of the content you post is interesting, engaging and useful, 20% can be sales related (tweet this stat).
SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO SALES
Many marketers believe that social media is purely for brand awareness, crowdsourcing and building relationships. Thankfully, this isn’t true! Our survey found that 74.2% of purchasing decisions are influenced by online content (tweet this stat). That means that each brilliant post, smart tweet or funny Facebook status you could be edging potential customers closer and closer to purchase.
Keep posting great content and before you know it your perfect customer could be thinking: “Oh yes, I need one of those. Now what’s the name of that company who are brilliant on social media…”