In the past few days, we've seen firsthand the power of social media. The first reports describing the horror immediately following the devastating earthquake in Haiti were from Tweets and instant messages. Now, millions of dollars are being raised from text message donations that are charged right to donors' phone bills. Social media is making a dramatic difference because of its sheer volume and speed. For more information about Red Cross text messaging donation options and participating wireless carriers please go to the following link ~ www.redcross.org/en/t2h
On a much happier note, we also learned this week that after a 23-year run of running ads during the Super Bowl, Pepsi is opting instead to spend the $20 million for an online marketing campaign. Good for you, Pepsi. Could it be you want to get feedback in real time? Could it be that you like the idea of interacting with customers and hearing what's new and fresh in their minds while it's, well, new and fresh in their minds? Could it be that you get it? Pretty sure you do. The $20 million was a great clue.
So, why do social media myths and fairy tales still swirl about? What is so hard for some people to understand? What is it that people still don't get?
Here are just a few myths that continue to rear their ugly imaginary heads:
1. The words "social media" are overused.
Are the words sky, water, or air overused? How about computer, internet, advertising or marketing? Social media is social media. It's not a buzzword or trend that will go away in a year or two. Without a doubt, it will advance in leaps and bounds. Getting on board now just makes sense. Remember when computers were as big as a large room? It was impossible to envision that one day we'd be able to hold a computer in one hand. Check out this link to read about some of the latest really, really, small options. http://www.buzzle.com/articles/worlds-smallest-computer.html
2. There is a secret social media formula that will catapult you/your business/your non-profit into the money.
There are social media formulas that you can pick and choose from and adapt to fit your schedule, staff, and resources. There's a virtual candy store of platforms and options. Here's the secret...they all take work. There are no silver bullets. If someone claims to have all the answers they most assuredly don't. If you get help from an expert and something doesn't sound right, then it isn't. You know your organization better than social media experts and any plan can be tweaked and adjusted to fit your organizational needs.
3. You have to have tangible ROI goals before you start a social media campaign. It's not good business if you don't.
Your goal is to build good relationships. Your ROI is customer loyalty. Of course, you do need to set goals and objectives. Of course, you need a way to measure progress. Like all advertising, the results you realize depend on the relationships you build with your followers, customers or donors. If you're lousy at building relationships your ROI is pretty much going to stink. In any ad campaign, success comes after you build your base of followers. Right? You have to put relationship building in the equation or there is no ROI. Something tells me that Pepsi gets it.
4. Social media is a bunch of hooey.
This myth is one that non-social media evangelists are banking on. I heard it recently from a former colleague in marketing and I still haven't lifted my jaw that squarely dropped to the floor. If you are in business, any kind of business, you owe it to yourself and your customers to take a look at your social media options. There are lots of them from which to choose.
Try to shoo social media off your shoulder like a housefly. You can bet that it will most assuredly come back and bite you in the derriere... like a horsefly.