Mass broadcasts are a thing of the past. Instead of spending big bucks on flashy TV ads, marketers are turning to Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. Social media is where it‘s at, darling. And in this case, it means your customers, and potential earnings.
With all of the buzz about social media, it’s hard not to become wrapped up in its mythology.
Myth 1: It’s Free
I hate to break it to you, but being active in social media is going to cost you. (Wait, what?) Well sure, registering for Twitter and Facebook is technically free, but maintaining an active account on either social media platform requires a payment in time and energy. Your time and energy.
And your time is valuable. Please remember that. To calculate the cost of your social media efforts, first keep track of the hours you spend on those activities.
- – 3 hours per week spent blogging
- – 30 minutes on Facebook, every day
- – 15 minute Twitter breaks at lunch, Monday – Friday
Now, decide what your time is worth. If that’s too hard, think instead about how much you charge your customers. If you usually earn $25 per hour in your crafty enterprise, then participating in social media costs you $25 per hour in opportunity costs. What I mean by that is, when you do something like blog or Facebook, you’re creating a time commitment that costs you the opportunity to
do something else — like make bracelets to list on Etsy or knit scarves to sell at the craft show next week. So applying this rate:
- – Blogging could cost $75
- – Facebook could cost $87.50
- – Twitter could cost $31.25
Total that up, and you’ll see that “free marketing” can be expensive.
Myth 2: It’s Fast
Tweets go by in seconds. Facebook statuses can be updated as often as you wish. We all know that social media moves at a rapid pace.
But any DIY marketer would be fooling herself if she thought that social media would make her business famous overnight.
The truth is:
- It takes time to build your credibility.
- It takes time to earn the trust of your audience.
- It takes time to gather a following of loyal fans.
It’s hard not to want immediate results — but give yourself some credit, and give social media some time to be successful. You will see results, just not instantly.
Myth 3: It’s Difficult
Social media has a learning curve. There is no denying that. Talking in 140 character blurbs can take a little getting used to.
But you know, we talk all the time. To our family, to our friends, to complete strangers, and to potential customers. Each of these conversations has its own voice. And I’d imagine that in real life, these conversations come naturally. And at its core, what is social media but conversations online?
The format of online conversation is different, sure. But don’t put off your social media efforts because you don’t understand something. Free tutorials abound on the web. Here’s a glossary to get you started.
Once you get the hang of it, social media is really fun. And more than fun, it is a ridiculously fabulous way to connect with customers on a more personal level.
Myth 4: It’s Optional
Ah – the worst myth of them all. Some biz owners would rather ignore social media altogether than invest the time it takes to learn how to use social media as a marketing tool to grow their business. But therein lies the rub — the online conversation is going on about you, with or without you.
And guess what, marketing isn’t about you, is it? Instead, social media marketing is all about engaging with your customers. Join the customer conversation on the social media sites that your customers already use.
If your customers are on Twitter, you should seriously consider tweeting. If your customers love Flickr, try uploading photos of your new collection, and see what kind of response it gets. Make it part of your job description to interact with your customers on a daily basis. Schedule it, and do it.