by Laura E. Pence | Featured Contributor
There are many things that business owners “know” about marketing. Unfortunately, there are some rumors and myths that persist in online marketing even though there is little, if any, truth to them in practice. Without further ado, here are the 7 most common misconceptions that I face from potential clients during a discovery session:
1. Social Media is Free
Myth: Whomever started this rumor did everyone a huge disservice. Come on, people! Since when has anything that you do in your business EVER been FREE? There is always some investment of time, energy, resources, or money (and usually some combination.) Realistically, there is nothing worth doing that is truly free and for good reason. If it were so easy then everyone would do it and it wouldn’t likely be very effective. All this myth does is give business owners unrealistic expectations and ultimately, disappointment.
Truth: Most social media platforms are free at the basic level for businesses and free for casual users, but to get the maximum benefit there are fees for extra features and analytics. There are also advertising costs associated with reaching your target audience; Facebook is pay to play for businesses. Perhaps the most overlooked cost is the time and energy. Content doesn’t plan and create itself!
2.You Don’t Need a Website
Myth: If you have a successful Facebook page, then you don’t need a website. (This also applies to any social or blogging sites on which you participate that you don’t OWN.)
Truth: You need a website. Period. It should be your hub and it’s owned property. Don’t get me wrong… Facebook is great! But, repeat after me… It does not replace a traditional website. A few reasons why this is the case: You don’t get the same depth of data and user behavior from Insights. You don’t control the user experience. Facebook regularly changes the playing field so that what used to work may not work anymore. Facebook can shut your page down at any time without giving you advanced warning or access to your database. Don’t give your power away like that!
3.If You Build it They Will Come
Myth: You created a gorgeous website, set up all the social media pages that you can think of, and even listed your business in every online directory you could find… so now the leads will coming rolling in!
Truth: You completed step one and it’s a great start, but this is not Field of Dreams. People will not magically find your site. At a minimum you need a strategic plan to follow that lays out what type of content to create, where to publish it, and how often (and you actually have to follow it!)
4. Your Millennial Intern Can Run Your Online Marketing
Myth: Millennials are naturally technologically advanced and know how to do everything online because they grew up online. You can set them loose on your social networks and reap the benefits. (This also applies to younger family members working in your business.)
Truth: Generally speaking, Millennials ARE comfortable using social networks. The huge caveat to this is that they have experience using them for personal use, not business! There is a massive difference between knowing how to use a tool and having the experience to know what you should do with it. Would you hand over your accounting or business planning duties to an intern without training, supervision, and oversight? No? Then why would you do it with your marketing that everyone sees? That’s not a great idea. Now, by all means, have your intern work with a seasoned professional and they will both benefit from learning a new point of view and way of doing things.
5. Email Marketing is Dead
Myth: People are inundated with email and the last thing they want to do is get more. Therefore, email marketing is dead.
Truth: Email marketing is far from dead. As a matter of fact, it’s still the number one driver of sales in business. It’s a great way to connect with your current, past, and potential clients. The key is to segment your database and send messages to each segment that make sense. One message does not fit all. Allow people to opt in and control what type of messages they want to get and then give them what they ask for in a reasonable manner.
6. SEO is Over
Myth: Google has killed Search Engine Optimization. The algorithms have stomped it out and now it’s a waste of time, energy, and money.
Truth: Gaming the system has always been a bad idea and risky investment even when it was somewhat effective. Posting quality articles to your blog, building relationships that lead to natural backlinks, getting published on 3rd party news sites, and other legitimate SEO friendly activities have always been and will always be a good use of resources.
7. You Have to Be Everywhere
Myth: Your business needs to be on every social media site to be seen. Now. Today. All at once!
Truth: That’s just silly. It is far better to go deep on one social channel than to go wide on all of them. If you have the time, budget, and resources to do it all at once, then yay for you! Go for it! That is hardly ever the case, so more often than not you will need to research where your ideal clients are most active online and focus your attention there first. People’s habits change over time and you may need to adjust accordingly.
How many of these myths have you heard, yourself?
As President of Social Savvy Geek, LLC. (www.SocialSavvyGeek.com), Laura E. Pence is passionate about helping entrepreneurs and business owners to meet and exceed their goals. She is committed to providing the most engaging and effective strategies for online marketing by combining traditional business networking and marketing fundamentals and best practices with current and engaging online marketing methods and tactics. Laura has worked with some of the top names in Internet Marketing and has consulted with entrepreneurs, businesses, and nonprofits in the US and abroad. She is the author of the popular article, 10 Tips to Build Your Twitter List Now, which has been published both online and in print in the US, Australia, and New Zealand. Connect with her: @SocialSavvyGeek LinkedIn Facebook
A lifetime student herself, Laura has achieved certification as a Computer Administrative Specialist at Beta Tech and has studied Art Education, History, Art History, and Criminal Justice at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is fascinated with learning, sharing and growing, not just in business, but in life. She participates in US Masters Swimming and has ranked in the top 25 in her age group in both the 50 and 100 yard backstroke. She served in the VA Army National Guard as a Combat Engineer in the 229th Engineer Battalion. She never meets strangers, only friends not yet made– an attitude that serves her extremely well in the networking world, both online and off. She currently lives in Denver, CO with her 2 year old daughter.