Social Media is huge today and each week we see lots of new headlines about companies developing their own platforms, Facebook having even more visitors, or Paris Hilton’s account being hijacked on Twitter. These things happen more often nowadays especially because social media is part of our lives and some of us could not imagine their life without it.
For freelancers it might be a bit difficult to handle social media, because of the loads of information on and about it. There are many myths about social media oand I will list some of them here, so you will not have to think about them anymore from now on.
1. Social Media Equals Immediate Success
Well no, it doesn’t. As much as I would like to say it does, instant success is not something social media guarantees. If you created a page for your company on Facebook, it’s very unlikely for you to get the first client within a week. You need to spend time and maybe even money to bring people there, while also spending time and money on trying to make them want your services.
The best way to have success in social media is spending a few hours each day on it, not getting burned out by working 24/7 work for weeks in row, because this doesn’t guarantee the success will come faster – the probability is actually lower.
So don’t think that having social media accounts on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook will bring you success right away, because it is not like that. Use social media wisely and wait to see the results – good things come to those who are willing to wait for them.
2. Be on Every Platform
Photo by Lee Traupel
This is another false myth people talk about all the time. It is not a requirement to be on all the social media platforms, although it could be an advantage. On the other side, being on all the platforms (in case you are a small company) might actually do less than you thought. This might turn out bad because as a small company you probably do not have somebody employed just to take care of your social media responsible, therefore you probably do everything. This means there will not be enough time for every platform and some of them might get left behind. This will do anything but create a good impression for your clients, so avoid signing up everywhere if you are not confident you can handle all of them.
Moreover, not every new platform will reach success like the big ones, so make sure you have accounts on the big social media platforms and take it from there. If you think some other minnows have chances as well, have an account there too, but keep in mind that you do this for the sake of your clients. If they are not present on the respective platform, there is not need for you to be there either.
3. Social Media Replaces a Website
No, it doesn’t. I can’t stress enough about how important it is to have a website – separate from your social media accounts. The web 2.0 platforms are there to only aid your website, not to replace it. The most important thing about your website is that you have total control over it – from the host and domain, to platform and content. This is different on a social media platform where you are restrained by different rules. Whereas a website is yours as long as you want, a social media platform where you have all your clients can fail and cease to exist in a matter of days – if you have no website, how will you regain contact with your clients?
This can’t happen with a website, which is yours and where only you decide on the content and layout. Nobody changes the rules without you knowing and if the host company goes bankrupt, you always have your backup (providing you actually do, which is a good thing to keep in mind) and can move in an instant to another provider. Social media does not replace a website because they have totally different purposes. This is why you should always have both of them.
4. No Contacts Are Made Through Social Media
This is another one which should totally be ignored. Clients can be landed through social media, this is something that I did before and that I will continue doing. Sure, social media is for fun and in our private circle we use for a total other purpose, but in a business environment clients are often landed through social media. Now if you are a freelance editor, don’t expect to land Darren Rowse and start writing for him immediately, because this will not happen. However, it is very possible to land any kind of client on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and, after building a strong relationship with him, to actually make him pay for your services.
5. Social Media is a Waste of Time
This couldn’t be more wrong. Not only is social media is important for any kind of business, it will also bring you clients and make you more popular on the internet – which, last time I’ve checked, was the second most used media in the world – far more used than radio or newspapers and close behind TV. You could consider that for some people social media is a waste of time, but I repeat, this is for some people. Companies need social media like air, especially because of the reasons mentioned above, but also because of many others.
If you have a strong social media strategy and want to invest time and money into it, social media will transform into a way of keeping your clients closer. Think they would rather read about your latest information on your Facebook page than get a weekly e-mail from you, which will end up sooner or later in the spam folder. You are the only one who can make your social media strategy transform this channel into a useful one.
6. High Number Equals Good Results
If your social media strategy is having as many followers as possible, then it is probably a waste of time for you too. Having numerous uninterested and untargeted followers will never bring the results you look for and you will end up thinking social media is a waste time. The large number of followers does not impress too many people when you are a business or a freelancer, if they are not interested in what you have to say. You can be followed by 1.000 people in the first two weeks, if only three of them interact with your, that is your real audience.
Try to target your audience a bit more and learn something about each one of them – at least while you still have a small number of followers. Clients feel when companies make an effort for them and appreciate it, so jump into this right away when you sign up on a social media platform.
7. Not Everything You Say or Do Matters
Unfortunately it does. If you don’t believe me, try to look for the stories about people who were fired from their jobs because of social media mistakes. Employers, employees, clients and prospects follow you closely and weigh every sentence and answer you make public. When you are a freelancer it might not cause that much damage, but if you are a company it might tear you apart – especially with the press following social media today as well, so pay attention to every detail of your conversations online (and for that matter offline too).
Social Media is huge today and if you are still not convinced about this, then there is something wrong. Try to take a look around you and realize everybody is active there and your clients are probably part of “everybody”. If your prospects are there, you have to be there too, otherwise they will move to another freelancer or company who is active on social media, and you will remain with those few faithful contacts everybody has.
Use social media wisely, have a strategy beforehand, follow it, be ready to invest in it; closely follow your discussions and watch for conversation mistakes and you will be just fine. Before considering these myths and many others, try to conduct some research yourself and you will realize most of them are false.
Do you know some other myths about social media? Do you ignore them or do you believe in them?