Social media myths, musts

OK, OK, OK. So ya' know that ya' need to get involved with social media. All right already! But, what do you do to improve sales, and what is simply a waste of time, money and effort? That is the question.

Knowing these three myths and three musts (plus an important bonus!) will help you successfully embrace social media.

Myths of social media

1. You have to be on every platform. Baloney! You need to be on the platforms that will work for your system in your operation for your customers. Period. End of story. You need to have tools and tactics that help you attain your overall objectives. Find what is important to your customers and be there for them. This requires research, and it will be well worth it.

2. Treat social media just like e-mail blasts. Hogwash. Social media is quite different than what we experienced before with e-mail. Social media is about engagement with people. It is not about "blasting" a message to them. The old way of "blasting" has been replaced with a much more human approach of engagement and connection.

3. You don't have time for social media. I just hope that my competitors feel that way! If you allow that type of thinking to control your schedule, you are not going to connect with customers like you should in today's environment. We all have 168 hours each week. Be carefully strategic about how are you planning what you're going to do. Make sure that social media is a part of your life now in business because that's where your customers are.

Musts of social media

1. You must be familiar with social media. This applies to everyone in business. Just like how someone else cannot eat or sleep for you, you have to do it yourself. You must know the basics about social media. It doesn't mean that you have to be a tech guru, just be knowledgeable about the basics as they relate to your customers and your particular situation.

2. You must stay current. Social media is changing at lightning speed. It affects the world and your customers, and that is reason enough to stay current. Find a few select sources you trust and read what they are saying regularly. Watch key videos. Attend important conferences. All of these require a strategy –- and work.

3. You must blend social media into your overall marketing. Knowing the basics of Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn are essential. Using these platforms and leveraging YouTube are important for today's successful small and medium-sized business. Get assistance and develop the right strategy for you. Remember the key is getting engagement, not broadcasting a message.

Bonus! — You must have an efficient and effective system. Don't waste your time with an old dilapidated system that doesn't work anymore for you. Get a system in place that helps you be aware of what is happening in your world. Find what is important to your customers by monitoring what they are doing with social media. Develop compelling material that answers their questions and problems. This is bringing genuine human interaction and connection directly into the business equation.

These are a few of the myths and musts of social media. By following these tips you'll find that you can save yourself a lot of grief and aggravation. You'll also be positioned to profit enormously as we move into deeper levels of this wonderful marketing environment called social media.

Terry Brock is a Hall of Fame speaker and marketing coach who works with organizations to help them leverage technology and build powerful business relationships. He's the co-author of the McGraw-Hill book on social media entitled, Klout Matters: How to Engage Customers, Build Your Digital Influence – and Raise Your Klout Score For Success! He can be reached at www.TerryBrock.com or via Twitter @TerryBrock.

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