Try as we might, some of us never fully get comfortable posting on Facebook. Sure, we don’t mind sharing funny cat videos or recipes of Grandma’s favorite potato salad, but that’s a long way from opening up on Instagram about our business behind-the-scenes or even – gasp – doing a Facebook live Q&A.
But remember what President FDR said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” With that in mind, let’s look at some of the most common fears we have about using social media for business and neutralize them.
1. “I Don’t Know Enough.”
This is an appeal to ignorance, plain and simple, and the fix is simple: educate yourself. Unfortunately, this isn’t one of those things that you can simply ignore either; if your competition is already on social media and you’re not, they’re only going to get farther and farther ahead.
One of the quickest ways to educate yourself is by either reading some of the billion or so blogs out there on the subject, or by getting a mentor to help fast-track the process. Alternatively, you can always pay for private coaching, but that could be expensive. Still, the payoff may be worth it.
2. “My Way is Better”
Sure, your grandpa probably ran his business by using those old metal time-punch machines, but if you’re still relying on those to keep track of your employees’ day-in and day-out routine, you might want to start thinking about a better way. That doesn’t mean you have to abandon all of your time-honored routines, but there’s nothing wrong with keeping an open mind to all the emerging technologies that can speed up operations.
One of the best ways that technology will help your day-to-day is in automation. Instead of firing off hundreds of hand-typed e-mails to everyone who writes into your system, having an automated e-mail sequence, for example, will do all of that for you. The time it takes to learn and implement a new system will be dwarfed by the amount of time that you’ll save on the backend, so open your mind and allow yourself to try something new.
3. “Isn’t Facebook Just for Parties?”
To be sure, the recreational side of social networking is an obvious element, but that doesn’t mean social media is all about lazy Saturdays by the pool and graduation parties. Or, at least, Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t think that’s what Facebook is all about.
The key to an effective social networking campaign, however, is in creating a social aspect for your business. This is where you’re allowed to get creative with the process, from coming up with a funny meme that highlights your various areas of expertise, or a heart-wrenching, share-worthy video that captures your moving backstory. It’s all about going viral, and the more you can tap into human emotions with your business, the better. And ultimately, that’s what people will respond to better anyways; they want to feel like they’re a part of your business, not just buy your products.
4. “I Don’t Want My Personal Info All Over the Internet”
To be fair, this a huge and very valid concern of people everywhere. Nobody wants their private information shared with complete strangers, especially not sensitive work data such as intellectual property or financial statements.
The good news is various social media companies have taken huge steps to protect your privacy. While you still need to use common sense anytime you communicate online, there’s not nearly the level of concern for your privacy as there was a few years ago, or at least there’s a much bigger push for that kind of thing to take effect. Is there a chance that your information could be stolen? Sure, but that danger exists nearly everywhere by this point. The real fear should be that you could be running a great company that nobody knows even exists.
5. “What if People Make Fun of Us?”
This may sound juvenile, but there are plenty of people who refuse to post on social media, even in their personal lives, for this very reason (there’s even a condition called Social Media Phobia that involves this very thing). Whether it’s a fear of criticism or fear of feeling vulnerable, many people shy away from social media because they want to avoid the spotlight at all costs.
Here’s the simple truth: whether you like it or not, people are already judging your company. They are already telling their friends about you and your business, what they like and dislike, and ways they would run it if they were in charge. The major benefit of social media is that now you have an online portal with which to interact with your business. They can air their grievances toward you, you can comment back, and voila! – an open dialogue is formed.
6. “I Don’t Want My Employees on Facebook All Day”
According to a recent study, nearly 2/3 of all American employees check their social media accounts while at work, so yeah, this is another valid concern. And since the average person spends nearly 5.5 years of their life on social media, that leaves very little time for other activities, like doing their job.
Rather than accost your employees for all the time they’re probably already spending on social media, however, why not harness that time spent online for promoting your business? Encourage them to share pictures of your business, encourage their friends to visit, share blog articles, or other similar activities. That way you can take advantage of at least some of the time they’re most likely spending online.
7. “Social Media Advertising is Too Expensive”
Whether you’re running a Facebook campaign that’s aimed to get more clicks to the website, run lead generation ads, or one of the other options available to businesses, it is true that social media advertising can be expensive. On the other hand, the payoff can be enormous. If it weren’t, why else would businesses expect to spend more and more money on social media advertising every year?
The truth is, poorly targetted social media advertising is expensive, but done the right way, you can reap returns that are well over 100%. What other type of marketing activity can provide those type of numbers? While you may initially save some pennies by keeping your marketing overhead low, the payoff long-term can be catastrophic to your business. It’s better to learn how to do it the right way with a little bit of guidance and experimentation, then watch your competitors get it right and blow right past you.