17 Common Social Media Marketing Myths… And How To Bust Them!
Even though social media is a common tactic used by marketers across the globe, myths about how and why to use social media persist. Buying into these myths will seriously undermine your social media marketing. In this article learn how to counter the most prevalent myths with my 17 myth-busting tips.
Myth # 1 Social Media Is Just A Sales Tool
Fact: Being overly promotional on social media is sure-fire way to turn people off.
There’s a misconception that social media is essentially a giant sounding board for you to pitch your products and services. If you think about your own use of social media you don’t log on so you can read ads. You go there to socialize and find interesting content. Sprout Social surveyed more than 1,000 Facebook, Twitter and Instagram users to determine what annoys them about brands on social, what drives them to unfollow and which industries are on the right side of the line. Respondents indicated that the most annoying thing brands do on social is over-promote.
Try This Myth-Busting Tip: Aim for a healthy mix of content by following the 80/20 rule: 80 percent non-promotional content and 20 percent posts with calls to action. Experiment with posting quality content from others. To quickly find great relevant content on Facebook, use the Pages to Watch feature in your Facebook Page Insights.
Myth # 2 Everyone Is On Facebook, So We Should Be Too!
Fact: Social media without a strategy is just noise
I hear this myth quite often when I ask clients why they want to use social media. Many answer “we have to be on Facebook, because everyone else is there.” So they set up a Facebook account (or establish a presence on some other popular platform “everyone” is on) and then have no idea what to do beyond posting a few initial updates. Thinking you have to be on social media because your boss, friends, and competitors say they should is not a tactic.
Try This Myth-Busting Tip: What business goals do you want to achieve using social media over the coming year? Write down your top 3–5 objectives over the next 3, 6, and 12-month period. Make them SMART — Specific, Measurable, Attainable, and Realistic, as well as Time-based.
Myth #3 You Need A Presence On All Platforms
Fact: Not all social media is created equal.
It’s important, especially if your resources are limited, that you’re focusing your social media efforts in places that will generate the most return for your efforts. Different platforms attract different audiences. There’s no point spending your time on a particular social network, if your audience isn’t there.
Try This Myth-Busting Tip: Before becoming active on a platform, make sure to do the proper research. Ask yourself who am I trying to reach? Is our audience active on this platform? Match your audience demographics to their social use. There are publicly available reports, such as The Global Web Index, which can help you determine where your audience is. Then pick one network to focus on before adding in more channels to the mix.
Myth #4 Build It And They Will Come
Fact: Followers won’t automatically flock to you just because you are on social media.
Merely creating a social account or writing a blog is not enough to get people to follow you or read your content. You have to work at it every day to gain and retain followers and readers. To achieve results and credibility you have to be prepared to devote time regularly to producing and promoting content and engaging with your audience.
Try This Myth-Busting Tip: You need to determine how you will connect your content with the right audience at the right time. Rand Fishkin,co-author of Art of SEO and Wizard of Moz, goes so far as to say: “Before you ever create content, I urge you to ask the critical question: Who will help amplify this and why? If you don’t have a great answer, a specific list of people, don’t create it.”
Myth #5 You Can Post The Same Content In Multiple Places
Fact: Each social media platform is different and requires a different strategy.
In an effort to save time, many social media users will create a single post that they’ll push out to all of their social media platforms. The reality is that each platform requires a different focus. Don’t just copy and paste the same post on each platform. That doesn’t mean that you cannot create similar posts — but format each of them to meet the requirements of the specific platforms.
With limited time and resources, creating a unique post for each social media channel can be a challenge, but it’s well-worth the effort. This will help to give your content a fresh feel no matter where your audience lands and show that you’ve put some thought into each update. Brian Peters
Try This Myth-Busting Tip: Consider how you might re-purpose your existing content. Can you turn that blog post you’ve just written into a YouTube video series? Can you take data you’ve just tweeted and turn into in a infographic for Pinterest?
Myth #6 You Can Post Any Time of The Day On Social Media
Fact: There are optimum times to post updates on social media.
There are known best practices for each social network, and posting at the best times will help you get more traffic, more engagement, and more followers. Co Schedule analyzed data from 20 different studies to determine optimum posting times. For example, the best days of the week to publish to Facebook are any day during the workweek, with engagement being the highest on Thursday and Friday. Engagement is about 3.5% lower on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
Try This Myth-Busting Tip: While this kind of data provides a good starting point, it’s best to test optimum times using your own audience data. You can track when your audience is online on Facebook right in the Audience Insights tab of your business page.
Myth #7 You Can Post As Many Times As You Like On Social Media
Fact: How many times you should post on social media varies with each platform.
Just as there are optimum times at which you should post your content online, there is also an optimum number of times to post during the day. For instance, data from Hubspot experiments show that engagement rates drop on Facebook and LinkedIn when you post more than once per day. However, on Twitter, because the shelf-life of a tweet is so short, it makes sense to post quite frequently.
Try This Myth-Busting Tip: According to Search Engine Journal much of your interaction with your social media followers can — and should — be scheduled according to peak use times and according to individual time zones. Test for yourself. Keep an eye on your analytics to determine the posting schedule which increases or decreased your engagement levels.
Myth #8 Scheduling Posts on Social Media Results in Lower Reach
Fact: Scheduling updates helps you to reach more people more of the time.
There is a misconception that scheduling your posts on social media results in lower reach. Award-winning social media marketer, Amanda Webb, says this simply isn’t true. “There’s a nice new study from AgoraPulse that busts that one”, she says.
Try This Myth-Busting Tip: The internet is global and if you want the spread of your content to reach further than your own backyard, you need to hit multiple time zones. Use a scheduling tool like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule your updates to reach more people, more often. However, don’t use this as a substitute for logging on and posting in real-time. It’s called “social” media for a reason; you have to engage with your followers, in a two-way conversation, if you want to succeed.
Myth #9 It’s OK To Share Photos You Find Online
Fact: Finding something on the internet does not mean it is in the public domain.
“If you share a photo online”, points out Amanda Webb, “it’s not in the public domain, you can’t use it the creator still owns the copyright.” As a general rule, assume that if you find an image on the internet it is covered by copyright.
Try This Myth-Busting Tip: If you can find the source of the image you can then determine if they grant a license, such as creative commons, or offer it in the public domain. If they do offer a license, either free or for a fee, comply with the license and follow their rules to stay the right side of the law.
Myth #10 If You’re Posting As A Brand, You Should Use A Corporate Voice
Fact: Authentic engagement are highly valued traits online as much as offline.
While it’s important to maintain professional boundaries, it’s important to show your human side too. Almost 35% of respondents to the Sprout Social survey mentioned above, cited lack of personality on social accounts as a turn-off.
Try This Myth-Busting Tip: Think of ways you can connect with your audience on a more personal level. Using a person’s name when they comment or ask a question online, and sharing tips and fun facts all help your followers relate to you on a more human level.
Myth #11 Success Depends On The Number Of Followers You Have
Fact: The quality of your engagement matters more than the quantity of your followers.
Often people will judge their social media success by the number of followers they have. While the size of your account can provide a level of social proof, it matters more that the followers you have are engaged with you.
Try This Myth-Busting Tip: Get to know your audience really well; what topics are they most interested in? How can you become the go-to resource for your industry or niche? When you create and share relevant and useful information, you will attract more followers who are interested in what you have to say.
Myth #12 Hashtag The Heck Out Of Everything You Post
Fact: Too much hashtagging can make you look amateurish
While hashtags are a neat tool to allow people to filter through millions of posts every day, sprinkling your posts with too many is a digital faux pas. The practice of over-hashtagging looks spammy and is a rapid turn-off. Furthermore, while hashtags on all social networks have the same fundamental purpose of content tagging and discovery, the use of hashtags varies by network. Whereas you can use up to 30 hashtags on Instagram (although just because you can, doesn’t mean you should use that many), research shows tweets that use more than 2 hashtags on Twitter see a 17% drop in engagement.
Try This Myth-Busting Tip:
The golden rule is never have more hashtags than words in your post. Take the time to discover the most popular and most relevant hashtags that your followers are using for each network.
Myth #13 Social Media Is Free
Fact: The perception that social media is free is misguided.
While it’s true, you don’t have to pay to sign up for a social media profile on most platforms, these days, the organic reach of most Facebook posts is less than three percent. Running a social presence now requires an investment of resources. You may need to buy-in services such as SEO (search engine optimization), analytics software, content or creative support. Time is also a cost factor.
Myth Busting Tip: Look at what takes you the most time to do. Can you spend money to make these processes more efficient?
Myth #14: Social Media Can Replace Your Website
Fact: You can’t rely on social media alone to drive traffic and leads
While you certainly can’t ignore social media, don’t make it your number one strategy for traffic and leads. The bottom line is that you want to build your business on your platform, not someone else’s. You don’t have to build a fancy website — focus on creating a simple, easy-to-navigate website or blog to act as your home-base.
Myth Busting Tip: Encourage visitors to your website or blog to sign-up to a mailing list. Email marketing is one of the powerful tools you can add to your marketing strategy. Check out these ideas to grow your email list.
Myth #15 An Intern Can Handle Social Media
Fact: Creating a successful social media marketing campaign requires a strategist and team, not an unpaid intern.
Don’t hand your social media strategy off to an intern because he/she’s cheap to employ and/or “young enough to get it.” Hiring a cheap intern who knows how to tweet, snap and stream a live video is not going to fix your brand perception problems, inspire your customers to engage in a relationship with you. That’s not to say you shouldn’t employ an intern, but don’t expect that person to lead a strategic approach to social media marketing.
Myth Busting Tip: Clearly define the roles and outline the responsibilities of this position. Some of the tasks an intern might perform include, performing a competitive audit, creating content calendars, and running social media accounts.
Myth #16 Social Media Is A Stand-Alone Tool
Fact: Social media should be part of an integrated marketing strategy.
Social media shouldn’t exist in a digital vacuum. It performs best in conjunction with other, interrelated strategies like content marketing, SEO, and influencer marketing.
Myth Busting Tip: Create an integrated strategy which includes linking through to all your digital assets — social profiles, websites, emails and paid search advertising campaigns.
Myth #17 You Can’t Measure Your Return on Investment (ROI) On Social Media
Fact: You should track how your content performs on social media relative to the amount of time and money you put against it.
Marketers, in general, have a hard time connecting the dots between their work and an uptick in revenue. Surveys quote it again and again.
Not only can you measure the ROI of social media, you should measure it to determine how effective your social marketing is.
Myth Busting Tip: Web analytics tools like Google Analytics make it easy for you to identify how many conversions there have been on your website as a result of organic search traffic and keywords. These tools also enable you to set up different definitions of conversion (visitors, leads, customers), so that you get a very good idea of your social media ROI.
So there you have it, 17 social media marketing myths busted! Which persistent social media myths are you tired of hearing about? How are you busting those common myths?