The social media industry is full of misconceptions. For anyone who works in the business, addressing the myths and misconceptions is often the hardest part of our jobs. Below are nine of the biggest myths I think are worth tackling. Be sure to share yours with me, too!
Myth #1- Social media is free.
Signing up for Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and the likes does not cost a dime, we all know that. If you want to do social media the right way though, you need content and manpower behind it. Great photos, graphics and videos do not come without a cost.
If social media is a priority, then you have to put the right resources behind it to generate the content that compels to your consumer. Remember, good content will carry a large load of your social media success.
Myth #2- You just need five minutes everyday.
Social media is about building relationships, understanding your consumers and molding your messages to make them meaningful to your audience. This, my friends, cannot be done in five minutes. Scheduling any ‘ole tweet once a day, even if you have a million followers, is not social media success.
Myth #3- It is hard to measure success in social media.
The problem does not lie in knowing how to measure social media success; it lies in not knowing how to set the right measurable and meaningful goals. There are a million metrics out there—and a ton of tools to help—but you have to start with goals.
Doing social media the right way isn’t easy. It requires a thoughtful, strategic plan that maps back to organizational goals. Take the time to create your strategy and set quantifiable goals; understanding your success will be much easier then.
Myth #4- You can use the same content on every medium (via @Jake Scwartz1).
Every platform has a different audience and different purpose. Gifs and humor might work well on Tumblr, while photos and inspirational messaging might work well on Facebook. If you post the same content on every medium without tweaking the message at all, you’re failing to understand your audience, how they consume and what they like.
Myth #5- All communication / marketing efforts require a social media component.
My biggest pet peeve is the idea that social media is the answer to everything. It’s up to us as social media professionals to understand the audience we are reaching on our platforms. If the message isn’t appropriate to that audience, then social media isn’t the answer.
Additionally, social media is not the way to reach the masses… e-mail marketing, direct mail and websites are still alive and quite frankly, well. Remember, not every communication effort requires a social media component.
Myth #6- Scheduling posts is a bad idea.
Social media takes consistency and remaining active at all hours of the day and night. Let’s be honest, it’s impossible to always be on, so scheduling posts allows you to remain active, while getting other things done. It’s not scheduling posts that gets you in trouble, it’s scheduling post and completely walking away. If you decide to schedule ahead, here are three things to keep in mind:
- You still need to check-in and make sure everything is going okay.
- Use your extra time to engage with your follows.
- If some kind of tragedy- local or national- happens, remember to practice common social media etiquette and unschedule your posts.
Myth #7- Social media is easy. Anyone within the organization can do it.
Yes, anyone can post to Facebook and Twitter. I have friends that post to the platforms all day long that don’t work in social media. But believe it or not, I believe social media professionals have a certain skillset that can’t always be taught. For example:
- Taking information and making it consumable.
- Understanding how and why people consume online.
- Creating content that resonates with all types of audiences across all types of platforms.
- Taking a brand and making it human.
- Writing clever, creative copy.
I say it over and over again, but at the core, I’m a communications professional. I believe someone who has that skillset should handle your social media. Social media is one of the most public forms of communications, and, it’s important.
Myth #8- You have a presence and an audience on the platform, so you must be doing it well (via @mBLASzKa).
Long gone are the days where having a million fans on Facebook means your successful. Today, it’s all about quality versus quantity. Just because you’re on a platform and have a large following, does not mean you are doing it right.
Myth #9- It pays off to be bright and shiny.
Your latest social media initiative received a write-up on Mashable? Well, congratulations. My question is this… were you doing the campaign just to be bright and shiny or did the campaign really align with what your brand is trying to accomplish?
I know it’s easy to get caught up in what’s fun and trendy, but we all need to be cautious. Eventually someone will walk in the door and ask how the money we spent on the large initiative helped the organization accomplished its goals. The write-ups in Mashable are nice and all, but once the chatter from the social media and tech geeks wears off, we need to make sure that the campaign / initiative is still adding value to the company.
Watercolor Facebook & Twitter logos courtesy of mfinleydesigns.