13 August 2013

10 Social Media Myths

The following social media myths are compiled as a result of obstacles that I meet as a social media consultant.  Most of these apply to using social media for business purposes.  Taking these ideas on board should see that you reap greater rewards from your social media strategy.

Myth 1.  Social media contacts grow organically. 
Well yes they could, but it would take way too long to assemble an audience of a decent size who would listen, take note or appreciate your message.  I keep telling people its all about "reach".  In other words you only reach a small crowd, your message will not travel.  You will only every engage a small percentage of your audience anyway.  This has to be borne in mind.  Also make sure your audience is targeted towards your product or service or your engagement will be wasted.
Myth 2.  Social media is all about you.
No.  The best way to promote your message or your brand is to promote others.  They in turn will promote you.  Its reciprocal and the most effective.  For it to work you have to engage people and of course the right kind of people.   Another approach is to have a number of informative posts or every one sales post.  The exact proportion will need some experimentation.
Myth 3.  Social media is all about selling products and services. 
Again, untrue.  Please take the approach that social media is all about people, people who will need products and services.  This is a big difference and cannot be underestimated.   This extends to the photos and videos.  People expect to see photos and videos with people in them.  My experience has been that no one wants to get into the camera's viewfinder.  Business is about people, enough said. 
Myth 4.  Facebook is the be all and end all of social media. 
I meet so many people who tell how wonderful Facebook is and how many thousands of LIKEs their fan pages have.  Facebook is fine for keeping in touch with your customers but it is slow and difficult to grow from the ground up.
Myth 5.  Twitter only works for celebrities and big brands. 
Ironically if you are a start-up business you will have more success with Twitter than Facebook.  It is easier to drive traffic to your website or blog with Twitter than Facebook. 
Myth 6.  Social media runs itself.   
Untrue.  Social media needs monitoring and input.  You can run all your social media platforms from something like Hootesuite or Ezeesocial but you have to reach out. 
Myth 7.  You can just hire someone to run your social media presence for you. 
Yes, you can.  However social media is driven by a fuel called content.  Content can be blog article or links but they all tell a relevant story about your business.  If you ask someone to run their social media and don't provide them with content that only company insiders are privy to, this will end in disaster. 
Myth 8.  Content needs to be viral. 
Those that know about the power of content believe that all content should be viral.  Content only has the opportunity to go viral if it is shared and to share it you need an audience.  Please bare in mind that most content that does actually go viral was never planned to be viral but it had an unexpected component, it got picked up by an industry influencer who shared the link and yes you guessed it, an audience who shared it profusely.
Myth 9.  Social media doesn't work if you have older customers. 
This was originally the case but no more.  The fastest growing demographics on Facebook are the over 50's.
Myth 10.  YouTube is only for teenagers and not for business. 
I constantly meet businesses who shy away from the use of video.  Again many fear the camera but most are unaware of the amount of traffic that a YouTube video can drive to a company's sales page.
I hope I have shattered some of your social media myths for you.  Naturally there are more, but I'd like to think that I have covered the main ones.  Please feel free to post comments below.