10 social media myths to quash

Falsehoods about online PR and marketing efforts can make PR and marketing pros much less effective in their digital efforts. Here’s how to get to the truth.

Though business owners and organizational execs have begun to embrace social media, many misconceptions still exist.

As more and more consumers use online platforms to access information and interact with organizations to purchase, volunteer or support, social media is an increasingly important part of communication efforts.

Many PR and marketing pros are adding social media proficiency to their skill sets to attract employers and clients, so it’s important to dispel falsehoods that can hamper campaigns and branding efforts.

Here are 10 common social media myths—and the truth behind them:

1. I don’t have the resources for social media.

Even though many small and mid-sized businesses have bestowed their social media tasks onto small (or solo) teams, there are many ways to scale your social strategy without missing out on effectiveness.

Here are seven tips for the one-person social team.

2. My organization must be on every social platform.

Not every social platform will suit every organization’s needs. Each social platform requires a certain level of attention and curation—and each appeals to a different audience for a different reason.

Find the platforms that can benefit your organization the most and focus your energies (and money) on them. If a platform isn’t working for you, or if you don’t have time to keep up with it, remove the account. Don’t leave dormant accounts in your wake.

3. My customers aren’t on social media.

Professional online activity can vary by industry or job role, but chances are, some (if not most) of your customers are on social media personally. eMarketer estimated that almost 20 million Canadians will be using social platforms by the end of 2015.

Though only some users are active contributors, many more—roughly 90 percent of them—are lurking. These users might not post or interact with content, but they use social platforms for news, research and entertainment, just like the rest of us.

4. My fans are my customers.

It’s fun to have a healthy amount of fans and followers, but numbers are only one piece of the social media pie. The quality of your followers is also important. Are they influencers and opinion leaders? Do they engage with your content? Defining these influencers takes time.

5. Social media is only a promotional tool.

On social media, it’s almost never all about you. Use social posts to overtly promote your brand, but remember to keep the “social” in social media.

This means that you must pay attention to engagement and conversation. One-way communication strategies are better suited to a press release or white paper. As with all good conversations, make sure you respond to users in a timely fashion, especially anyone who seems angry with your company. However, not every user will warrant a response; learn more about Internet trolls here.

6. Hashtag everything.

Although engagement doubles for social posts that include hashtags, don’t go overboard. You don’t want to look like you’re spamming your users, and a post full of hashtags is hard to read.

Instead, use 1-3 hashtags per post. Learn more ways to be handy with hashtags, here.

7. Social media doesn’t generate leads.

As much as social media is about brand enhancement, it’s also a great way to bring people into your marketing and sales funnel. One in 4 businesses saw a revenue increase when they used social media for lead generation.

Need ideas? Sprout Social created a comprehensive guide for generating sales leads on each major social platform.

AWARDS: Did you use social in an innovative way to accomplish PR goals? Enter the Digital PR & Social Awards!

8. We need content constantly.

It’s important to post consistently on social media, not constantly. Twitter even has rules about spamming, which includes aggressive following and re-tweeting.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the continuous requirements of your social media accounts, but there are many management tools and features that can help you navigate into easy social seas. Focus on being present and consistent, even if that only means a couple of posts each day.

9. Social media analytics aren’t useful.

Measurement has come a long way in PR, and analytics are essential to demonstrating your business value.

To understand social metrics, you first need to wrap your head around terms such as engagement and reach. Each social media platform is equipped with analytics to help you track your likes, re-tweets, click and other forms of interaction. Not sure which metrics matter most? Start here.

10. Social media marketing is free.

Adweek said it best: “Social media is free: Social media marketing is not.”

Like any marketing strategy, social media requires an investment to see significant returns. Social media is most effective when assigned to communicators with good judgment and writing skills. Don’t delegate your social presence to people with the least brand experience.

In addition, results tend to improve when you combine both paid and organic strategies. Rome was not built in a day and neither are your social profiles. With the right time and resources, you’ll can see results.

What other social media myths have you encountered?

Melissa Meyer is a communications assistant at CNW Group. Follow the firm on Twitter: @CNWGroup. A version of this article originally appeared on the content distributor’s blog.

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