5 lies about social media

The author gave up her job at a law firm to work in social media. She loves it, but she’s also come across some common misconceptions. Can you relate?

I love social media.

I gave up my full-time job at a national law firm to pursue my passion, and it’s pretty incredible to do what you love (and get paid for it).

But it’s not all rainbows and unicorns, as some portray it. Like any other job, it takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and consistent engagement. Social media marketers are a dime a billion these days, so you must set yourself apart—or die trying!

Here are my top five lies about social media:

1. Social media is free.

This is one of the biggest misconceptions of them all. Social media is not free. It takes time, and the last I checked, time equals money. Even if you decide to keep your social media marketing in-house, you will always be paying someone to monitor your accounts.

Social media management tools such as Hootsuite and TweetDeck are free (unless you have premium accounts), but you need to quantify the time invested in learning about these tools and how to use them properly.

If you use an outside digital marketing company for your social media endeavors, be leery of anyone who gives you a quote up front without a conversation first. In this business, you get what you pay for.

2. You need influencers.

Sure, it’d be nice to have Justin Bieber tweet about your new product and/or service to more than 20 million followers, but you don’t need influencers to be your brand advocate. One of my favorite people, Danny Brown, said it best:

“The influencer will only share your brand or product for reward. Hard cash, or a large mount of swag (sign me up please!). They’ll write about you once, and then move on to the next brand.”

He goes on to talk about brand advocates. These are the people who love your products and services, and even more, they love to write about it. I was one of these people for a local hair shop that guaranteed a fully styled, fully dry head of hair in 30 minutes. Anyone that can do that to my mane is perfect, in my mind. I told everyone I knew about how amazing these guys were. I wrote online reviews and told my friends, and I continue to use the service today.

3. You’re guaranteed a new client within X amount of days.

The bottom line is important. We all want to land new clients through Facebook, Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. But you should be very wary of someone who says he or she can get you a new client through social media in two days or two weeks (or any specified time period).

Digital marketing can help your business in a multitude of ways. It will increase brand mentions across the Web, create communities based around your products or services, and, yes, maybe bring in new business. But there isn’t a set timeline. It takes dedication, consistency, and skill.

4. You need to be happy all the time.

There are no rules when it comes to social media. Yes, you should mind your manners most of the time, but act like yourself once in a while.

You know why social media marketers get a bad rap sometimes? It’s because some act as though everything is amazing 24×7. You know the type—they make me want to run for the hills. Seriously, you can’t be that happy all the time.

Act human. We all have our ups and downs. Don’t rant about your clients and/or your relationship mishaps, but feel free to vent about what gets you down. Get it out in a blog post. Other people are probably having the same issues, and maybe your words will help.

5. You should give up your real life for your online life.

Everyone I know online has gone through this at one point. We get that “ah-ha! moment” when everything clicks. We land our first client through a Twitter exchange, or get a referral through Facebook, and we’re hooked.

Instead of setting aside X hours per day to use social media, we make it our life. Even when we leave our house, we’re checking in online through our smartphones. This is when your real-life relationships start to fail. You know those people who check their phones 55 times during dinner? Don’t become one. Unplug. Detach. Untether. We’ll be here when you get back—promise.

Have any more to share? Please share them in the comments below.

Samantha Collier, a well-known social media personality in the legal world, works as the chief content manager at Shift Digital Media. She is obsessed with social media and loves to be the first to break a story. Read more about Samantha here.

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