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4 commonly-believed social media myths (and the truths behind them)

4 commonly-believed social media myths (and the truths behind them)

Posted 28th May, 2019 by William

At this point in time, there’s no doubt that social media has become an essential tool for any business owner. In fact, around 91 per cent of retail brands use two or more platforms. However, the widespread popularity of social media has also led to the circulation of several myths.

If your view of social media is based on these myths, this can have a negative impact on your marketing efforts. A more realistic approach, based on facts, will help you produce better results and avoid potential hidden costs.

In this post, we’ll explain why myths about social media are so commonplace as well as debunk some of the most frequently believed misconceptions.

Why social media myths are commonplace

As of January 2019, there were about 3.4 billion active social media users. To put that into perspective, the world’s population currently stands at around 7.7 billion. On average, people have five personal social media accounts and spend 116 minutes a day browsing them.

In other words, social media is incredibly popular. While this can be a good thing in many ways, it has also resulted in plenty of widespread misconceptions. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact root of these myths, although online blogs can be a major contributor.

Although many blogs are highly informative, they’re also shaped by their writers’ opinions. For example, if a popular blogger asserts that it’s necessary to create an account with every single social platform, those seeking guidance may take that advice as gospel and spread it further – whether or not it’s actually true.

It’s important to remember that everything you read online should also be taken with a pinch of salt, regardless of its source. Blog posts can be sponsored by companies who are trying to boost sales, for example, and they can also be influenced by personal experience.

Instead, you’ll want to take the time to research what it takes to craft a successful social media marketing strategy, before getting started. This will help you understand the steps you’ll need to take and the budget you’ll want to have ready.

4 commonly-believed social media myths (and the truths behind them)

When used effectively, social media is an incredibly powerful tool – but only if you understand how it really works. With that in mind, here are four of the most commonly-believed social media myths, along with the real story behind them.

1. Social media is a completely free marketing method

This is perhaps the most common myth and it’s easy to see where it comes from. Signing up for a social media account is almost always free and you don’t have to pay to post basic content.

However, if you want your social presence to have a real impact, you’ll likely need to make some investments. For instance, paid ads can be almost essential to social media success. Prices vary from platform to platform, and the final fees will depend on the length and style of your campaign.

On the positive side, this means you can fully tailor your campaign to the needs of your business:

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You’ll also want to consider the cost of management tools such as SproutSocial. While these solutions aren’t mandatory, the automation and analytics functionality they provide can be very beneficial but will come at a cost.

2. You need an account on every social platform

When starting out, many businesses will create accounts with every popular social media site out there, believing that’s the key to success. In reality, this method is likely to stretch your available resources and deliver disappointing results.

Before signing up for any platforms, it’s important to do some preliminary research. Establish your desired target audience and focus your efforts on the platforms they most commonly use. For example, millennials tend to frequent Instagram, whereas 30 to 49 year-olds favour Facebook.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should pick one channel and stick to it. It is important to vary your approach but make sure there’s a valid reason behind every profile you maintain. Poorly-managed channels may create a negative image of your brand. Therefore, it’s usually better to start small and add new platforms over time.

3. The same content can be used across all channels

Since time and resources are limited, it’s often easier for business owners to create a single post and push it out to all of their platforms. Although this approach will help to keep your accounts active, a successful social media marketing strategy takes each platform’s unique characteristics into account.

Different types of content work best on each social channel. Consider Twitter, for example. Its strict character cap means that the long-form posts you write for other channels simply can’t be used there. Plus, while text-based content works well on some sites, videos receive by far the most engagement on Facebook.

On other platforms, it’s best to vary your approach. You can see success on Instagram through many types of content, although photos are still very popular. Ultimately, playing to the strengths of each individual site will help you develop a more targeted strategy.

4. Social sites are only useful as a sales tool

Although increasing sales is most likely the main reason you began using social media, your established channels can be useful in a wide variety of ways. For example, you can use social platforms to network with other brands and establish mutually-beneficial relationships.

Social media sites are also a great place to deliver customer service. When doing so, it’s important not to adopt an overly-corporate tone. People can tell when you’re responding merely to sell them something and may turn away as a result. 61 per cent of consumers report that avoiding pushy tactics creates a more positive sales experience.

The best thing about using social media for customer service is that it’s easier to inject some personality. You can use GIFs and humour where appropriate and respond to any customer queries in a friendly manner. The Wendy’s brand account is a great example of how to do this; their strategy drives sales but remains personable and relatable.

Conclusion

While the ongoing popularity of social media can be a good thing, it has caused some myths to become commonplace. An unrealistic view of what social media can offer you is likely to result in disappointment, so it’s important to understand the truth behind those common beliefs.

Let’s recap what we’ve covered about social media:

  • Using social media is free but you may need to invest financially to see the best results.
  • It’s better to focus on a small handful of platforms than to spread yourself too thin.
  • The content you post on each site should be tailored to its unique strengths and audience.
  • Social media is useful for much more besides direct sales, such as networking and customer service.

Categories: Tips, Marketing, Small Businesses

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