There are about as many myths about social media as there are social media platforms. Here are a few that I hear and read a lot. I wanted to clear them up for my students. I hope you find them helpful too.
1. Social media are a fad.
Social media allow people to communicate and interact. They build community. That will never go out of style. The tools may change, but online communication isn’t going anywhere.
2. Social media are just for young people.
Social media have a diverse population. More than 70 percent of American adults use social networking sites, according to the Pew Research Center’s most recent report. More than 40 percent of Americans 65 and older use social media, according to the same report.
The return on investment exists for social media marketing, but you must use it correctly up front to be able to measure its impact. The return may not be direct sales, but it is monetary. It’s difficult to put a price on things like loyalty, but it’s easy to see the financial benefit of loyal customers. In fact, 71 percent of shoppers surveyed said they are more likely to purchase a brand because of a social media referral.
4. Social media marketing isn’t right for my business.
Every target audience is online. Social media allow businesses to go to where the consumers are and talk directly to them, without the “middle man” of traditional media. It’s true that not all social media platforms are right for every business, but it’s doubtful that none of them are a fit for yours.
5. Social media marketing is new.
Well… sorta. The marketing concepts used in social media marketing are quite reflective of those in traditional marketing—product, price, placement. and promotion. The communication tools are different.
6. Social media are too time consuming.
Social media will take as much time as you’re willing to give them. The amount of resources you use toward social media depends on the size of the organization and the goals and objectives of your social media use. Make no mistake, social media take time but, if used strategically, it’s time well spent.
7. Social media are free.
This is one of the most annoying perceptions people have about social media. Social media are just not free. Social media accounts are free, but producing and creating promotional materials and content is not. Engagement also isn’t free, unless you think your time has no value, which I’m sure no one does.
8. More posting is better.
More is not necessarily better in social media. Using social media tools strategically to accomplish your organization’s goals and objectives is far more important than posting a lot. In fact, posting a lot may backfire on you if your audience becomes annoyed and disengages.
9. Social media are a free-for-all that allows people to make your company look bad.
It’s true that social media are much less controlled that traditional advertising and marketing mediums. But, guess what? People are already out there talking about your brand. Don’t you think you should be part of that conversation? Social media allow brands to be part of the discussion and help provide solutions to customers’ problems.
These are the social media myths I hear and read most frequently. I hope I’ve explained why I see them as myths instead of facts. What about you?