Debunked: 5 Myths of Social Media Marketing

September 09th, 2019

Katrina Duff

Digital Marketing Specialist

jigsaw puzzle pieces

As a marketing and creative agency, nothing grinds our gears more than seeing misinformation circulated around the industry. Not only does it not help the end client, it does a disservice to the industry as a whole.

We believe the best decisions are informed decisions, and the best client relationships are based on trust. That’s why we’re taking today to shed light on some of the biggest misconceptions surrounding social media marketing.

Whether you handle social media in-house or contract it out elsewhere, be educated. Be strategic. And don’t fall into the traps these myths provide.

 

Myth #1. Social Media is all you need.

In a world so reliant on digital platforms, it’s easy to think that social media can meet all your marketing needs. After all, millions of users are active every day and go to these platforms for news, new products, celebrity gossip, selling products, and even finding recommendations for a new dentist. 

Businesses market on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) in an endeavor to meet their customers where they’re already choosing to spend their time. With effective targeting and strategy, you can deliver content to Jane Doe when she’s already thinking about your product or services. 

However, social media is only one piece of the overall marketing puzzle. On average, it takes 7-8 exposures to your brand to solidify your reputation in the mind of consumers or lead to a sale. To depend solely on social media is to miss out on other valuable touchpoints such as the in-store experience, billboards, personal communication, etc. (For more on the importance of brand consistency, check out this blog post by one of our Brand Strategists.)

More importantly, social media marketing is like playing on someone else’s playground.

Each platform makes its own rules and can change them without any prior notice to the consumers/businesses that use it. In recent news, “Instagram deleted popular accounts without giving them an opportunity to appeal the decision. And that’s perfectly fine, technically speaking, because Instagram can do what it wants with its own platform.”- Search Engine Journal

Unlike a website, which is an owned property, you have no ownership of your social media pages, contacts, or followers. Platforms can suspend, delete, or throttle the reach of pages at any point. It’s currently estimated that organic posts from business pages reach as little as 5% of their total following - sometimes as little as 2%. All that work you’ve done to build your follower count over 10,000? You may only be reaching 200 people. 

Still think social media is your silver bullet?

 

Myth #2. Social Media is free marketing.

To put it simply, there’s no such thing as free lunch.

Even if you’re not putting dollars directly into your social media content in the form of ad spend, there’s still a price tag to social media: Time.

Time to strategize, create content, take photos, write captions. Time to respond to client/customer questions, reviews, complaints. Time to engage with users on each platform to maintain and grow your following. Time to analyze data, report, and optimize efforts. Not to mention the time it takes to stay up-to-date on best practices and the rules of the road in an ever-changing digital landscape.

 

Myth #3. Anyone can manage your social media, it’s not a big deal.

Alternative phrasing: “Social media will handle itself, just post what you can.”

Every social media post from your business is a touch point in the consumer journey, offering the opportunity to reinforce your brand or tear it down. If you haven’t read our blog post about Why Brand Consistency Matters, this would be a great time to do so.

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Aside from the time and expertise problems we addressed while debunking Myth #2, it’s also extremely important that your social media presence is handled by someone who truly understands your brand, mission, and goals. By handing over the login information to your business’ social media accounts, you’re allowing someone to represent your business online. 

Will they use the right brand voice and approved imagery? Do they know what they can say or cannot claim? Will they appropriately handle privileged information about your business or clients? Have they been trained to de-escalate any situations that require it?

Your social media person also needs to be well informed about policies and procedures, particularly if you are in a prominent public space or healthcare industry. HIPPA applies to social media in unique ways that require specific training - and can have legal repercussions.

Still think the intern who’s been there for a week should run your social?

 

Myth #4. You should post on every platform.

Facebook, YouTube (yes, it’s a social media platform too), Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, Ask.fm, Tumblr, Flickr, LinkedIn… I’m getting a headache just typing this list and we’ve only touched on 10 of the top platforms. And then, of course, new apps are constantly coming onto the scene. 

Pick too many platforms, and your quality is likely to suffer. Pick platforms haphazardly, and you’re unlikely to reach your intended audience.

Of the 65+ social media platforms out there, how do you know which is right for you?

Know your audience, study where they spend their time, and strategize how best to deliver your brand promise to them - without being perceived as an annoyance or interruption. 

 

Myth #5. Content is King.

If you’ve read anything about digital marketing in recent days, you’ve seen this phrase - often recited alongside pleas to “keep your website updated” or “add a blog” or “post on social media.”

But if content is King, then strategy is Queen (and we all know which is the more powerful piece in chess).

Your social strategy is determined by your brand strategy and, in turn, impacts every decision you make online - including how you respond to the aforementioned myths. A dental office, for example, may only post twice a week on Facebook, while a beer brand posts daily on Instagram and Facebook and uses Instagram stories at events. A digital marketing agency may use Instagram as a visual portfolio, while a medical clinic may ignore it altogether and focus their efforts on LinkedIn.

 

Ready to talk with someone about developing a social media strategy? We’re here to help.