You already know how important social media is to your marketing efforts, and even though its popularity rises and falls over time, the audience is only going to grow. The number of people using social media in one form or another is expected to rise from 2.6 billion to 4.4 billion by 2025.
But bigger doesn’t always mean better, whether you’re talking about marketing budgets or numbers of followers on Instagram. That’s a myth that can lead to disappointment when your quarterly review shows ROI that may not have met expectations.
Understanding the nuances of managing social media channels can make all the difference in how you measure success or failure.
Social Media Myths
Myth No. 1: You must immediately join every social media network.
Before creating a presence for your company on any social platform, ask yourself, “Will spending my time and effort on this platform actually help our growth?” Pick the most essential platforms and commit to creating quality content.
If you worked for a bank, for example, you might find greater success focusing on Instagram, where the audience includes younger adults and is open to information about accounts, than on Pinterest, where people are in a mindset to look for craft ideas and fashion inspiration.
The idea is to engage with visitors who are most likely to want to invest — both in your company and with your company.
Myth No. 2: All of your followers are there for the same reason.
People may follow you because they love your brand. Or because they are looking for bargains. Or because they want to work for you. In most cases, you may never know.
That’s why it’s important for you to know who your desired audience is so you can create a content plan that attracts and engages the audience you are seeking. Are you trying to gain new customers or engage your existing customers more? It matters because the messaging won’t be the same in both cases.
You can’t control the reasons someone follows your brand, but you can control what you show them. In the end, you will get the social media following you deserve.
Myth No. 3: You can ignore negative feedback and suffer no consequences.
It may be tempting to brush off negative comments on your social channels as “trolling,” but ignoring or deleting these messages can be detrimental to your company’s reputation and credibility.
If you don’t provide a thoughtful response to negative feedback, you communicate that you don’t care about issues customers may have with a product or service and aren’t accountable as a company. Deleting comments is even worse, possibly making your brand come off as shady.
Sometimes a thoughtful response means you need to acknowledge and address the issue. Sometimes it means you need to stand firm and restate your brand values. But every time, you must be true to your company voice and tone.
Myth No. 4: The more followers, the better.
Waking up to see that K or M next to their brand’s Instagram follower count is the daydream for many social media marketers — but is it the most important thing to strive for?
Many companies will buy followers or lure them with offers, but doing so without properly engaging them doesn’t build customer loyalty. If you must choose between having more followers who never engage with your brand or having a small following that is highly active, the latter should always win.
Besides, focusing energy and attention on supporting and engaging your active followers is the recipe for organic growth — the right mix of quality and quantity.
Myth No. 5: Posting is easy — you just promote on all platforms!
Have you scrolled on McDonald’s Twitter or Instagram feeds lately? Rarely do they directly promote a specific product and even more rarely do they post the same content on each platform. Those thousands of engagements and millions of loyal followers didn’t happen by accident — it took serious planning to produce quality and engaging posts.
Posting on social media is a two-way relationship. Don’t bombard your followers with only promotional content but provide something of substance to keep them engaged. Only a small percentage of your content should be promotional.
And definitely don’t take the easy way out by copying and pasting the same post to every platform. Each platform is unique, with a specific audience. Your audience should receive the right message in the right place, at the right time.
Myth No. 6: Your brand is more important than your people.
Brands aren’t made up of logos and marketable phrases — they’re made up of people who have their own stories and connections. Don’t forget that your employees hold a lot of power when it comes to sharing your message.
See the value in your employees and the stories they have to offer. They’re your best ambassadors, and you never know how someone’s mother’s sister’s next-door neighbor could be impacted by their words.
Myth No. 7: Social media marketing can stand on its own.
This is one of the biggest myths keeping your company from achieving its full potential. Social media marketing strategies are like any other strategy — they excel when used with other tactics.
Social media isn’t a marketing solution on its own — but it’s part of the solution. Your website, email and in-person experience should complement one another as part of your broader brand positioning.
Remember that the people you reach on social media are just like you. If you treat them the way you want to be treated by the brands you follow, you’ll build more meaningful relationships.
Like any other marketing tool, social media doesn’t hold a magic solution. It requires you to be thoughtful in your approach and hold true to your voice and tone so that your values cut through the noise.