There is no question that we are completely entrenched in the digital age. As such, there is certainly no shortage of organizations online and particularly, in the social media sphere. At this point, it is the very rare company that does not have at least a Facebook account. However, despite the pervasiveness of social media, there are still many misconceptions that a lot of individuals, as well as organizations, have, in regard to it.
- It Is Easy – Hard as it may be to believe, the truth is there are many who still believe social media promotion and marketing is easy. When I explain what I do as a content marketer to individuals who don’t understand it, I get many comments along the lines of, “you get paid just to post on Facebook? Anybody can do that.” Yes, many are still under the impression that social media posting in a professional capacity, involves simply making random comments, updates, etc. And to say that is untrue would be a gross understatement. As is the case with any type of promotion and communication activity by an organization, there is a strategy involved with having a successful social media presence. It includes having a clear and concise plan detailing the organization’s goal, objectives, tactics, etc. Without that road map, an organization’s social media efforts will likely fail and be completely ineffective.
- You Should be on Every Channel – Another very common and at times costly misconception is that an organization should be on as many popular social media channels as possible. This is simply not true and in many cases, doing so results in a number of poorly developed channels. I am firm believer in that it is always best to start slow and build over time. Therefore, establishing two or three channels that are regularly updated with fresh and engaging content is best and if need be, over time add more. It is also important to remember that every social media channel has its own pros and cons, audience, benefits, etc. And thus, your organization and its brand may not really fit with a particular social media channel.
- It is Free – As the old adage goes, “nothing in life is free” and the same holds for social media. Yes, most channels merely require a valid email address to create an account but the fact is most organizations are likely going to engage in some type of sponsored posts/ads to reach a number of people they really want to on social media. Facebook and Twitter, for example, offer targeted ads that can help your organization reach its desired target audience. And using these tools is certainly not free. Also, effective social media management requires experienced manpower and whether or not an organization chooses to find that in the form of outsourcing or hiring a social media team, the fact is it will come at a cost.
- We Only Need Social Media – We’ve all seen and heard the expression, “print is dead.” There are many who believe that traditional advertising is very much a thing of the past and only digital media counts. However, the reality is completely different. Traditional advertising, including print, television and yes radio, is still very much alive and thriving, not to mention very effective if utilized correctly. Another misconception in relation to this factor is that some organizations believe social media is all that matters in regard to their digital marketing efforts. And that is most definitely not the case, as social media is just one aspect of the digital world, which includes email marketing, display advertising, search engine optimization (SEO), etc. Thinking that all a business needs to be successful online is a few social media channels is a complete fallacy that is likely to negatively impact an organization’s bottom line.
- Target Audience is Not on Social Media – Many organizations whose target audience tend to skew a little older, believe that there is no point in using social media because it is for “young people” and therefore not an avenue in which they would reach said audience. That is false. First, research indicates that many older individuals are in fact active on social media. A 2015 Pew Research Center study showed that social media usage among individuals 65 and older has more than tripled since 2010. Once again, the key for many organizations to remember is that it is not necessary to be on every social media channel and so it is important to just find the one where your audience is most likely to be present and simply incorporate that channel into other promotional efforts.
- Any Channel Will Do – Once again, this is absolutely false and in fact, can be a very costly mistake for some organizations. As previously stated, all social media channels have their pros and cons, as well as specific target audiences. Therefore, every channel is not going to be perfect for every business and for every objective. And this is just one more reason it is essential organizations plan and create a concise social media strategy before fully utilizing it. This would help establish what goals and objectives the organization want to accomplish and knowing that will help better identify what channels will work best.
- It is Time-Consuming – There are many organizations, particularly small businesses that believe they simply do not have the time or the manpower necessary to maintaining a well-developed and successful social media presence. While it is true that creating and maintaining a solid social media presence is not easy, it becomes far less time consuming if one has a well-defined plan, including an editorial calendar of when to post what and where. Having that clear roadmap makes a world of difference.
- It Can’t be Measured – This is probably one of the most common misconceptions and one that is in fact perpetuated by many in the industry. It is true that there is no unanimously agreed upon industry measurement for social media. And it is also true that because it moves so quickly, with new channels popping up every two years or so, it makes it harder to create one standard for measurement. However, to say that social media efforts simply cannot be measured is grossly inaccurate. There are many measurement tools for measuring the success or failure of an organization’s social media efforts, including, but not limited to, shares, likes, comments, click-thru-rate, bounce rate, etc. All of these and much more help to measure the level of engagement, reach, and conversion, achieved via the company’s social media efforts.