For small businesses and even social media managers, social media can often feel like a minefield. Not only is social media changing at the speed of light, it can be difficult to know what information to listen to and what advice to follow.
With so many self-proclaimed “social media experts” out there, how do you know who you can trust and what you should do, or more importantly, what you should avoid doing? To help, take a look below at our top 5 social media myths that you should ignore:
You need as many followers as possible When social media was in its early days, people believed that the more followers you had, the more influence and popularity you had. However, this is not true at all. These days, we recognise that there is a big difference between having a million unengaged followers, and a thousand who hang on your every word. If you have a million followers, it might look good to someone who doesn’t use social media, but if none of your followers are actually buying from you, does it really matter? Instead, focus your attention on building a community among your existing followers. Whether there are ten, a hundred or a thousand, make sure you really engage with them and make them feel valued as your audience. If you can do this, and they engage with you, your social media activities will be much more successful.
Don’t cross post One of the biggest social media myths out there is that you should never post the same content across all your social media accounts. Don’t forget that your followers may not be on all social networks and so if you share an Instagram image, for example, some of your audience may only be on Facebook and therefore won’t see it. That being said, it’s not good practice to use the exact same post on multiple channels, so try to vary the post text on each account slightly. Also, don’t set your Twitter to automatically update your Facebook Page as this can appear spammy and it will be clear what you’re doing. Similarly, posting from Facebook to Twitter doesn’t work because of Twitter’s character limit. That said, automatically sharing your Instagram photos to both Facebook and Twitter can often work well.
You need to be on every platform Many of us believe the social media myth that we need to be on every single social media platform, from Facebook and Twitter to Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Vimeo, Periscope, Pinterest and LinkedIn. It is a good idea to visit every platform and to set up an account there, so your name can’t be taken by someone else. However, you don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of time there, unless you really think your ideal customer is spending time there too. Make sure you consider what platforms your customers are on and don’t spread yourself too thinly. It’s better to be on just 1 account if you manage it well, rather than 10 accounts that are all managed badly.
You don’t need social media Possibly the most damaging social media myth for a small business is the idea that you don’t need it. Whether you’re a B2B or B2C business, social media can benefit you. These days, when we want to find a service or know about something, we don’t pick up the phone book. We often don’t even turn to a computer. We pick up our mobile phone and head to social media to ask our friends for recommendations or suggestions. If customers can’t find you on social media when a friend mentions your company, they are likely to just go with the next suggestion on the list that does have a page they can browse through. It’s important to remember that whether you have a social media presence or not, your customers will still be talking about you.
You’re too old for social media You might feel like you’re too old to learn how to use social media for your business, or that it is reserved solely for young millennials, with cutting-edge start-up businesses. However, you would be wrong. In actual fact, the average age on Facebook is increasing, as more and more older people flock to it. Not only are you not too old for social media, neither are your potential customers. They’re probably already using social media to keep track of what their friends and families are up to.
There are so many social media myths floating about, it can be hard to know what to believe. The one thing you definitely should believe is that social media is here to stay, and if you want your business to be too, you need to have a presence there.
Have you come across any other social media myths that we’ve not included in our list? Share them with us in the comment box below, or tweet us @DynamicBusiness.
About the author
Elizabeth Harmon is a writer for Open Colleges, one of Australia’s leading online education providers. She is a Freelance Social Media Consultant with several years of experience in her field. Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Harmon.