Social Media

5 Lies About Social Media: Debunked

There's a lot out there about social media. Let's set the record straight.

The social media conversation is an arena flooded with an innumerable amount of voices. These voices belong to marketing and public relations practitioners, self-proclaimed “gurus,” critics, analysts, business people, casual users and spectators.

Don’t get me wrong–I’m all for allowing other people to share their opinions. Unfortunately, however, where there are a lot of voices, there are a lot of misconceptions that arise.

Here are the top five social media lies I’ve heard lately that are just plain wrong:

1.) “Social media is dying.”

This is probably the most circulated lie I’ve heard in the recent year. Supporters of the “social media is dying” movement accredit their claims with three primary reasons: what they see to be a decrease in platform usage, growing citizen privacy concerns and an overall bitterness with irrelevant content/ads.

As I mentioned in an article addressing this topic in depth, I combat these points with the following:

  • MySpace’s demise doesn’t determine the fate of the entire social media universe.
  • Smartphones made social media powerful, and smartphones aren’t going anywhere.
  • Social media has successfully integrated into our lives.
  • Social media usage (according to many data sources) has only grown over the years.
  • And finally, it’s no longer a question of, “Is  social media dying,” it’s a question of, “How is it changing?”

2.) “Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… It’s all the same.”

This misconception comes particularly from spectators of social media. They try to lump all social media platforms–and the way you should approach them–into a singular category.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are social media platforms. But the way you approach each one is different. In fact, your approach could be radically different depending on who your target audience is.

3.) “Everybody needs to be on social media.”

Another over generalization is that everyone–every business, individual and entity–should be in the social media realm.

That couldn’t be further from the truth either. Resources are too often spent on marketing communications assets that aren’t necessary. Businesses, individuals and entities should be evaluating their needs from an objective standpoint including a lot of factors.

This dispassionate analysis will reveal whether they need social media tactics included in their overall strategy or not.

4.) “We need to post as much as we possibly can–that will help us get the word out.”

Unfortunately posting more won’t help you get the word out there better, faster or stronger. It does quite the opposite.

The last thing your audience wants is to be flooded with a storm of updates on any platform. Much how we defined that each platform isn’t the same, the rate at which you post on each platform isn’t the same either. For instance, your Facebook strategy may include one post per day while your Twitter strategy may open up content sharing to three to four times a day because Twitter is a high-turnover platform.

5.) “Everyone in our organization should be able to post.”

Last, but certainly not least, is this little lie here.

Yes, in a perfect world–a world vacant of conflict and plentiful with beer, cocktails and siestas at every turn–everyone in your organization would be able to post. The problem is that we don’t live in a perfect world, and when the permission to engage is shared with everyone on your staff some serious issues emerge.

It may start with simple inconsistencies here and there, but it almost always ends up with a flood of irrelevant, inconsistent, random and poor content. It also opens the door to major bloopers that may harm your brand beyond repair.

The truth of the matter is that like every other area of marketing communications in your life, you need an overarching plan. Within that plan, you need a hierarchal structure–a team to get it done.

Here’s the team I usually recommend for small-to-midsize businesses:

  • Content brainstormers (everyone can participate here)
  • Content creators (designers, writers)
  • Final editor and scheduler of content (one person who maintains consistency)

What lies about social media have you heard?

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