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The 5 Biggest Myths About Social Media in Marketing

The 5 Biggest Myths About Social Media in Marketing

By smallbiztrends, Guest Blogger
Published: November 8, 2012


Social media, as with anything new, is sometimes misunderstood.  People either overinflate or underestimate the value and importance of it. And that’s not the only things they get wrong.  Often they misunderstand what it takes to incorporate social media into your marketing. Here are 5 of the biggest social media myths about using social media in marketing:

Myth #1 - Social Media is Not Real Marketing

If you’re still thinking that social media is a fad and will eventually fade away, I have news for you: I hope you aren’t holding your breath.

It’s true that social media sites come and go. At one time, MySpace was the hot darling, as was Friendster, Orkut and others whose names are slowly becoming mere memories or are struggling to try to reinvent themselves. The big social sites today for small businesses include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and one day soon, Google+.

But even if the social media sites we are using today die, the behavior of using social media is not going away.

The 2012 Local Search Study found that the number of people using social media to look for local business information has increased 67 percent. There are now 15% using social media to find information about local businesses. That may not sound like a lot, but if there are 100,000 potential buyers within a 50-mile radius of your business, and 15% are turning to Twitter or Facebook, that’s 15,000. Not a meaningless number.

Myth #2 – Social Media Is Fine for Teenagers, but Not My Serious Business Customers

According to a February 2012 Pew Internet study, 66% of online adults are using social media sites. As of August:

  • 12% of online adults use Pinterest
  • 12% of online adults use Instagram
  • 66% use Facebook
  • 20% use LinkedIn
  • 16% use Twitter

Facebook now has one billion users.

So unless your customers are holed up in the backwoods somewhere without access to the Internet, chances are those percentages are reflected in your target market.

We have seen the consumerization of technology, and that includes how we use the Web. People increasingly start using technology (such as smartphones) and websites for their personal lives.  Then once it becomes a comfortable habit, it bleeds over into their work lives. Social media is just one more example of this.

Myth # 3: The Best Person to Run a Social Media Campaign is a Teenager or Young Person

The news is replete with stories of big brands that run into social media trouble because someone makes a post on social media using poor judgment – either unprofessional sounding, or insulting someone or some group. Or it can be a simple mistake, such as posting a tweet using a company Twitter handle instead of a personal handle, because of having both accounts in a central tweeting tool such as Hootsuite. It’s all too easy to make a mistake like that. 

Not only that, just because someone is “young” doesn’t mean he or she knows anything about marketing. And if you’re using social media as part of your marketing mix, wouldn’t you want someone who understands marketing at the helm of that effort? Wouldn’t you want them to have a grasp on marketing strategy, understand something about executing marketing campaigns, know how to use and interpret analytical data to measure the effectiveness of various efforts, know how to deal with customer complaints, and so on?

Always keep the end goal of your staffing in mind – and remember that if you’re using social media for marketing, putting your best marketing foot forward is what you want to have confidence your staff can do.

Myth #4:  People Will Say Negative Things About Us

You know what? If people are going to say bad things about your brand, or your products or services, then they have plenty of places to do that online. They don’t need your Facebook Page to do that – they have their own Facebook Profile with their own followers they can spout off to.

Now, I will say that if you have a Facebook Page or a Google+ Page for your business, there is a chance that disgruntled customers may come over and say something negative on it. But wouldn’t you rather know that immediately and have the opportunity to address it and turn things around? 

Rather than fearing social media and plunging your head into the sand, you’d be better off developing strategies to deal with complaints effectively. And train your employees.

According to the Harris Interactive/Right Now Customer Experience Impact Report, 50% of consumers give companies a week to respond before they decide to stop doing business with them. You have a chance to save an unhappy customer and show others that you are responsive.  Or you can sit back and let unhappy people keep blasting you on their own venues. It’s up to you.

Myth # 5: Nobody Cares What We Think or Write About

One of the big questions by companies is, “What in the world do we write about on Twitter or our Facebook page?” It does take some work to develop a winning strategy. But don’t let a little hard work stop you. 

Don’t think about social media as a place to just send off an endless stream of mini-advertisements for your products and services. Nobody wants to read ads all the time. They want information; they want to connect. And yes, perhaps they want special discounts – but not a steady stream of “buy it now” type of message.

In fact, people do care about what your business and you have to say.

My advice is to step back and ask: how do we add value to our customers? When we’ve provided information in the past, what has resonated with them? What do they ask for when sales and customer service reps talk with them? If you don’t know, ask your sales team and your customer support team, because they will know.

Those are the 5 big myths we hear about.  Hat tip to Lisa Barone, one of the writers on my site, who put together an article on social media myths that I drew inspiration from for this article.  What myths do you see, or what questions do you have?

About the Author:

Anita Campbell

Guest Blogger

My name is Anita Campbell. I run online communities and information websites reaching over 6 million small business owners, stakeholders and entrepreneurs annually, including Small Business Trends, a daily publication about small business issues, and, a small business social media site.