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The 5 Biggest Myths About Social Media in Marketing

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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.


Thanks for this post. I have come across many people who think that it is the teenagers who use social media and it is not a good idea for marketing. I hope the post will clear various myth related to social media and marketing.
Very informative article Anita. As a woman over 50 who is building an online business and redefining her life I have to admit adding social media was daunting. However, now that I've found a system and mentor to show me the ropes I'm helping other women to use social media in their direct sales businesses successfully, too. Thank you for sharing this information, we need to shout it from the rooftops and get others attention!
We have found that giveaways tend to draw in more social media action, but are still trying to find new ways to grow our social media community.
Social media is a tough sell for dentists! We are looking for as many ideas as possible to get creative with using social media at our practice. So far, we've used it to promote giveaways (trips, ipads, etc), but one area it's a struggle is just day to day engagement. Let's face it, most people FEAR the dentist! Anyone with ideas, please let me know! I am new here and will be soaking up as much as I possibly can. Thanks for all your help, your insights, and for anything at all you can provide that might help.
Social Media was scary for me at first. Mainly because I didn't understand it. Now I find it very useful. If you are not using social media sites like Facebook or twitter you may be losing out.
About 4th myth People Will Say Negative Things About Us: There are positive it as well there are people who leave positive feedback as well. There are companies who provides support on social media sites like twitter. It means how much transparent your business is, In this way you will earn customer's confident. There are sites which provides you coupon code for your shopping on twitter.
Nice article: concise, relatively thorough and insightful. If only social media were this good, then people/businesses would not be so confused. We are in the process of completing, an online marketplace that, among many possibilities, affords businesses/sellers the opportunity to gain immense visibility. To that end, we too have seen that all too many believe that their articles/writings do not matter and that building a brand or gaining visibility, if you prefer, by way of social participation is not a reality. However, nothing is more powerful than a recommendation from a friend which has always been the case long before technology brought us closer together.
The article makes a strong argument for marketing via social media, which is absolutely correct. However it is important that Social Media is just a part of a holistic approach using all the relevant media your target audience is engaging with. Social Media fads change with alarming speed, for example the changes Facebook introduced in September to allegedly 'force' more paid advertising. Use Social media to channel people towards buying decisions and your website where you have complete control over what they see. Are you relying on a Facebook or Google+ page and don't have a website? I'd suggest that you review that strategy.
I agree with you Davis. I like your opinion. Social Media strategy without a website is not worth.
Social media is not the end all for small business marketing. But, it is now becoming a very important piece of your marketing efforts. Marketing is about understanding your customers and then crafting the right message to educate them about your business, your products and what benefits each offers your targeted consumers. Once, the right message is created, you then have to get that message out there - be it traditional advertising like TV, radio and newspaper ads or via social media. The bottom line is that if those customers you are targeting - as well as your current customers - are on social media and tend to get a lot of information there - then your business has to be out there as well or those customers you are targeting might never get your message - messages about new product or discounts for current customers or just letting potential customers know who you are and what your business offers. Being on social media sites is not right for every business. But, if your customers are there and you want to get a message out to them, then your business has to be there as well - like it or not.

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