5 Myths About Social Media

My mind space has been unusually preoccupied with social  media this week. I’m working with two clients to jump-start their social marketing efforts. In preparing materials I’ve been on the look out for case studies, fresh approaches and practical advice. There is no shortage of blog posts, articles or LinkedIn groups projecting ideas and suggestions. But I’m surprised by the number of myths that still appear to dominate much of the conversation.  Queue “Myth Busters” theme music; we’re going social media myth busting!

Myth #1  Separate and better

Perhaps because social channels are relatively new, or maybe it’s because they are growing at such an exploding rate, but social media is most often discussed as a separate but better beast than our traditional marketing vehicles. While it is true social is different from other forms of communication the most effective programs integrate traditional and non-traditional outreach into a multi-faceted campaign. When you stop thinking of social as something separate, a wide world of efficiency and integration opens up amazing possibilities. Instead of separate and better, social should be Integrated and Integral!

Myth #2 It’s a full-time job

For more complex organizations there certainly is a role for dedicated social media managers. They play an important education and coordinating function. However, that doesn’t give the rest of us a free pass. Social media has become a part of all of our jobs – from marketing & sales, to customer support and product management. And it can’t, nor should it, become our full-time job. Many of us fall into the trap that we must monitor and respond to social channels in an interrupt driven model with constant check-ins and almost obsessive compulsion. Yet most of us can’t make the time for that type of model. As a result, we either slack off in other responsibilities, or we never fully engage our social communities. I’m here to tell you – you CAN do social as part of your day with the same scheduled discipline as the rest of your responsibilities.

Myth #3  Your blog is the center of all things social

Writing a blog is a great way to document your opinions, improve search engine optimization and create discipline around developing thought leadership platforms. I encourage organizations to blog. But it isn’t where social has to start. Many people find blogging an overwhelming experience, or lack the editorial discipline to maintain a blog regularly. Blogging doesn’t have to be the center of your social strategy.  If the medium doesn’t work well for you – skip it. Instead focus on commenting on other people’s posts, engage actively in LinkedIn group discussions, Tweet like a rock star.

Myth #4 Go viral or go home

Create it and they will come, boy do I wish this was true. But it’s not.  Good content and fresh ideas are really important tools, but no one will know about them just because you created it. Instead syndicate your ideas across multiple places, talk about important concepts when you meet people, invite others to join the conversation. And if at first you don’t see traction, keep going. After all, would you stop calling on a friend the first time they declined a dinner invitation?

Myth #5 Bigger is better

Social media isn’t a volume game. It is a quality engagement game. Yes, you want to grow your influence. You want to engage a community of people. BUT it isn’t about how many people I’m linked to, or how many subscribe to my twitter feed. It’s about how many people who matter to my business with which I’m engaged. For some that’s 500, for others its 500,000. Measure your success against your goals not others.

What myths would you like to dispel? Did I miss any?