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Mythbusting Social Media

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[ Social Media]

In my work here at a social media agency, I’ve been noticing recurring trends in false perceptions and misconceptions of social media and social media marketing from new prospects and clients alike.

As a result, I decided to clear things up with some good ol’ fashioned mythbusted.jpg busting.

1. “Social Media is free.”

- True. Most of the social media tools are in fact free to use. So why is there cost involved with social media marketing? Just like in PR, you pay for the time and expertise of staff to brand, promote, and develop quality content. While some companies are hesitant to pay for a social media agency, often times this will save the company internal resources and provide them with strategy, direction, and results. Just because it is free doesn’t always mean effective.

2. “Social Media gives ideas and content away that you should charge for.”

- False. To put it quite simply – the more you give, the more you will receive in social media. Quit thinking that everything you produce is proprietary. In social media, if you want to be the “expert,” you must prove it.

3. “We can create a Viral Campaign for you – NOW!”

– False. Organic viral is difficult to promise or replicate. Why? Because the results are ultimately in the hands of the audience and a number of other variables. While we can design a strategic campaign to incite numerous conversations, we cannot ultimately control the splash it will have. Beware of agencies that promise this.

4. “There is no measurable ROI of Social Media.”

– False. While this is topic is still a debate among the social media community and marketers – this is undebatable to me. If anything – social media has shown huge ROI through increased search engine optimization alone – for Ignite this has resulted in higher organic search results. What has this translated to? A quantifiable number of new business leads, in addition to brand positioning that lets us into the conversations of our target audience.

5. “Social Media is for Tweens, Teens, and Twenty-Somethings”

- False. Contrary to the perception that social media is for the “kids”, older demographics are evolving into this space rapidly. Take a look at this past year – LinkedIn made a storm through corporate America, niche networking sites like CafeMom have exploded, and according to BusinessWeek, Facebook’s 35-and-up crowd now accounts for more than 41 percent of all Facebook visitors (after all, if Jim is getting friends his own age).

6. “Social networking will replace networking”

– False. As my new Twitter friend Peter Shankman noted, “Social networking is not going to replace networking. Only complement it.” If you want to be a successful networker in your business and personal life – you must use the two together.

7. “Social media isn’t really work.”

– False. Merely throwing up a blog isn’t going to get you traffic and merely writing about things that pop into your head isn’t likely going to make you an authority on anything. Regardless of what the common attitude is, it takes work to get results.

8. “Social Media is a Fad.”

– False. This past year, the popularity of social media has been everywhere – resulting in a “buzz” that many marketers are remaining skeptical about . In fact, many are hesitating to expend resources or budgets in what appears to be another fad. But yet, social media is obviously more than this, when it is understood. It is a fundamental shift in communication – it isn’t just new “tools”, but new ways of networking, communicating, organizing, and living. It is becoming intertwined in lifestyles – which means it is here to stay.

9. “Blogging is too scary.”

– False. Many companies are scared to death of blogging for fear of negative reactions or simply “messing up”. They are quite surprised when I tell them that 1) Comments can be monitored to filter out spam and trash from the “valuable” negative comments and can be a helpful way to hear customer feedback; and 2) the social media community is open, honest, and more forgiving than they think. Even companies that have bellyflopped into social media (ex. Jet Blue and Dell) have recovered by admitting mistakes and moving on.

10. “Social Media Marketing is placing Ads on Facebook.”

– False. I can’t stress this enough – but placing banner ads on Facebook is not equivalent to social media marketing. It’s advertising and it always will be.

Can you think of any more social media or social media marketing myths out there that need to be cleared up? I’d love to hear them!

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