Six Social Media Marketing Myths Debunked

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Social media is just a fad.

This is no fad. Social media is evolution at work. When I was a kid, there were three major television broadcasters and a handful of local TV stations. Now anyone can be a broadcaster on YouTube. There were a couple dozen radio stations. Now anyone can put together their own podcasts. Now anyone can write their own blog or set up their own website. Social media will continue to evolve; even the really big platforms like Facebook may be very different in a few years, but the basic idea of sharing ideas and content is not going to go away. The Genie is out of the bottle and won’t be going back in.

Social media is complicated.

 Naw, it just seems that way. Don’t get put off because there are new platforms, new tools and new lingo. All social media marketing comes down to three things:

We have content we want to get out to a network of people to accomplish a purpose.

That’s all you’re doing. The content is whatever you decide it will be. There are a lot of different networks that can be used alone or in combination. You can use a lot of them, or just one. And you can have multiple purposes behind your SMM efforts, or just one. “We’re going to publish articles on quality on our company blog in order to increase sales leads.” How complicated was that?

Anyone can do it.

This is the evil flip side of the “it’s too complicated” coin. Social media marketing requires a solid plan, a lot of co-ordination, buy-in throughout your organization, and a willingness to see it through. There’s a big difference between anyone can do it, and anyone can do it well.

None of our customers are on social media.

More of them are on social media than you think. IBM found in a survey that 75% of their potential customers said they were likely to use social media in the future as part of their purchasing decisions (, Feb. 15, 2012). And social media is the same as any other marketing effort. Not everyone reads the magazine you advertise in, and not everyone goes to the trade show where you are exhibiting. Similarly, not everyone will see your content on the social media you select.

Social media marketing is a waste of time.

This myth is similar to the “anyone can do it” myth. This myth grows out of the failed SMM experiments that companies have conducted. They put up a Facebook page and populate it with their press releases. And then they wonder why they got no reaction. Or they start a blog with great intentions, posting several times a month. But they get no interest, so the posting falls off until the blog is a ghost town. These companies confuse their misdirected efforts as the fault of SMM. SMM is like any other tool. Wielded improperly, your results aren’t going to be very good.

Facebook? My kids are on Facebook.

And so are companies like Cisco Systems. Cisco’s main Facebook page had 258,000 “likes” when I visited it at recently. Those aren’t 258,000 kids liking a switch and router manufacturer. Those are 258,000 potential customers Cisco is talking to. Would you like to trade places with Cisco and have 258,000 people “liking” your company? I thought so.

Let your competitors continue to believe the myths. Meanwhile focus on objectives, targets and business results for your social media Marketing. Take the lead and stay there.   

Bruce Johnston is a sales consultant specializing in social media. He has over 25 years' experience in high-tech sales and management, most recently as general manager of a PCB manufacturer. He can be reached through his website or through his profile on LinkedIn.


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