We’re all familiar with the power of myth. True or false, there are some oft-shared tales that have simply captured the fascination of many, and won’t let go. So, it’s no surprise that social media, whose influence grows daily, would come with a few myths of its own. In this Sixty Seconds for Social, we’re going to bust a few of those myths and expose social media best practices that will help you make the most of this incredible arsenal of tools.
Myth #1: My Customers Don’t Use Social Media
If you’re under the the impression that social media is only used by young people, you’re not alone, but the demographics of social media goes well beyond the 18-24-year-olds. Recent stats from Pew Research show that 79% of Internet users between the ages of 30 and 49 are on Facebook. Twenty-eight percent of that same demographic are on Instagram and 29% on Twitter.
The latest demographic stats are a great way to get a feel for how relevant any social platform is for your brand, but the best way is some straight-up social listening. Go directly to the source and find out where your target audiences are most active. There’s an abundance of social listening tools that can help you get started. If you are new to social listening, we’d recommend starting off with the free and easy-to-use Hootsuite. If you are in the market for some more in-depth tools, we suggest checking out this great list from Fast Company to get you on your way.
Myth #2: You Have to Post All Day, Every Day
As is the case with most things in life, social media is not so much about quantity as quality. You don’t have to be sharing every five minutes as long as you’re smart about what and when you’re posting.
For the “what,” I’ll direct you back to the point about social listening above, as well as keeping shares visual and engaging. For the “when,” tools like Followerwonk (by Moz) and Buffer can help you gage what the best times to post are based on your followers’ activity. This infographic by QuickSprout is also a good place to start (see the full thing here):
Myth #3: It’s All About How Many Followers I Have or Likes I Get
If you haven’t heard it already you will hear it from us now: your success on social media is not determined solely by the number of likes your posts get or how many followers you have. Once again, quality wins over quantity. Yes, having followers is an essential part of a successful social media program, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t have 1,000+ followers right out of the gate. Any company would take 200 super engaged followers over 1,000 one-time, random likes.
With that said, it still takes some work to build the right community of followers. Paid campaigns can be a good way to get things started and increase visibility when you’re first starting out, but ultimately, committing to creating and sharing quality content and promoting engagement amongst your followers is the only way to gain quality followers that will stick with you and your brand. Make a point to use social media as a conversation starter not just a news aggregator.
Myth #4: My Company Should Be on Every Social Network vs. My Company Only Needs to Be on One Social Network
When it comes to this myth, the truth is, there is no right or wrong; it comes down to your resources and your target audience. If you don’t have the personnel or time to cover more than one social network, don’t waste your time trying out each new platform that pops up. But if you do have the resources, the sky’s the limit as long as that’s where your audience is, too. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin, but, to borrow and bend a familiar saying, experimentation is the mother of invention and taking calculated risks on social media can pay off big time, if you’re smart about it.
This is where having an understanding of who your target audience is becomes incredibly important (remember social listening?). Ask the questions, what kind of content are they receptive to? What social media do they spend the most time on? These answers will help you determine what social media platforms to use.
Myth #5: There Is No Easy Way to Measure If My Social Media Is Actually Effective
Measuring the effectiveness of social media efforts may seem like a daunting task, but with a little bit of insider knowledge and some helpful tools, it can become part of your everyday routine. First, decide what your social goals are: are you looking to build engagement, followers, traffic to your site, or something else. Then zero in on the right tools. On the social end of things, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn all have great analytics built right into the site that can show you who is engaging, how they’re engaging, how often, with what, and just about everything else you want to know.
For site specific traffic and social data, you can’t do any better than Google Analytics. This will give you all of the granular data you could hope to have from your social efforts and how it’s impacting traffic to your site. To get started, click here: Getting Started with Google Analytics. There are also many tools that your company can sign up for (based on budget) that can give you more in-depth analyses of your activity on social media. Here are some examples of tools to try:
These types of tools are great for measurement and can be helpful for planning for future marketing strategies and understanding past mistakes.
The trouble with myths is, despite their lack of truth, they still manage to remain part of our consciousness, but here’s your ultimate secret weapon against social media myths, the one truth to guide your social media: There is no one-size-fits-all social media strategy. You have to look at it under your own lens. Push beyond the myths and the channel can be a great means to strengthen your communications and relationships with your key audiences.