Unless you have been living under a rock in the last decade you know that Social Media Marketing has become incredibly popular, but the effort of the process has not been given the same level of attention or affection. In fact, quite the opposite, the continual rise of Social Media Marketing has resulted in some scary examples of social media strategies, with some businesses hoping for the social media fairy to wave her magic wand and gain instant social media marketing success.

When in all honesty, social media is complicated, it requires a lot of research, hard work and consistency, funnily enough much like any other marketing strategy. The world of Social Media Marketing cannot be put right in one post, however the biggest myths and misconceptions can be highlighted to help implement a bullet-proof strategy within your business.

Social media is there to sell

If you want to get technical, it is a sales tool, if used hearycorrectly it can result in more sales. However, the biggest misunderstanding is that social media is essentially a giant self-serving billboard on which you have your pitch in big bold letters. Think about your personal uses on social media, be honest, do you simply log in so you can read ads from businesses and to listen to salespeople talk about themselves? Absolutely not. You log into social media to, well the clue is in the name, to socialise, to network and to find interesting content. If you produce sales-focused content constantly, people will ignore you, much like that friend that only speaks about themselves, you eventually just tune out. This will subsequently turn the organic search of your content down, algorithms are there to protect us from the constant sales pitches and will pick up on the fact that nobody cares about your posts. So keep sales pitches down to a minimum and instead opt for more educational, meaningful and valuable social interactions.

I have to

So many entrepreneurs see social media as just another thing they “have got to do”. Taking a reluctant approach to social media is pointless, you may as well take no approach. It is important not to create profiles simply as a result of competitors having done so. In order to be consistently successful you must regularly post on social media, otherwise you won’t be seen as they are saturated platforms. For example, every minute of Facebook there are approximately 280,000 photos shared and on Instagram approximately 50,000. If you were to view all of the Snapchat’s sent in the last hour it would take you 10 YEARS. 10 years to view all the 10 second snaps sent in the last hour! So unless you post regularly, whatever you have to say will be lost. Another perspective for your audience, say a customer finds you on Facebook, then they see that you haven’t updated your page or posted in 6 months. Would they stick around? Doubtful, at this point you aren’t encouraging dedication to your own brand, be sure to regularly engage.

Social is an independent strategy

Social Media is an independent strategy; nope, Social Media is an essential part of a well-oiled marketing machine. It is not a singular component, it works alongside the marketing strategy and if used correctly will help your brand. Think about it from a different perspective, without a strong brand, your users will have nothing consistent to engage with. Without a strong content strategy, you won’t post anything educational to educate your clients. Without a strong website, traffic generated from social will just bounce. Social Media is a contributing factor to creating a brand, each platform works alongside the marketing strategy and the mission of your business. Incorporate Social Media Marketing in everything you do, in every element of the business.

“It is something the young do”

So many business owners make the false assumption that social media is a “young person’s game”. This is not the case, and you should know that 40% of Facebook’s demographics are over the age of 35. The age-appropriation of social media is the biggest, most ridiculous myth of Social Media Marketing. The likelihood is whatever your age you should implement Social Media Marketing and you will probably teach them something about social media that they don’t know. Don’t hand the social media marketing strategy to your intern because they are the “generation of social”, it is a key component in your marketing strategy, especially if your target audience falls in the 40% of Facebook’s demographic that is over the age of 35. It is an opportunity not to miss.

Followers = Successthumb

Another myth of social media marketing is that you are only doing well if you have 5,000 followers, this is so wrong it hurts. Understandably numbers are a huge justifying tool for marketers and managers alike, however when it comes to social media the success formula is somewhat more intangible. As a result, many amateur social markers turn to the only numbers they have available which they think have some kind of correlation with their campaigns success. If you were to look at everyone you follow on social media sites, do you “like” everyone you follow? Doubtful. Do you read everything you see on your timelines? Again doubtful. Success on social media should be measured through engagement with your audience, based around sharing, interacting and participating with your brand.

It’s free

The free bit, that bit isn’t a myth, you can sign up for a profile for free on most platforms. It is free for you to post content and be organic – organic social media is based upon the assumption that you will earn your way into your audience’s news-feeds as a result of producing great content. But the future of Social Media Marketing is paid, you can pay to make sure your content is being seen by the right people. If you treat it as a free component to your marketing strategy, you will automatically devalue the platforms and the results. Invest money in paid content over organic to make sure you are seen and promote your business through different avenues than relying on organic on saturated platforms. Social media is also an investment of time and effort, time and effort is invaluable when it comes to creating a brand that customers relate and engage with on social media, the more you pour into your campaigns, the higher ROI will pour out. So try it because it is free but put resources into social and you will reap the benefits.

These are only some of the Social Media Marketing myths, but by overcoming these hurdles you will avoid the negative impact that you can cause your brand. It is important to remember that implementing a Social Media Marketing Strategy should not be intimidating, it does incur a significant investment of effort but by understanding the basic principles of engaging with users, being an educational source, and remaining consistent you will release your social media potential.