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Social media is clearly here to stay, but there is a lot of confusion around why it’s beneficial for businesses. Social media marketing, when done correctly and strategically, can be the difference between appearing like a business ready to move ahead and one that will be left in the stodgy past.

Ready to take the leap? Let’s start by debunking some of the common social media marketing misconceptions.

14 Common Social Media Marketing Misconceptions

  1. All social media platforms are the same.
    Each social media platform has a specific audience and a certain type of preferred content. B2B companies find more success on LinkedIn than Snapchat. Likewise, creative companies thrive on visually focused platforms like Instagram and YouTube.
  2. I need to be on every channel to make the most of social.
    Each business’s resources, both time and money, are precious. Social media is a strategic endeavor so it’s crucial to pick the channels and platforms that reach your desired customers. More networks can always be added as resources allow, but it’s better to consistently post on one platform than leave five profiles inactive.
  3. Social media is just for the younger generations. My customers are older.
    People of every age use social media. Facebook alone has 1.23 billion daily active users across the globe. And it’s the most used social media channel among all ages, used by 64 percent of the population over the age of 12.
  4. There’s no need for social media in my industry.
    Social media is a chance for a business to present itself as a thought leader by delivering commentary on industry news. Doing so demonstrates to customers a brand’s expertise and knowledge about their product line and industry. With billions of daily active users, social media is an opportunity to capture the interest of prospects and nurture them with content into qualified leads.
  5. Social media is free.
    Technically, it’s free to create a social media profile, but the time and resources dedicated to managing the accounts certainly come at a cost. Additionally, almost all social platforms offer the option to place ads within their networks. To make the most of your social media, you’ll need to invest. Four times as many businesses are increasing their social media budgets as are staying consistent.
  6. I can’t measure my return on social media investment.
    There are multiple ways to gather data from social channels. Most have in-platform analytics, and there are also specific software programs, like Hootsuite, TweetDeck, and Buffer, that allow users to schedule posts and gather data from every one of their social channels. Website analytics also reveal a lot about what channels are referring the most visitors to your site.
  7. More hashtags will increase my chances of being discovered.
    There is such a thing as overdoing it and irrelevant hashtags annoy customers. Social media is about serving relevant content to an interested audience. Keep hashtags concise, accurate, and under 10 per post.
  8. Social media takes up too much time.
    Whenever you take on a new project it seems like the learning curve at the beginning is taking far more time that it’s worth. But once you find a system for creating content or a program for scheduling posts that works for you, your social media won’t take up any more time that checking your email throughout the day.
  9. Negative comments might hurt my business.
    Customer feedback gives you the chance to improve your business processes while showing followers how your business responds to any problems that arise. Use these opportunities to provide exemplary customer service and respond quickly to customers.
  10. I’ll never catch up to my competitors’ profiles.
    Your social presence shouldn’t be the same as your competitors. Whatever sets you apart—whether it’s a superior product, customer service, or social responsibility—should be clear in the tone and voice of your social media posts. Avoid comparing yourself to others. Measure your performance against the goals and milestones you set for your company at the onset of your social media campaigns.
  11. It doesn’t matter what I post as long as I post often.
    Customers are looking for value, not just a frequent appearance. Create content that you would want to see, not just for the sake of creating content. Irrelevant content more often than not falls flat with your audience.
  12. Social media marketing is just a fad.
    Don’t count on it. Technology advances at an exponential pace since. New channels and devices may appear, but the concept of word-of-mouth marketing as a whole won’t disappear anytime soon.
  13. Social media doesn’t need to be part of my marketing plan.
    Your social media goals should align with those of your marketing and advertising campaigns. Think of social media as a distribution channel for the content you create as part of your ongoing marketing activities. The medium serves as a crucial element in generating brand awareness. In addition to presenting a consistent brand message, it also allows the same message to reach multiple audiences.
  14. Social media is a part of only my marketing plan.
    In addition to drawing in customers, social media can be a crucial component in recruiting new talent by giving job seekers a glimpse into your company’s culture. It can also be a channel for customer service to respond to complaints and highlight positive reviews.

The most important part of social media marketing is determining what you want it to do for your business. With clear goals and a thoughtful strategy, social media is a powerful tool for marketing your business.