The 5 lies of social media
You’ve probably heard about all these secret tips that can turn you into an internet superstar overnight and that story about the business who went viral and got the attention of that mega celebrity. Whilst some of that may be true (although a lot probably isn’t) there are some even bigger, dare we say, mistruths, about social media that really do make our toes curl. Here are some key ones to look out for when discussing social media:
- "You must be on [enter social media platform] it's going to be bigger than Facebook"
Now we're not saying that a network becoming bigger than Facebook is never going to happen, it might. What we're getting at here is that you don't have to be on it just because it may be big. Some networks work terribly for some industries, and there is nothing wrong with admitting that. A business that manufactures car exhaust filters isn’t going to have a great impact on Instagram, Snapchat or some other new image/video based network. So don't invest time and energy into something that will likely yield zero results just for the sake of being on there. It's okay to choose where you have your presence. Make sure you monitor it and if it doesn’t work, move onto something different.
- "Social media is free"
Whilst it might not involve a subscription fee, ask yourself who is being paid to come up with your social media strategy? Who are you paying to manage the account? Who is being paid to create content? Even if that's just one person, it is an expense. And if you don't have someone whose priority is social media, the likelihood is that it is being poorly run by somebody who doesn’t really have the time for it. All this doesn’t even take into account some of the more elaborate ways to increase engagement such as competitions (prize costs), videos (production costs) or events. Ask Red Bull how free social media is after Felix Baumgartner's freefall social media stunt. We'll give you a hint, that one cost over $10,000,000! So if you're going to have social accounts, be prepared to invest in them one way or another.
As opposed to what? In every other business channel is it okay to not be authentic? Social media should ultimately follow the standard marketing pattern. Set a goal, define a message, share the message, engage, gauge feedback, redefine message, share the redefined message, engage, evaluate, repeat. If you're not authentic in that process; whether it's for social media, a TV advert, a brochure or leaflet; you will get found out and you will not achieve the success you could have. So if you hear the A word mentioned in discussions about social media, know it is not exclusive for social media, it just means use common sense and don't lie to people.
- "It's all about the number of fans you have"
Okay so you have X number or likes on Facebook, but thanks to Facebook's algorithm you'll only reach around 4% of that number. And how many of them will actually see it as relevant and interact with this message? Likewise, how many followers on Twitter see a tweet from hours ago unless they go searching for it? Having good numbers is great, but if your message is poor or the timing isn’t right, you may as well have none. That is why whilst increasing the number of likes or followers is a good target, it should not be the only target. And never pay for likes/followers etc, as they come from farms and actually hinder the chances of your target market seeing your posts and tweets. Nobody can guarantee relevant fans, so be suspicious of anyone that does.
- "You've got to go viral"
Viral is a word that gets thrown around far too casually and gives the impression that there is a magic formula guaranteed to make it happen. If it was really that simple though, wouldn’t every single thing that is ever posted or tweeted go viral? Going viral is a phenomenon that there is no magic guide for, and this is from a guy who started a trend on Twitter that went to #1 Worldwide (#GoalsIWillAlwaysRemember which I started about my favourite football goals but became about any sort of goal back in 2012 in case you're wondering). Not every person or business is going to go viral, and that's okay. What you can do is get your messages in front of the people that matter and that is far more valuable.
So there you have it, 5 incredibly frustrating lies told about social media. Now you know, you'll be able to spot who actually knows what they're talking about, and who is making it up as they go along. We hope this helps!