Updated: Mar 30, 2021
There are lots of mistruths floating around about how social media works and what you should be doing on social media to be successful. It can feel like a minefield at times and there is a lot of pressure on businesses to post more and post everywhere.
The truth is, there is no magic formula and it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ scenario. That doesn’t mean you can’t thrive on social media, but you need to block out all the noise about what you need to do, and think more about your business, your customers, and your objectives, to understand what you should be doing.
If you’re feeling the pressure of unrealistic expectations or you’re overwhelmed with the ‘advice’ out there, hopefully the following myths I bust will give you the motivation to embrace social media in your business.
MYTH 1: You need to be on every social media platform
The truth? You probably don’t!
Unless you’re selling a product or service that targets all demographics, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to be present on all social media platforms. Just because TikTok is trending, doesn’t mean it’s the right place for your business.
If you think about traditional print advertising, would you want to take a page in every magazine available, or just the ones relevant to your industry that get read by your target market? You should always consider who your ideal clients and ideal referral partners are – where do they hang out online? That’s where you could benefit from being seen.
You should also make sure you have the right type of content for each platform. If you’re selling a non-visual service, is it going to resonate with users on Instagram?
Another important consideration is how well you can manage being active on all your chosen platforms. Being consistent it key, so if it’s unrealistic for you to sustain regular posts on every channel, it’s better to focus on a just a few and give them your attention.
MYTH 2: You need to post on social media every day
It’s nearly impossible, particularly as a small business owner, to publish quality posts every day. This follows on from the last point – you need to post consistently to see results, so it’s much better to post a couple of times a week, every week, than eagerly start with multiple posts a day before falling off a cliff because you’ve run out of things to say or you have to actually, you know, run your business! Identify a frequency that’s realistic for you to maintain and go with that.
If you can post every day, and every post adds value to the platform’s users, fantastic! But a lot of the time businesses are posting for the sake of posting daily, and this can actually backfire. All the algorithms score content on engagement, so if three days a week your posts are just ‘fillers’ then these will get little to no engagement, which lowers your visibility and damages your reach when you do have something great to share.
Not to mention, you’ve worked really hard to get your followers – do you really want to annoy them with excessive messages? You risk just becoming ‘noise’ or even getting unfollowed. The golden rule should always be quality over quantity.
MYTH 3: The more social media followers you have, the more successful you’ll be
It’s a common misconception that the more followers you have, the more successful your social media strategy will be. This isn’t always the case. If you are serving content that your followers are responding to and you’re using your social platforms to build relationships with your follower base, then your social media strategy will be successful, even if your brand’s community is small.
A well-nurtured group will grow over time and is much stronger and more valuable than a huge fan base that’s not really connecting with you. While it definitely feeds the ego to have thousands of followers, bear in mind that the algorithms will only show your posts to a fraction of them so it’s more important to have legitimate fans that are actually potential customers.
MYTH 4: Posting the same content to multiple social media platforms saves time
Strictly speaking, this one is correct, but it can be counter-intuitive as it’s much less likely to be effective (and therefore is a waste of your time).
Social media platforms all perform differently and treat content in different ways. Images need to be sized differently, character limits vary, links aren’t clickable on Instagram posts, tags for people and pages can be different from platform to platform, text-based content works better on some whereas video performs better on others, video length restrictions differ – as do the optimum viewing durations – the list goes on.
It’s ok to have the same message across all platforms, but the format should be adjusted to suit the channel and its users. There are lots of ways you can repurpose content to make it versatile for multiple platforms – write a blog and share the link on Facebook, recreate the blog as an article on LinkedIn, pick out the key points from your blog and make a carousel post for Instagram, take a quote from your blog and put it on a vertical image for Stories, and turn it into a script and create a video!
MYTH 5: If social media isn’t generating sales, it’s not worthwhile
Obviously the key objective of any business is to increase sales, but sometimes you need to play the long game to be known, liked and trusted first.
Organic social media (posted to your business’s profile pages) drives engagement and follower numbers. It is an investment of time that establishes your tone of voice and personality, increases your visibility through follower interaction, and establishes credibility and trust. All of this allows you to become known without being intrusive – direct sales messages just appear spammy. Regular posts that give useful advice or show your values and skills, remind your followers of your expertise and stimulate repeat business and referrals over time.
Social media can also play an important role in so much more than just sales. It’s a fantastic place to network with other people and complementary brands, to develop relationships with suppliers and customers, and to deliver accessible customer service. It’s also super effective at increasing brand awareness.
Think of social media like a plant – you need to find the right environment for it to thrive, then you need to water it regularly before it grows. In time, you’ll have well-established roots with healthy leaves and fresh buds. That’s when you’ll see the flowers.
If you’re still unsure about where, when, how, and what to post, let’s have a chat.