Social Media Myths BustedAnita Kirkbride
I have come to understand that you only understand that which you have an express interest in understanding. Thus, I do not understand quantum physics, the legal aspects of a corporate takeover, or dog people (Cats rule, dogs drool. #SorryNotSorry). Similarly, many small business owners simply do not have the express interest in truly understanding the complexities of social media. Some simply want it to bring in the money and others just want someone else to handle it. This leads to a lot of misunderstanding about social media in general. Here are some of my favourite social media myths.
Twitter is too hard to understand.
Twitter, in its current form, is actually much easier to learn, navigate and monitor than any of the other big social networks. There are practically no privacy walls, so what you see is what you get. There is no algorithm (yet) determining what you see and what you don’t. And you don’t have to ask to follow most people (businesses should not have locked/private accounts). Hashtags are simply a way of adding context to a tweet. Acronyms can be learned or looked up. The @ symbol simply indicates your name on Twitter…think of it as your Twitter address. Mine is @AnitaKirkbride. There. Simple.
Twitter is a broadcast medium.
Twitter is a conversation. If you log in to Twitter once a week to post your special of the week, it simply. Won’t. Work. You need to talk to people…your customers, fans, suppliers and community. Show them your human side. Interact. Seriously…it won’t kill you! Treat Twitter like a networking event: listen intently, be helpful, don’t hog the conversation.
If I Like a Page on Facebook I will see everything that Page posts.
Facebook has a very complicated algorithm that uses over 100 different factors to determine what you see in your news feed. Some of those factors include:
- Type of content: Video gets shown more than pictures, which get shown more than plain text updates.
- Frequency of interaction: How often do you actually interact with that person or Page? Clicking Like on their updates will help you see more of their content.
- Recency: If you log in on Friday and the last time a Page posted was Monday, you’re not likely going to see that post in your newsfeed.
- Popularity: If a post gets a lot of interaction, Facebook’s algorithm determines it must be important, so it actually shows it to more people.
These descriptions are very rudimentary and I’m sure the Facebook team is cringing right now, but you get the idea. Facebook simply isn’t showing you everything you’ve signed up to see. Same goes for your fans. So you’d better make your content good! And if you want to see more from a Page or a friend, go interact with their content for a few days and see what happens.
Facebook privacy notice
This old scam has popped up again, encouraging users to post a disclaimer on their profiles that Facebook may not use their information or pictures for any purpose, blah, blah, blah. It simply won’t do you any good. Whether or not you read the Terms of Service, when you signed up to use Facebook, you agreed to let Facebook do certain things with your information. What they are doing is often misconstrued by the conspiracy theorists, so don’t let those extreme reports get to you. Be careful, of course, but Facebook isn’t quite the big, bad wolf just yet.
Most small business owners do not need to pay for the premium LinkedIn account. There are two main “benefits”: you can see more information about who is looking at your profile, and you can send InMail messages to people you are not yet connected to. Most of the small business owners I see don’t even know you can see who’s been looking at your profile and/or don’t care, so the extra information isn’t of any use to them. And, for the number of times I want to send a message on LinkedIn to someone with whom I’m not yet connected, I simply send them a connection request and then follow up. That said, there are people who mine LinkedIn for potential business and do need to be able to send more elaborate messages, or see more info about who is looking at their profiles. If you need that, then by all means, upgrade.
You have to pay for good search rankings
I am NOT an SEO expert, but I have managed to maintain good search engine rankings without paying hundreds of dollars monthly for an SEO company. Some of my clients do have great SEO companies they work with and if you’re in the market for one in Halifax, I do have a couple of reliable and legitimate recommendations for you. However, there are many other SEO companies out there that are simply scamming people out of their money. As a small business owner you need to be very careful and do a lot of research on the company you are considering hiring. There is a lot of work you can do in the background of your website and blog to help improve your search rankings…try that first before you spend a ton of your hard-earned revenue on something you might not need. Start with this post I wrote on SEO Tips for Beginner Bloggers.
Teens aren’t using Facebook anymore
Teens have moved on to other networks, yes. However, Facebook still seems to be the network of choice for reaching them. This great quote from Pew Internet Research says it all “Sampling other items at the social media buffet is not the same as swearing off salad forever.” I also want you to think about whether or not it matters to you and your business if *TEENS* are there? Are you marketing to teens or their parents? I don’t deal with too many local businesses who are directly targeting a teen population, but many are targeting their parents. The parents are definitely there. Over 70% of us according to studies.
Social media takes way too much time
Yes, it does take some of your precious time to manage social media. Some companies need to outsource or hire someone to handle all of the social accounts. However, for the small business owner, there are ways to streamline your time and make social media manageable, such as using Hootsuite to schedule posts. If you can focus on what needs to be done, get it done and get out, it is possible to manage your social media in 20-30 minutes a day or less. Of course it depends on what networks you tackle and how time-consuming your content plan is.
What are some other social media myths you think should be busted?