Social Media Marketing Myths Busted

The author busts some commonly believed Social Media Marketing myths that exist in Tier II & III Indian cities

It has been a heady last few months since starting up a social media agency along with a couple of friends in a Tier – II city. The experience so far has been overwhelming with various challenges and finding ways to overcome them.  During this period we got to meet potential clients from SMEs to Politicians. It was good to know that they had respectable knowledge of, at least, Facebook and believed that it can be leveraged as a marketing tool as well. But the issue was they had very little knowledge of how it was done. Client servicing was some task. And during this time we came across various misconceptions from the client’s side which made us feel that there is lack of awareness about social media marketing in Tier – II & III cities. And so here is my attempt to clear some of those myths that most of these and other SMEs might have:

Image courtesy: Tom Fishburne

Myth – Social Media Marketing is a child’s play.

Fact – Contrary to popular perception, social media marketing is not easy peasy. Creating accounts and posting random content is not social media marketing. It requires specific skill-sets – technological, creative et al – right from planning to implementing a social media strategy. And all this takes time and effort.

Myth – Social Media Marketing is just about advertising.

Fact – Social Media Marketing is more than just about advertising. I agree that the main motive for SMEs is to generate leads. But the users of various social networking sites are highly-aware individuals. Engaging in a direct, blatant act of selling alone does not work. You need to understand your audience and engage with them accordingly. Your brand message should appeal to your audience. You got to work your way up the ladder. It is about community  building. A community of people that will talk positively about you on your behalf.

Myth – Content strategy is overrated.

Fact – Most often than not, we have come across clients who wanted to beam only their promotional message as content. It was some task to make them understand why that doesn’t work. E.g: For an average user, Facebook is a medium to connect with friends, know what they are up to and, basically, to have fun. By posting only promotional content every time, you may disinterest your fans/followers. And that is where content strategy comes into the picture. There needs to be a healthy mix of promotional and non-promotional content. Also important is the time of posting. Posting at any time of the day does not work every time. You got to analyse when and which of your content is working and thus post it accordingly. You cannot gauge it in the first week itself. It takes some time. All in all, content strategy is not at all about random posting as some SMEs believe.

Myth – Social Media Marketing gives instant results.

Fact – While it may be true in some cases where a certain social media campaign got sudden attention (read virality), it is not the norm. Ideally, an SME should have at least a medium-term focused social media strategy. Doing it just for a month or so, may not give you the desired results. In fact, it is actually after a month when your community becomes sizeable that your social media efforts start to pay off and get into an overdrive mode. So if you are thinking about ‘experimenting’ with it for a month please wipe that thought out.  Social Media Marketing is not a sprint. It is a marathon.

Myth – Number of fans/followers is more important than the level of engagement.

Fact – Though this is the most talked and written about thing in the social media sphere it is still not yet heard or understood by SMEs.  I agree it is important to have a considerable community. The more people you have got, the more people know about you. But social media is, essentially, a two-way communication medium. There is no point in having a community of 100k people and getting engagement from hardly 50. It is virtually like talking to dead people. So the engagement level is an important metric and it should not be sacrificed at the cost of acquisition of large number of fans/followers.

Hope you agree with me and do let me know if you have any other social media marketing myth to be busted!