Social Media Marketing Myths

I was asked by a potential client a few weeks ago what I thought the biggest myths about social media marketing were. I’m not sure if I did a decent job answering the question or not – we’ll know in the next few months – but I’ve been mulling it over and wanted to share some thoughts as way of extending my most favourite of all memes, after “how social media is killing XYZ”:

1. Social Media is about great content. Great content is only a third of the battle. One third is community – creating a mass of people around a commonly shared theme or interest – and the other third is hard working cultivation and seeding. Searching out where the conversations are and making sure your content is where people who will be interested in it, will find it.

2. Social Media requires The Big Idea. With social media, the big idea is already baked. The big idea is that there is no idea. The big idea is that there are going to be many smaller ideas underneath a larger theme or lens. It seems a little counter-intuitive considering I work for one of the most highly awarded creative agencies in the world, and I fully admit that big creative ideas are a huge help in social media, but in this space, I’m more concerned with producing repeatable, measurable, sustainable content, than big, hard to predict flash in the pan creative

3. Social Media is about The Conversation. The worst thing about trying to be a part of the conversation is when you’re talking into an abyss. When no one talks back. Even for personal users of social media, there are times when we throw links, posts or questions out to our contacts and we don’t hear anything back – the same is true for brands trying this stuff out.

4. Social Media is about more than Facebook and Twitter. Well, this one is more of a weasel from me. Of course social media is about more than Twitter and Facebook but with 160m and 500m users respectively, the scale you can achieve on these platforms means they should be your first port of call – if only to try and ascertain that your audience isn’t here (but they quite likely will be). I am still bearish on Twitter, but after getting some insight into how the company is rolling out its advertising/monetisation plans, I’m slightly more bullish on how marketers who aren’t from the cool kids can use this technology.

5. Social Media means influencing the influencers. This one is perhaps the biggest myth of all and why I decided to join the advertising community. “Influencing the influencers” is a nice tag line or slogan but organisations need to realise that this new medium can allow them to become influencers in and of themselves. The truth is that there are only a small number of people online who can really exert influence and start to change perceptions – but there are many, many people who have small blogs like this one with close relationships to their readers. I also like this post from Erin Bury about how marketers should forget about influencers and reach the Superfans*. A passionate consumer can be your greatest marketing asset and social media allows you to find and recruit those consumers.

* Nothing to do with the recent project we launched for our client TELETOON – Superfan Fridays.

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