• Lauren Perna

Five Misconceptions About Social Media

Updated: Sep 10, 2020

One thing I have learned over the last few years of consulting is that social media can be quite misunderstood. I handle a lot of clients that are at the beginning of their digital journey, so they have a lot of misconceptions about social media.

I have listed the top five misconceptions that I hear a lot, and why they are not true.

1) You need to be on every platform.

Unless you are a global company that has a dedicated team of social media ninjas,

you do not need to be on every platform. While there is some debate among social media experts on just exactly how many is enough, I am of the mind that it’s completely fine to pick just a few platforms.

Before you pick those platforms though, make sure you do the research and determine where your target audience hangs out. If you are selling life insurance to men in their 50’s, then probably don’t go focus on Instagram. Just a hunch.

But know, that you may do all the research in the world, only to realize a certain platform is not worth your precious time. Or perhaps, a new platform comes along and takes the world by storm and you realize it’s a WAY better match for your client base. That’s OK--it’s always OK to tweak your strategy.

2) a) You must post every day.

It’s better to post great content every few days, than mediocre content every day. Why? Because if you post mediocre content every day, no one is going to care about the good content because you’ve annoyed them with your crappy content. Sorry to say, but it’s true.

b) The counter-argument that I hear a lot…you should only post when you have something important to say (i.e. a sale or a launch).

I see where that logic comes in, based on the above, BUT if something important only happens once a month, then no one is going to see it. Why? Because social media algorithms give preference to those that post regularly and have good engagement on their posts. Not to mention, a lack of posting doesn’t do much for getting to know, like, and trust you.

Long and short of it…don’t post crap, but also don’t just post once a month. Post great content on the reg, and the best way to do that is to plan out your content.

3) You should only post about your business.

This is almost a follow-up to #2b but bears a longer explanation. If you just post about yourself, you’re going to lose people. People want valuable and interesting content. You need to demonstrate that you are a resource and an expert in your field. You can do that by sharing articles from fellow experts or relevant content from clients. Just posting about your company is a hard sell, and let’s be honest…no one likes a hard sell. The key is mixing it up, so you are selling your brand not just your products, as explained in this Fast Company article.

Even beloved companies like Oreo don’t just post their products--they post recipes, ideas, and customer content.

It’s up to you to learn your audience and find out what will get them to know, like, and trust you. I just wouldn’t go SO far off track that you confuse people—you still want to be remembered as the expert in your field.

4) You need thousands of followers to be successful.

On one hand, potential clients love to see companies with tons of followers. In their minds, it means that the company is popular which must mean they’re good at what they do. BUT, on the other hand….90% of those followers could be bought or simply just the WRONG clients. They might not be viable leads.

When you bring in those types of followers, your engagement goes down because most of those people don’t care about what you do. And remember what we said about engagement…social media platforms like people with high engagement.

You are better off with a small amount of the absolute right followers than thousands of any old follower. One day, you may get to thousands of ALL the right followers, but you need to have the right strategy to get there.

5) Engagement is not necessary.

So, no one really says that exactly, but I have seen a common misunderstanding of the importance of engagement. I work with clients in highly regulated industries, so they are conflicted about engagement. They don’t have the time to do it themselves, but they are also hesitant to turn over the reins completely. Or for many, it just seems like an unnecessary expense.

In order to follow through on that whole know, like, and trust business, you need to be present. You need to show up. It’s not just liking comments though, it’s responding to comments, reaching out in DMs, showing up in relevant groups, commenting on other statuses. It’s about being seen and known, and so much more. This article from Buffer goes in great depth about social media engagement.

I spent a long-time planning in-person networking events, and one piece of advice I gave newbie networkers: you want to be remembered. On social media, engagement is how you are remembered. 🙋‍♀️

I could go on, but that’s where I'll stop for now. Did any of these resonate with you? Do you have any ideas about social media that you’ve heard are misconceptions? Let me know in the comments.

If you have any questions or would like to chat further, don’t hesitate to reach out! All the links in this article will be posted on my resources page.