36 Social Media Myths and How to Slay Them – Part 3 of 3

By Hector Cisneros
Courtesy of Pixabay

For some, social media has been a godsend. It has been the great equalizer for the masses, allowing the everyday person to stand up against companies that provide poor products or services. For small businesses that are consumer-oriented, it has been a blessing because of the testimonials and high ratings they receive, allowing them to compete with big business. But for some, social media has been a curse! Any business or person who has ever been hacked, scammed, bullied or wrongfully vilified in any way knows how dreadful and relentless social media can be. It is a two-edged sword that cuts both ways. Both the positive and negative aspects of social media create myths. Sometimes, it’s because what was once great about a particular platform is now gone. Other times it’s because a one-time negative event began a bad memory that became a legend. In this episode of Working the Web to Win, which is also the third installment of “36 Social Media Myths”, we will continue with myths 25 through 36 to finish the countdown. I also recommend reading Part 1 and Part 2 of this series to get the big picture. We will include a few hidden tidbits along the way as well. So, roll up your sleeves and get ready to write down the last 12 myths as we explore the top “36 Myths in Social Media”.


Bonus Myth! It is a myth that cybercriminals hack into people social media accounts. Cybercriminals don’t usually hack an account by guessing your passwords or using software designed to get around a network security measure. They get access from you directly. Usually what happens is they create a profile of who you are, what you do, who your friends are and what you're connected to. They start a phishing campaign, which asks you to log into a fake website about something you're interested in or connected to. Most users don’t use lots of different passwords, so if you fall for this trap, they have your password and username. At this point, they begin to test your actual accounts until they breach one. We have written many articles about cybersecurity. I recommend you read a few of them. Always set your social media security and privacy settings as high as possible. Make sure you also have active and up-to-date antimalware defenses running at all times and change your password at least once a year. Make the new password different and diverse, at least 12 characters long, using numbers, letters and special characters. Social media security is no joke. It costs billions of dollars in losses each year, and breaches often start with social media profiling. Now let’s look at myth #25.

Myth #25 You Get the best Coverage by Posting the Same Thing to all your Platforms. I know that anyone can post the same curated content to multiple platforms simultaneously and you will generate good traffic. However, you will not be optimizing your return for the different social platforms. Each social platform has different rules, the number of characters you can post, how images are used, etc. On top of this, the subscribers of different social platforms have different usage times and habits. They all have different peak usage times. To get the most traffic, you have to customize your post for each platform and also make sure you are posting at the ideal time for that platform for your subscribers.

Google+ is not Dead!
Myth #26 Google Plus is Dead. I have heard this myth many times, but the fact is Google + is alive and kicking. It has a lot of active communities, especially in the scientific sector. If you don’t believe me, just open your Google + account (if you have a Gmail account, you also have access to Google +) and click on “Community” and then search for anything you want. You will be surprised at the number of community groups there are. Google has a massive captive audience; it should not be ignored.

Myth #27 Any time is the Best Time to Post. This myth is perpetuated by the need for convenience. I hear people say when you find something interesting or useful, you should share it right there and then. It's true this helps you stay active and engaging, but it does not mean that you are posting at the best time of day. As mentioned in Myth #25, subscribers for every social platform have their own habits, and their usage differs by age, socioeconomics, demographics and platform. You need to learn what these habits are, so you can schedule your posting time to maximize the number of people who see your post.

Myth #28 Schedule Posts are Not as Good as Live Posts. For the most part, people don’t know (or care) if a post was entered “Live” or “Scheduled”! What is important is that the post be useful in some way to the audience. It is possible to figure out if a post was scheduled, but few if any have time for that. Just make sure you're providing high quality, useful, relevant, timely, or entertaining curated and authoritative posts, and people will consume your content.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Myth #29 It’s OK to Post Any Images you find Online.  This is a big problem on the internet. So many images are easily accessible to anyone with a browser.  However, most images are copyrighted. It's stealing if you use a copyrighted image of any kind.  Make sure you either have permission to use an image, or its license is listed as free to use commercially. Even if you use Google Advanced image tool, many of the images listed are still copyrighted even though they say, “free to use.” I always select images from databases like “Pixabay” that “says their images are free to use”!

Myth #30 Major Brands Should Only use one Business or Corporate voice. This myth has to do with how personal your social voice is. Many name brands only “speak in a corporate tone.” They rarely pull off their corporate mask and speak to people in everyday language on a personal level. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be professional; this is a must. However, it’s important to use the same level of language, tone, and demeanor in your prose that your audience uses. If you want to engage people, you need to communicate on their level. Otherwise, it will seem like a commercial.

Myth #31 You Have to Have a Huge Following to be Successful. There is no doubt that if you have a huge following, you’re more likely to be successful than not. Having said that, you don’t have to have a million followers, or even 100,000 to get a great return on your social media. However, you do have to have a few thousand people paying attention to be able to gauge any impact that your messages have. If your number is too small (say 200 followers), your message may not register any significant impact, even though it was a good message. Take the time to grow your following. It doesn’t have to be huge, but it still should be at least 1000 followers if you want to get a return on your time and money. 

Courtesy of Flickr
Myth #32 It’s OK to Use lots of Hashtags. I often see posts with three hashtags! This is considered very poor form and it makes a user look ignorant of internet culture and accepted methodologies. I tell people to try and stick to only one hashtag if possible and never use more than two (only in long posts). Another related issue is people hijacking someone else’s hashtags. Again, this is considered very poor form and makes you look like a copycat, trying to steal someone else’s thunder. Read our article called; “Hashtagging for Business - The use of Hashtags Made Easy” for more details.

Myth #33 Social Media Can Replace all other Web Properties. Today, there are a lot of small businesses that only have a Facebook page or are just using free social network accounts. This is OK, but it is far from ideal. In fact, I think this is a mistake. In the 80’s you needed to be in the Yellow Pages. Today, you still need to have a website of some kind that you have control over. Social networks are fickle and can remove you for any reason they deem fit. This can’t happen with a website. If you own a URL and have paid for your hosting, it can’t be removed easily. In time, all web properties will become accepted as more or less equal, but today a website has more credibility, and prestige than a social media page. The most important factor is that a website will rank better and give the owner more control.

Myth #34 Any College Student Can Perform your Social Media Marketing. There is no doubt that younger people usually learn new technologies faster and are more fearless when it comes to adopting new things. Internet marketing is no exception. However, social media changes very often and quickly. On top of this issue, marketing is a skill that takes time to learn. An experienced social media marketer will usually outperform an inexperienced college student on multiple platforms. An experienced professional’s productivity may cost more per hour, but their return on investment is usually double or triple the cheap labor you get from a college student.  

Courtesy of Pixabay
Myth #35 Social Media Can’t Be Used for Customer Service. Social Media is actually a great way to provide customer service, provided you have someone monitoring the account. You can directly communicate with a customer who is having an issue in real time without the cost of special software, chat services or bots. If a customer is irate, you can ask them to take it offline and take care of the customers’ needs in a more private setting via telephone or direct support software. If the customer just has questions, you can provide additional resources via links and downloadable pdf’s, etc. Social media has been a boon to many companies who have embraced it as a customer service tool. Not doing so, just leaves the negative posts on your website instead of testimonials from happy customers whose problems you have solved.

Myth #36 A Steller Business Reputation Can’t be Harmed by Social Media. Here’s a news flash. If you’re not proactively managing your reputation on social media, you're setting yourself up to make sure that your reputation is predominantly negative.  A person who feels they have been wronged is ten times more likely to complain via social media than someone who is happy with your services. In fact, when a person is happy with your service, they rarely post a recommendation (unless you ask them to). Make sure you are actively asking happy customers to post testimonials, positive recommendations and 5-star ratings for your company, products, and service. Failure to do so will eventually just leave the negative comments.

Social media myths come and go, and they exist because social media exists. The public and advertising industry creates these myths. Some by accident, some out of ignorance and some because marketing people exaggerate the results. Remember it's important to be proactive with social media. Make sure you are proactive with your social media security. Try to post useful content each day. If your business is not actively managing social media, it will actively affect your business (usually negatively). So, do yourself a favor and actively engage in social media marketing and don’t believe hearsay or myths. Check references and choose a professional who can provide some guarantees. Not doing your due diligence will cost you and leave you living in your own social media myths!

That's my opinion; I look forward to reading yours.

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This article provides the last 12 myths from the article called 36 common Social Media Myths Part 3. These are common myths that businesses believe about social media marketing and advertising. This article provides lots of details on these myths along with the facts needed to dispel them. It also provides the means to avoid falling prey to these myths in the first place. Additional links to other related articles are provided along with a link to the show notes page.

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Hector Cisneros is COO and Director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web to Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.”

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