Social Media Marketing’s Biggest Myth

The marketing industry is sometimes its own worst enemy. “Social media marketing” has become a sort of Utopian ideal in the industry.

What it hasn’t become is a well-organized, efficient process. The mythology of social media has taken up space it doesn’t deserve in a hard-headed market like the online market. Real world social media marketing is based on working online content management and SEO, not myths.

Demythologizing the Social Media Market

Social media is exactly that. It’s a social process. Social media has proven that its interests are highly selective. It isn’t particularly geared to any particular sort of marketing, any more than a pool party. You can sell games, you can sell pool equipment, and you can sell accessories to the party. If you want this market to buy anything else you have to engage interested people, not blindly market to the world on the slight chance of someone finding your product.

There are a lot of people selling different things on these sites, but they’re selling to niches and groups, not broadcasting their sales pitches around the world. That’s the big issue for marketing. Niche marketing, like blogging, is a specialist range of markets within a much bigger market.

The Biggest Myth

The biggest myth of all, which is based on the sheer number of people on social media sites, is the other major issue for marketing. The mere fact that hundreds of millions of people use Facebook, Skype, MySpace or LinkedIn doesn’t mean hundreds of millions of customers. It means a percentage of those people may be interested in your product. Note everyone wants to buy a tractor or a skyscraper. Some people may want to buy subscriptions, but others won’t.

Ironically, another myth is based on ignoring the biggest market of the lot- The internet itself. If someone’s trying to buy something, the first thing they’ll do is research it online. That means web searching and SEO values are the main issue. They’ll also go direct to sites, bypassing the social media pages, unless those pages contain a lot of useful information.

Social Media – The Realities of Targeting

What sells online is targeted, meaningful information. What doesn’t sell is half- baked, wannabe materials which don’t work as sales leads or act as deterrents, like hype content. Social media is fussier still. If you were at a party trying to have fun, would you drop everything to be sold insurance? The insurance companies don’t sell to the social sites like that. They work with targeted information, based on the “This is useful” approach to content, and it works.

Social Media and the SEO Approach

Social media is better suited to the “SEO approach”. Social site searches are very like Google. They work on the same basic principles, if not quite as strictly. The social media content, therefore, must be accurately targeted to user needs.

The reality is that “social media” is based on self-interest. People on social sites are looking for materials which are useful to them. If you’ve seen some of the car collector pages, you’ll get the idea. These pages have real value to social site users, and that’s exactly how you need to target your social media marketing.

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  • jmacofearth

    Another great post Jeff. I really like the pool party metaphor.

    You can talk insurance with your friends after inviting them to your pool party.
    You can talk insurance with other’s friends when being invited to someone else’s pool party.
    You might be approached by other insurance sales men at either pool party.
    The host might’ve set up the pool party to promote a line of pool toys or pool chemicals.
    Everyone at the pool party is a potential customer.
    Most people at the pool party are not interested in your life insurance pitch, they are there for the hotdogs and beer.

  • Tom Spano

    Great stuff Jeff,
    1. Know your audience.
    2. Engage your audience.
    3. Have conversations with your audience.
    I wouldn’t invite an insurance salesman to my pool party if they were going to talk business anyway! haha

  • Anne Patrick

    Hi Jeff! This another post from you is great indeed (just like your previous posts I’ve read so far). I agree with you that those millions of members of Facebook and Twitter can not be turned as customers. Before I started social media marketing that is my point of view. I though I could have those millions of readers of my blog site. Haha! And as I read other blogs and articles I was being awaken to the reality that I should work on still with the SEO and other tools to attract people. Thanks.

  • Arindam RoyChoudhury

    Hi Jeff,

    This is another excellent article. I am an Indian, working in China and your articles provide me with a lot of useful information. The consumer market in China maybe different from most parts of the world, but the principles of social are pretty much the same.

    Hopefully. I will get to hear you speak, someday, on social media.

  • Elias Shams

    Social media is here to stay for good. Given vast variety
    of the existing channels to choose and stick with, it’s time for such a hot
    space to enter into a new category.There is a need for a portal to provide a quick and
    intelligent decision for both the consumer and the enterprise about their
    online connections. A Platform to Help us to Distinguish Our Quality vs.
    Quantity Friends, Fans, Followers, and Companies.Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Flickr and others
    have been doing a decent job of providing additional marketing exposure and
    even in some cases, additional revenue. However, as more and more social
    networking sites pop up, the task of picking the right channel getting more
    challenging.This reminds me of the early 90’s when WWW was adopted
    broadly by the general public. Every company rushed to have a presence, to the
    point it became literally impossible to find the right information on the Web.
    That’s when yahoo and google where born and helped us find the most relevant
    information by just typing simple keywords.Then came Web 1.0 & 2.0 – Youtube, Flickr, myspace,
    Facebook, Twitter and countless others have turned everyday people into content
    producers, influencers and experts. We basically tripled down on the
    information overload How do you know which channels to select for deploying
    your social media strategy?That is why I built to accomplish such a
    mission – the portal to all your existing social media channels.EliasCEO & Founder

  • Anonymous

    I completely agree with the biggest myth. Facebook is a social platform, a digital watering hole if you will, however companies and brands are poised to set up soap boxes and broadcast their products and services to the masses, what happens then? They get ignored, so they broadcast louder. Social media is about being social.

  • Humam AlMukhtar

    Great read. I totally agree about the SEO part

  • Humam AlMukhtar

    Great read. I totally agree about SEOs and social media.

  • Varina Brown

    Definitely, I agree with the myths that you explained about the social media
    marketing.. These myths are present everywhere in this field and needs
    to be uprooted.. I appreciate your first step towards it..

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  • findingenvirons

    Getting the hang of online content can be learned by observing content online, and by examining the real-world, non-Boolean logic behind what’s posted. I believe you are gently objecting to poorly-directed content, but please remember occasionally not everyone has the same grasp of working content management. I admit I do not have an excellent handle on SEO, so I welcome your educated instruction that you have to engage interested people. I have seen info on the small percentage, of people, that content can only reach (its funnel). I understand in generalities the effectiveness of web searching and SEO values which you mention. True, I see “shoppers” going direct to sites, and being primarily interested in what you identify as targeted, meaningful information. I believe you are correct that content needs be: “This is useful.” Otherwise, why would people take an interest in it? Thank you.