4 Myths of Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is the beckoning and shiny new toy.4 myths of social media marketing

It started as clever but simple to use online technology where you could share multi-media content with friends, family and school colleagues. It was fun, engaging and it has touched the social human global psyche.

It happened because the intersection of technologies such as cheap high speed internet, low cost hard disk storage and software that made using social network platforms as easy as writing a Microsoft “Word”  document became aligned at the same time.

Even the older generation found they could use Facebook!

CEO’s, business owners and management initially saw it as a distraction from serious business and traditional marketing. How could you take Facebook seriously when it it was the social network that the son or daughter used it to share their party photos from Saturday night.

What was the point of a a 140 character tweet?

Then the penny dropped.

Large brands realized that the marketing leverage and amplification that the “many to many” crowd sourced global conversations could bring to their marketing strategy was sizable and significant.

Coca Cola changed its marketing strategy from creative excellence to content excellence. They had realized that social media was able to spread their content and ideas with velocity and the crowd could create and share more stories on social networks than they could ever hope to buy.

Small to medium business were provided free marketing tools that they could use themselves to promote their business.

The democratization of marketing was now evident.

Along with this realization many myths abvout social media marketing have been spread that have caused confusion and disillusionment when the return on investment didn’t materialize or wasn’t apparent.

Myth #1. It’s Simple

There are many myths about social media marketing but the biggest one by far is that it is easy and can be done by an intern at lunch time.

For small, medium to large enterprises is it is far from simple because social media marketing does not scale very easily and it requires many resources, skills and processes that until recently were at an adolescent stage of development.

With social media marketing you need to:

  • Write, film and snap the images and capture the content
  • Edit the content into a creative format that entertains, educates and inspires
  • Create it for the different types of media such as video, text (for blog posts), Twitter tweets, Facebook updates, Pinterest images and other major social media networks
  • Establish processes that control the publishing and monitoring of the content that is spread globally by many individuals within one organisation that keeps the brand police happy
  • Publish it on multiple networks,
  • Optimise it for a variety of multimedia formats
  • Develop and optimize it for many types of screens including laptops, iPad, iPhone, Android smart phones and tablets so that it renders properly and is easily viewed and consumed
  • Optimise the content and platforms for search engines
  • Monitor and measure the data you receive to see what works and what doesn’t

It is becoming a deluge of data on many social networks.

So far organisations in the main are using disparate and multiple tools such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and Klout that add a layer of complexity and are silos of data and processes that do not lend themselves to the era of big social data.

Help is at hand.

Tools and processes are emerging to make it possible to do social at scale.

Vendors such as Sprinklr, Exact Target, Adobe, Brightcove and Viral Heat are amongst many companies that are developing enterprise class tools that are offering the promise of one stop social solutions platforms that will enable organisations to provide “social at scale”

The Altimeter Group and Jeremiah Owyang have surveyed over 3 dozen vendors that offer the promise of providing the holy grail of “social at scale”. These are revealed in this presentation on Slideshare.

A Strategy for Managing Social Media Proliferation from Jeremiah Owyang

To properly create , publish and manage this social data explosion we are seeing the emerging need in marketing agencies (and major brand marketing teams) for not just “creative” talents but people who understand technology intimately.

It could be that the “Geeks will inherit the earth” in a knowledge and technology driven economy and culture.

Maybe we are seeing the rise of the “Ninja Nerd” who understands technology and the creative process on an increasingly social web.

I look forward to seeing this emerging evolution of social media marketing as it moves from adolescent promise to mature and robust business class platforms and processes.

Myth #2.  It’s Free

Planning , creating content, optimizing for search, publishing to multiple platforms takes time. Time is money.

The professionals with the skills and experience to make social media marketing successful are increasingly in demand and they need to be paid. In a lot of cases the free tools to manage and monitor the data explosion are not adequate to provide the insights needed to manage, sift and sort the data.

Enterprise class tools are not free. Participating on Facebook may cost nothing and tweeting is free but the content and eco-sytem to support a sustained social media marketing effort requires budget and commitment. Professional videos still cost money to produce and edit.

Free tools doesn’t mean that social media marketing is free.

Myth #3. It’s Just Facebook

Many organisations think that because Facebook dominates the social media numbers game with nearly one billion users, that it is the only social media network to consider in a social media marketing strategy.

Facebook only allows less than 15% of your updates to appear in your Facebook followers timelines through its “Edge Rank” algorithms.

If you are a B2B organisation then LinkedIn could be a social network you want to embrace firmly. LinkedIn is also one of the fastest growing social networks.

Twitter can be used to create a targeted group of followers that is expensive and slow to build on Facebook.

The rise of an increasingly visual web has made social media such as Instagram and Pinterest networks increasingly attractive as part of your social media marketing strategy. Some case studies are revealing that Pinterest is more effective than Facebook in driving social commerce. The online boutique store Boticca’s data is evidence of that.

The basics of marketing must not be forgotten in the frenzy of social media mayhem.

Myth #4. Social Media is the “Silver Bullet”

Social media is not your marketing saviour.

You need to have contagious content on your websites and blog that people will want to share on social networks. You need to  relentlessly build followers, tribes and subscribers. This takes commitment and persistence. Don’t forget the role of traditional media such as email marketing.

Remember to continue to optimize  your online properties for search engines. Being found on Google is still a “must do”. If you aren’t doing this then you need to reconsider some of your marketing budget priorities. Social media marketing advertising is still only $5 billion and search engine marketing spend is 10 times larger at $50 billion plus. Why?…because it works.

Facebook maybe sexy and funky but Google is still king of online and its Google+ network is close to reaching a tipping point in social media consciousness.

What About You?

What has been your experience with social media? Has it been effective? Are you struggling to perform “social at scale”.

What has been your return on investment? Have you been able to measure it?

What other marketing works for you? Has email marketing been important to your tactics?

Are you paying enough attention to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) so people looking for you online can find your in search engines results pages?

Look forward to hearing your stories and successes.

Learn how to market your blog with social media

My book – “Blogging the Smart Way – How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media” shows you how.

It is now available to download. I show you how to create and build a blog that rocks and grow tribes, fans and followers on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It also includes dozens of tips to create contagious content that begs to be shared and tempts people to link to your website and blog.

I also reveal the tactics I used to grow my Twitter followers to over 170,000.

Read more about it here where you can download and read it .

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  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    Social media marketing requires time and resources to do well. If you’re just signing in every once in awhile to check in, the strategy will be limited. In order to find success you need to be active in social media every day and actually engage with followers.

  • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

    Thanks Bill for pointing out the typo and it is now rectified.

  • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

    If you try to do everything you will never start. I often refer to Steven King, who when asked how he writes? “One word at a time” The journey starts with one step.

  • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

    It wasn’t meant to discourage you just have to start and for small business and personal brands it is vital to keep it simple.

  • http://blissmpr.com/ kim brubeck

    great post– especially for SMB’s to understand the balance and identify if its truly worth the spend. Perhaps repurpose the money they’d spend on a larger social strategy into creating content that will set them apart and offer value to their audienc? Just one opinion, anyhow. Thanks for the info!

  • http://socialmediarevolver.com/ KrisOlin

    Great post Jeff! Especially Myth No 2 gets most companies with their pants down. Even though most of the tools used for Social Media marketing are in fact free, it can (and will) cost a lot to plan and execute a successful Social Media campaign. Mostly wages and ad fees are the culprit. You would also need graphics, and someone to write some good copy. It can’t just be just any old “Laadidaa, by our stuff!” material.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=615205112 Clair Trebes

    Fab post Jeff again as always! I’m definintely with you on Myth No 3 – not at all just Facebook! infact, for an offline business I’m involved with Facebook hasn’t given anywhere near the success that Twitter has! For anyone starting out with SM for business, people really need to be open to all options and not rule out any sites, because like we all know, they don’t all work for each business / industry the same its a case of trying / researching what works for you, and there are a LOT of platforms out there to hang out in ! Clair

    • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

      I come across a lot of businesses whose entire social media strategy seems to be just getting more Facebook likes. A lot of them also don’t understand that FB updates will only appear in 3-15% of their fans timelines. Twitter certainly for me provides a very targeted and efficient platform that supports engagement and content distribution and sharing for my blog.

  • http://twitter.com/ocountry Cristian Ocampo

    Myth #2 – My favorite one.
    People don’t appreciate the human work for social media implementation and monitoring, neither for strategic design and planning.

  • http://creative.publicate.it/ Helen Lewis

    Great post Jeff- really good!
    Myth #1 & 2 are ones I come across regularly. Most people in my personal life seem to think I have a really easy job- they don’t appreciate #2- it takes time, monitoring, and a lot of hard work- it is not free. It takes a lot of effort and time.
    Again, I agree with myth 3- it isn’t just Facebook- I am currently loving twitter as well as publicate to keep content on.

  • http://www.go-webdesignonline.ie/ website design Dublin

    Social media is one of the best and morden tool for the marketers.The small business owners successfully understand the fields and evaluate the qualifications with the services. Social media marketing one of the best targeted platform for the marketing

  • GageMedina

    Hello, this is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting
    in your blog especially on how to determine the topic. keep up the good

  • http://www.coastlinemarketinggroup.com/salinas-website-design-services/ website development

    I think it would be really helpful information, those are going to start social media marketing. Because i think after reading this post, they could easily go for it..without any confusion.

  • http://twitter.com/justindye Justin Dye

    I totally agree with this post. SMM operates in that uncomfortable space where there are no sure fire approaches or magic bullets. It’s the Wild West, and it pays to be equal parts excited and skeptical about social campaigns. I measure ROI for my company on two levels, 1) website visits and conversions from SM and, 2) brand engagement. We use Argyle Social and Google Analytics to measure both.

  • http://www.carvermediagroup.com/services/website-development.html Web Development Services

    Social Media, as is the case with anything new, misunderstood sometimes. People over inflate or underestimate the value and importance of it. This is not for anything but they are wrong. Misunderstand often necessary to incorporate social media in your marketing.