by Justin Soungie & Cortney Gusek

The new growth of social media over the past decade has changed the marketing world. Now businesses, in one simple tweet or post, can speak to an entire following of potential customers with little effort. But with anything that is new and easy to perform, there also comes misunderstandings and misuse.

Myth: Social Media Runs Itself
Assuming your social media will run itself will lead to failure. To have an effective social media campaign you need to invest the time and commitment to a strategic plan. It requires continuous monitoring, input and research to stay current on trends and statistics while engaging with customers to make your social media efforts successful. Some areas of social media can be made easier with programs such as Sprout Social and Hootsuite to help manage multiple accounts and schedule posts. These are valuable tools to assist with work efficiency, time management and customer engagement by easily posting, monitoring and interacting in one management system. But you should never fully automate your marketing plans, as proper social media strategy requires ongoing thought, creation and modification of content and ideas, otherwise your audience may respond poorly to routine notifications.

Myth: Measuring Direct ROI
Even with all the statistics and tracking information available, it is difficult to get an accurate measurement on your investment to determine if it is paying off. But social media marketing is still marketing, which is getting your brand recognized by the public. It is getting people to think about your company and what it is your company has to offer when they are seeking that product or service. Social media platforms do just that, create buzz and if done right, it creates the most valuable kind of marketing, word of mouth.

Myth: Anyone Can Manage a Social Marketing Plan
Whoever you assign to manage your social media will become the voice of your brand. It requires professional and dedicated staff to manage and monitor your accounts in order to build a successful brand image. Having a social media manager provides a voice for the company, shows accountability for the brand and allows for the potential of growth over time. Managing social media is all about the people. Communicating with your network and providing exceptional customer service will generate a responsive and engaged following. Acknowledging customers by answering questions, providing feedback, responding to complaints and resolving problems through an online presence makes customers feel valued because their needs are being met. Ensuring skilled individuals are in charge of social media will ensure the execution of a successful social media plan.

Myth: Quality vs. Quantity
People follow your brand to hear about you and what you have to offer. They want to engage and do business with a company that has personality. Companies with a professional and strictly “here for business” tone will bore the audience and lose followers. People are more likely to engage with a helpful DIY tip or something funny and best-case scenario is they will share with their coworkers, friends and family. A quality network will also generate new leads. Generating successful leads comes from investing the time to build brand awareness and engaging your audience to find the value in your business. There should be a balance between sharing information that will convey your message, and posting so often that you overwhelm your audience. Finding that right balance will keep people engaged with what your company has to say while keeping you in the forefront of their mind.

Myth: More Followers Matters Most
The purpose of social media is to actively engage with your customers and eventually grow your following. Having 100 actively engaged audience members far outweighs a following of 100,000. But eventually, the idea of having a hundred thousand followers regardless of their actual quality becomes appealing. People who engage with your brand are sincerely interested in you, and because of this may share your content to other likeminded people to increase your following with the right people for your business. It’s easy to monitor the growth of your followers and likes because this is a measurable amount. Instead of focusing on the growth of your followers, pay attention to the amount of re-tweets, likes and shares your posts are receiving to get a better idea of your social quality.

Myth: Social Media is 9am – 5pm
Statistically there are certain times of the day that yield higher results therefore it is important to plan and schedule your posts to target your audience at specific times and with the right platform that will maximize your engagement. Scheduling at lunchtime typically yields higher results as users tend to check-in on breaks. Posts during the “mid-week peak” on Tuesday to Thursday between 1pm – 4pm get good results, as users need motivation to get through the afternoon slump. Evenings and weekends should not be ignored. Posts published at night get high interaction when the majority of people have settled down after hours between 7pm – 10pm. Social media is a 24/7 network. Your audience has a limited amount of time and attention to give in a day and you want to capitalize on that time to strengthen the effectiveness of your posts.