Five Common Social Media Marketing Myths

Founder of Prosh Marketing, a fractional CMO & marketing agency that helps startups & SMBs build their marketing practice and go to market.

Social media marketing has taken off in the past decade. Today, almost every company has a social presence. From promoting new products and services, to taking customer service inquiries, to building relationships with customers, social media has proved effective in not only educating customers but also engaging them.

Because of its many uses, social media channels have proliferated. There are so many different platforms these days, from Snapchat to TikTok to Discord and more. This growth in social media has also brought many misunderstandings of this marketing channel.

When advising customers on developing their social media strategies, I often have to remind them of the following myths:

1. You must be present on every social channel.

Each social channel offers unique advantages for messaging and target audiences. Splitting your attention between many platforms can not only often require a lot of work to create unique content for each channel, but it can also require a lot of time and energy to grow each account.

It’s best to focus on the channels where you can maximize your reach of your audiences—customers, partners, employees, etc. By focusing your efforts, you can build strong followings and communities more efficiently without wasting resources on channels where there are fewer of your targets.

2. Social media marketing is only for the top of the funnel—it doesn’t drive leads.

Social media is often seen as an awareness and interest-building channel, sharing information with new potential customers. However, social media can also be a powerful driver of leads. This requires marketers to develop strong thought leadership content that can establish a company as an expert or leader as well as build relationships with customers so they trust them and come to them when they need help.

Testimonials and user-generated content on social can also help establish trust and help customers convert. Additionally, strong product marketing on these channels can assist in offering different use cases or even value propositions. Closest to the bottom of the funnel, social media can be a great place to provide special offers or discounts to drive sales with interested leads.

3. Your main focus should be on growing your followers.

Growing your follower base is important because with followers comes credibility. However, your focus should be split between social growth and engagement since having a ton of followers who aren’t engaging with your content looks equally bad as a small following. This means you should also spend time interacting with your community.

From answering comments and questions to encouraging them to share their thoughts, feedback and experiences, developing a two-way communication channel will make social media much more valuable as a marketing vehicle since you will be able to build deeper and more meaningful relationships through this engagement.

4. If you put content on social media, it will go viral.

Social media has often been touted as the place where things go viral, but not all content that gets posted there does. In fact, the percentage of content posted that goes viral on social is minuscule. For content to go viral, it requires a combination of smartly researched hashtags (like ones that are trending), influencer seeding or some paid promotion to get the ball rolling, great timing that gives people a reason to pay attention, and a bit of luck.

Leveraging these tactics in combination with content that truly resonates with your target audience, evokes an emotion and is highly sharable can certainly assist some content in getting reshared and potentially becoming viral. However, this is not a given, and one cannot just assume that placing content on one of these channels will ensure its virality.

5. Social media is only for young people.

Social media started off as a tool for the younger generation, and certain platforms like TikTok and Snapchat currently have large populations of young people on them. However, there are many older adults on other platforms like Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

Assuming that social media in general is for a younger audience means you’re ignoring the large number of adults and seniors who are on platforms and accessible to market to. By building content and communities targeted to this generation, you can leverage the power of social media to reach more customers while not isolating or alienating older generations of potential customers who have strong spending power.

Overall, social media is a powerful tool that marketers can leverage to reach widespread audiences efficiently and effectively. However, because of its popularity, it can often be misunderstood. When making decisions about social media strategies, it’s useful to think critically about the platforms as well as each one’s unique audience, abilities and opportunities.

A well-balanced social program also includes a variety of goals; it’s important to be realistic and look at benchmarks to understand what can or can’t be achieved. Taking all of this into consideration can provide a solid social media foundation that can foster not only brand awareness but also sales growth.


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