Today I want to discuss and debunk misconceptions that relate to social media. We'll go over some of the most common misunderstandings, why they hurt people, and how to help you get past them so you can continue to build your own career and business online and ultimately dismiss the noise so you can literally get down to business!
There's many reasons myths and misinterpretations surround social media and running a business online. They grow out of fear and insecurities, and the 'less than' feelings that affect pretty much everyone. But these misconceptions that are simply bad information that continues to perpetuate. So let's break 'em up!
Something that has evolved over time for me within my job (but has always been important to me) is working really hard to create a space for people to ask me questions with no fear or shame - there is no judgement here. I really want people to learn and feel empowered. And it may be cliche, but knowledge truly is power. For some reason there is embarrassment when not knowing tech related things regarding the Internet. It's very common. People are afraid to ask questions about technology for fear that they will look incompetent or stupid. I work super hard to create an environment in my work that all questions are OK.
I'm not down with shame game. It's not productive and it holds people back. I work my butt off to educate people to the best of my ability around tech, social media, and being online to help them realize their dreams online, and also because it brings me enormous satisfaction. In that process I learn about a lot of misconceptions, misunderstandings, and just plain fallacies that many people believe.
I want to address some of the most predominant, and common ones I hear in the hopes that by dispelling them, they'll allow you to build your own career or business online and eschew these misconceptions that may actually be holding you back.
6 Common Misconceptions About Social Media
Social media is easy
Oh sure it is. If you're doing it for yourself on a personal level, it's super easy. It's also fun. You don't really need to think about anything. But when you do it for a business, it's a whole other beast. It's simply not about just posting to Facebook or Twitter. It's evaluating your business goals, then lining those goals up with your social media strategy, then coming up with an actual plan to meet those goals. And there's a whole lot more to it than just that, such as: coming up with content, deciding what sites work for that content, creating content that resonates with your followers and lines up with your social media goals as well as your calendar, engaging with people and learning how to turn those into relationships and possibly customers, evaluating what's working, and what's not, and believe it or not, so much more. So yes, it is really easy if you're not doing anything I just listed.
Why this hurts people: This gives people a skewed notion of how much work is involved in creating a strategy. It also sets businesses up to fail on social media due to posting haphazardly and not meeting their goals, such as sales, traffic, exposure, etc.
Solution: First and foremost, create a social media strategy. Read everything you can around marketing. Join Facebook Groups that will help you learn. Get a business buddy who you can talk to and share openly and honestly with and learn from. Hire someone to help you. Start a mastermind. Invest in professional development. Dedicate a little bit of time every week to learn how you can use social media better. It sounds like a lot, but if you want your business to succeed online, find the time.
Social Media does the hard work for you
Often times people believe that they can post something to social media, and that's it. All is done. But there is so much more to it than that - as explained above. Social media for business is about creating a brand's message, building relationships, and turning those followers into customers. Creating content and sharing it online is a whole process, and once you get it in place and continue to fine tune it, it can and will deliver for you. But posting whenever and whatever with no real thought is not a plan.
Why this hurts people: This gives people false expectations of what social media can actually do. Sadly, it often turns into a self fulfilling prophecy too. People think social media should be delivering for them but when there is no consistent plan in place or overall strategy, it's almost impossible for anything but negative results to come of it. So when it doesn't deliver, people think there is something wrong with their business, when what's wrong is there is no consistency in place, that's all.
Solution: Understand that there is a whole system that should be in place when trying to build a following and share a message online. Social media is a vehicle for your hard work. It is a conduit. It drives the traffic back to your site with the content you create. Make a plan to meet your goals, and figure out how to create content that represents those goals.
You can post infrequently and you'll get results
Nope. Gone are the days of posting something once every few weeks and getting results immediately. It is a very noisy world online now. Posting once a week or even once or twice a month to a Facebook Page, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter is basically the same thing as not posting at all. Why? Because your content is getting lost. People are forgetting why they followed you and in some cases who you even are. Terrible, I know.
Why this hurts people: This is simply a waste of time. The little work you are doing is being diluted by weeks and days in between. This often stems from poor planning, and the fear of being too sales-y or annoying.
Solution: Create an editorial calendar for your social media. Decide what events are coming up (shows, new products, workshops, sales, etc) and plan your social media around these events. Then use platforms like Edgar (what I use), Buffer, or Hootsuite to help you get your head around it all. Once you start posting consistently, you will start to see a difference.
If you don't have thousands of followers/if you don't get tons of likes you aren't successful
I like to refer to this as the viral mentality (I know I'm becoming that person that acts like they've coined a phrase, soon I'll be making up percentages. 😂). We live in this culture that tells us thousands of followers and tons of likes equates success and popularity. No. They don't. A thriving business (ie: sales) equates success. An engaged audience means popularity. It is really that simple.
Why this hurts people: It's simply not true, and it breeds resentment and a sabotage mentality. I talk about this a lot with clients and say it a lot at workshops: You can have a very robust, engaged following with 200 people. Likes and followers mean nothing if your goals are not being met on social media (sales, website traffic, etc). Period. Yes, we all want to look popular and have thousands of followers, but trust me the signal to noise ratio goes through the roof when that happens. What is important is that your followers are engaging with you, and heading back to your website, or buying from you, not the amount of followers you have.
Solution: Concentrate on building relationships one by one with your following. People want to support and buy from people they know and trust.
If you haven't started using social media yet there's no point in starting now
I used to think like this 5 years ago regarding blogging; that it was too late to start a new blog after my old art blog. lol. Do you know how many blogs have come and gone and built massive followings in that time frame? If we all thought like this no one would be using social media now.
If you have a message or a story that you want to share, then the time is now. Just because you only have a few hundred followers or ten or twenty, doesn't mean you can't build a solid following.
Why this hurts people: It keeps people from taking action, and it encourages people to put off what they want to do today. Social media and creating content online takes perseverance, a ton of energy, and time. You should really love what you do. It should be burning in your soul to connect that message with others; because it takes a lot of work. But the work pays off if you remain consistent.
Solution: Time is going to pass, and if you don't do it someone else will. So hop to it. Start today. Make a plan, and make it happen.
There's not enough room for you in this crowded landscape
As above, this is a losing mentality. Think of how many people are in this world, do you get up in the morning and think "meh, too many people on this planet today I think I'll pack it in."? No. You don't. You get up, make that coffee, and you get to work. Because what's the alternative? So yes, there absolutely is enough room for you in this social media landscape. I won't lie, it's noisy and crowded...but like I said if you have a story, or something you want to share, your people are out there waiting for it.
Why this hurts people: It keeps people from taking action, and it encourages people to put off what they want to do today.
Solution: If you have a burning desire to do something, then there absolutely is enough space for you. So go get it girl.
So what's holding you back? How can I help you? What have you believed in the past or currently that is keeping you from building your online presence? Keep in mind that this is a lot of work. Running a business is hard! It's not easy. But if you believe in what you do, work to make it happen, and continue to learn and grow then you can work to make your business a reality.