5 Myths of Social Media Marketing

by: | March 2, 2012

For a lot of enterprising business owners, the myths surrounding social media marketing turn them away from even attempting to make it work for their businesses.

Even for business owners who do attempt social media, subscribing to these myths often leads to unproductive and ultimately fruitless attempts to engage their customers.

Well, no longer! Below, I’ve compiled five of the most prevalent and damaging myths about social media in order to debunk every one of them. No matter what your experience in social media marketing, avoiding these obscured mentalities will help your marketing be more effective.

Myth #1 Social Media Is Just For Young People

It’s only school-age kids on Twitter and Facebook, so you don’t need to worry about social media, right?


The demographics of social media networks are staggeringly diverse. Look at the 81 million Gen-Y-ers in the US. A dramatic 96 percent of them are on one or more social networks. Many of these people are in their late 20s and 30s and in positions to make decisions for their companies or employers.

These are the very people you want to target.

According to Ad Age, almost 40 percent of Facebook users range between the ages of 35 and 55+. The demographics for LinkedIn are closer to 50 percent. And more than half of all Twitter users are older than 30.

For you, intrepid business owner, this means that regardless of your target demographic, you can find your audience on social media networks. (Check out Does Your Marketing Plan Speak the Language of Millenials? for more on this subject.)

Myth #2 Social Media Is Free

I hate to break it to you, especially if you’re a cash-strapped business owner, but social media is not free. The tools, like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are free, but it takes time, effort and understanding to have success with social media, and your time isn’t free. 

Now, that doesn’t mean you’ll need to change your job title to social media manager. If you’re serious about your marketing, either set aside training time to learn how to get the most out of your social media marketing or hire someone to manage it. If you’re reading this blog, you’ve already got a head start.

Here are a few excellent guides for getting started learning about social media.

Myth #3 Build It, and They Will Come

Sadly, this isn’t Field of Dreams, but many business owners stop at this first step. Simply building your Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn pages and posting a few articles or tips won’t solve your social media needs.

If your goal is to engage with customers and would-be customers, you need to give these people content to discuss, share, and comment on. That means posting interesting videos, blog posts, discussions, opinions, and other engaging content that goes beyond simply setting up your profiles and sharing a couple press releases.

Here’s a great resource for getting started with social media once you’ve set up your profiles.

Myth #4 Social Media Traffic Immediately Equals Sales

Let me be very clear here: Social media is not a silver bullet. Having a high number of “likes” and follows won’t immediately lead to an increase in sales.

So, then, what’s the point you say?

The objective is two-fold. First, your brand needs exposure to be successful. The more people see and experience your brand, the more your company will be known, liked, and bought from. Second, it’s consistent and repeated exposure to specific types of social media content like information and campaigns that leads to sales.

The common thread in both of those points is time investment. It takes time to build a successful brand presence and social media interaction that will lead to sales. is a perfect example of a company whose customers actively engage with the company via social media, and that interaction leads to sales.

Myth #5 The Secretary or Intern Can Run Your Social Media

This is one of the most prevalent myths about social media. Many owners and managers think, “That new intern/secretary is young; they know the Internet better than I do.” This might be partly true, but would you hire them as a marketing manager or brand ambassador?

Would you want a young, part-time employee to be the face of your brand? 

Now, you might also be thinking: “Well, the intern is a whole lot cheaper than doing it myself or hiring someone to do it.” When you think about your budget, you might be right. What’s your budget for social media faux pas? Do you have a contingency plan for when that intern publishes a company secret or grossly misrepresents you? How about when he or she is having a bad day and posts something embarrassing to the company?

In the end, the wrong person at the helm of your social media presence can significantly tarnish your brand. You’d be better off hiring a professional or learning to handle it yourself.

This list certainly isn’t exhaustive (I could write 17 more posts on this topic alone!), but if you avoid these social media pitfalls with your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and other social media accounts, then you’ve got a head start on your social media marketing!Marketing Zeus

Do you have any experience with these myths or know a myth that should be busted? Let us know in the comments! 

Posted in: B2C, Branding, Campaign Development, Content, Engage!, Facebook, Link Building, Professional Services, Social Networks, Twitter, Video

About the Writer:

Born in England and raised in the U.S., Charles Forster is the marketing director and partner at Vine & Grain, a company that creates management technologies for bars and restaurants. Prior to that position, he ran a graphic design company, Call Me Chaz, in Philadelphia, PA and Orlando, FL. He focused on branding, websites, print, video and marketing for small business clients up and down the east coast. He's a self-prescribed car nut and foodie. He's also the curator for This Is Visceral, a site devoted to poster art.

View Full Bio »

More Columns