Doctor SpinDigital FirstSocial Media Comms5 Social Media Myths for Brands

5 Social Media Myths for Brands

Five basic fails in your marketing analysis.

These social media myths wreak havoc on brand strategies.

Many brands get their social media marketing analysis wrong. The reason is simple: Marketers often go for the obvious answer.

It’s one thing to recognise a clear insight as it stares you right in the face. But recognising the contrarian nature of human nature and algorithms is a different ball game altogether.

I’ve listed five common social media myths in marketing analysis:

Table of Contents

    1. “We Must Post Often and Everywhere!”

    “Anyone can post anything almost anywhere. And many of those who do well … posts often.”

    Not so fast, tiger.
    What’s the proper marketing analysis here?

    It’s true that successful content creators typically posts often. But it works because those content creators are social media naturals and … they’ve been lucky enough to have stumbled upon a rich vein.

    Another way to think about it: it’s survivorship bias. There are countless more examples of content creators who publish often and everywhere, but without success.

    We just never see their content.

    From a publisher’s perspective, the notable result is that we now need algorithms to do most of the heavy lifting in sorting out all the information.

    The business analysis portion of this insight is that it’s better to be in charge of an algorithm than being in a position of trying to beat someone else’s algorithm.

    So, how can you put yourself in the driver’s seat?

    Well, by having your very own brand community that exists across all those paid, earned, shared, and owned platforms.

    Control the community, control the algorithms.

    2. “We Are Super-Interesting!”

    “People connect around shared interests. We should ask them to connect around us in the same way.”

    Hold that thought.
    What’s the proper marketing analysis here?

    No, it’s not that your business will have some magical opportunity to get people to gather around your brand in reverence and awe.

    People talk about your brand because they care about their community and, more specifically, how this community relates to them — not because they care about your brand.

    It might be somewhat counter-intuitive; the business-relevant analysis of this outcome is that your business must learn to win the heart of the few before even attempting to win the hearts of the many.

    Scaling in the world of online algorithms means going for a niche that’s so small that you can establish business dominance. And then you scale upwards from there.

    The journey to growth starts with winning the hearts and minds of the few.

    3. “We Should Be More Social!”

    “People spend lots of time on social media. So, we should be more social, too.”

    Take it easy for just a second.
    What’s the proper marketing analysis here?

    No, it’s not that your business should be more ‘social’ on social media or “be active where your consumers are hanging out”.

    Think of YouTube. Most people spend time on YouTube to consume creativity and culture produced by a relatively small minority of content creators.

    Yes, social media has a bit of social interaction, but the name social media is quite misleading. In social media, there’s just more media consumption than social interaction. From a business perspective, social media’s ‘social’ aspect is more about behavioural data informing the algorithms about ‘social objects’.

    The fierce online competition renders one main conclusion:

    Focus your baseline marketing resources on business data. Those who venture into online publishing should compete with quality and consistency.

    In a winner-takes-most arena, choose only battles where you can dominate.

    4. “We Will Be Epic Content Creators!”

    “Digital information spreads fast and virally. Our content will now spread fast and virally, too.”

    Hold your horses.
    What’s the proper marketing analysis here?

    No, it’s not that your business should always strive to insert its messages into the daily flow of virals, memes, and trending topics.

    Ponder this: If all business accounts and all business updates suddenly disappeared from social media today, not all that much would happen. People are lovely with doing their “social media thing” all by themselves.

    The actual marketing insight here is that people can go to your store in a split second — from anywhere. Potential customers can connect with existing customers to learn more. And people are publicly showcasing their behaviours, needs, preferences, etc.

    For any business, the most prominent marketing value in social media is listening.

    Consider the marketing of hugely successful tech-driven companies like Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, Google, Facebook, and WordPress.

    They’re not online talkers; they’re silent miners.

    5. “We Can Use Social Media To Sell More!”

    Lots of consumer data is made available. We should use that data to create marketing personas to understand our customers.”

    Slow down there, tiger.
    What’s the proper marketing analysis here?

    No, it’s not that your business should hold on to the idea of creating ‘marketing personas’ — despite having access to more data.

    A marketing persona is a stereotype based on demographic data. While demographic data can be helpful sometimes, it’s not very useful for communication. Because demographically similar groups have surprisingly diverse communication habits.

    Instead of segmenting your market based on target audiences, use data to segment the publics (based on actual communicative behaviours) instead.

    Don’t guess what stereotypes will do; track what real people are doing.

    Cover photo by Jerry Silfwer (Prints/Instagram)


    Jerry Silfwer
    Jerry Silfwer
    Jerry Silfwer, aka Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at KIX Index and Spin Factory. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.
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