The PR BlogDigital PRSocial Media Management5 Social Media Myths in Corporate Communications

5 Social Media Myths in Corporate Communications

The most common flaws in our social media analysis.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer

Some social media myths wreak hav­oc on cor­por­ate communications.

Many com­mu­nic­a­tion depart­ments get their social media ana­lys­is wrong. The reas­on is simple: We often go for the obvi­ous answer.

We might think the answer is star­ing us right in the face. But recog­nising the con­trari­an nature of social media is a dif­fer­ent ball game altogether.

I’ve lis­ted five com­mon social media myths in social media ana­lys­is that cor­por­ate com­mu­nic­a­tions choose to believe:

The Social Media Myths in PR

Myth 1. “We Must Publish Often and Everywhere!”

Anyone can pub­lish any­thing almost any­where. And many of those who suc­ceed in social media posts frequently.”

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

It’s true that suc­cess­ful con­tent cre­at­ors typ­ic­ally pub­lish 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 without suc­cess.

We just nev­er see their content.

Think of YouTube. Most people spend time on YouTube to con­sume cre­ativ­ity and cul­ture pro­duced by a rel­at­ively small group of tal­en­ted con­tent cre­at­ors. They’re many things, but they are nev­er dull.

Do we want to be a part of that small, exclus­ive com­munity? The fierce online com­pet­i­tion renders one main conclusion:

Those who ven­ture into online pub­lish­ing must com­pete with qual­ity and consistency. 

We should­n’t be more social based on the assump­tion that every­one wants to talk with us. Instead, we should pro­duce con­tent that audi­ences act­ively seek out because it brings value to them.

Don’t post more. Post better.

Read also: “For Content!”

Myth 2. “We Are Super-Interesting!”

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

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

No, our brands aren’t churches. We don’t have some magic­al oppor­tun­ity to gath­er people around our brands in rev­er­ence and awe.

People talk about brands because they care about their interests and friends — not because they care about your brand.

It might be some­what counter-intu­it­ive; the rel­ev­ant ana­lys­is is that our brands must learn to win the hearts of the few before attempt­ing to win the hearts of the many.

Scaling in the world of social media algorithms means going for niches small enough for dom­in­ance. From there, we scale.

Read also: Group Sizes (From Support Cliques To Tribes)

Myth 3. “We Should Do More Social!”

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

Slow down, please.
What’s the prop­er social media ana­lys­is here?

Those who suc­ceed in social media are not the ones who are “more social” than oth­ers. Those who suc­ceed have found a way to let social media algorithms do all the heavy lifting.

From a social media user­’s per­spect­ive, we now need algorithms to do most of the heavy lift­ing in sort­ing out all the information.

So, how can brands put them­selves in the driver­’s seat? 

By care­fully man­aging our brand com­munit­ies across earned, shared, and owned platforms.

Know your brand com­munity.
Stay in con­stant dia­logue with your com­munity.
Listen and mon­it­or your com­munity.
Give your com­munity what it seeks.

By man­aging the brand com­munity, we man­age the algorithms.

Read also: No Brand Community For You

Myth 4. “We Are Epic Content Creators!”

Digital inform­a­tion spreads fast and vir­ally. So, our con­tent will now spread fast and vir­ally, too.”

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

No, it’s not that your busi­ness should strive to insert its mes­sages into the daily flow of memes and trends. Other pri­or­it­ies should go first.

Ponder this: If all cor­por­ate social media accounts sud­denly dis­ap­peared from the face of the vir­tu­al world, noth­ing would hap­pen. People are fully cap­able of doing their “social media thing” by themselves.

The insight is that people inter­act with our cor­por­ate con­tent — from any­where at any time. In doing so, people pub­licly show­case their beha­viours, needs, pref­er­ences, etc.

Listening is social medi­a’s most prom­in­ent cor­por­ate com­mu­nic­a­tions feature.

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 online listeners.

Read also: Corporate Cringe

Myth 5. “Social Media is the Klondyke of Sales!”

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 social media ana­lys­is here?

Corporate com­mu­nic­a­tion is about estab­lish­ing and main­tain­ing crit­ic­al rela­tion­ships with dia­logue. It’s nev­er been about shout­ing your sales pitch into the faces of as many people as possible.

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

Read also: The Publics in Public Relations

Instead of seg­ment­ing our audi­ence based on demo­graph­ics, we use data to seg­ment pub­lics based on com­mu­nic­at­ive behaviours.

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

Please sup­port my blog by shar­ing it with oth­er PR- and com­mu­nic­a­tion pro­fes­sion­als. For ques­tions or PR sup­port, con­tact me via jerry@​spinfactory.​com.

Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer, alias 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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