The number of Twitter followers someone has doesn't make them an expert.

Which is obvious, but unfortunately misunderstood.

They way consumers shop today has evolved. And social media has enabled the process.

But there are a lot of marketing fundamentals that people are throwing out the door (usually at the request of a "social media expert").

Here are 3 lies that can send you off course.


The Social Media Guru Cartoon Comic
Image courtesy of seanrnicholson


Lie #1: Blog Comments are Important

Social media experts love to give generic advice like "be more human", "engage with your customers", and "create awesome content".

And when you ask them to explain, they usually bring up blog comments as an example.

The 1% rule of the internet is a general rule of thumb that says most people (90%) will consume content, while very few will interact (9%) or create it (1%).

This is even more lopsided when you look across different industries. People in these warm and fuzzy industries are extremely active in creating content, and will leave many more comments.

But most of the world doesn’t. So the type of person each industry caters to says more than the actual, real engagement.

You will never get as many blog comments as a “personal development” or “minimalism” blog.

And that’s OK! Blog comments don’t pay the bills.

Even Dan Zarrella, Social Media Scientist at HubSpot, has dispelled the significance of blog comments.


Lie #2: You Need to Be on Every Social Network

Marketing Pilgrim reports that, "the average large company has 178 corporate-owned social media accounts".

That's ridiculous.

The biggest problem with this strategy of "every-department-gets-their-own-Twitter-account" is that community management will deplete all of your resources. Each social network you manage will cost you more time and money.

And contrary to popular belief, social media isn't free. It takes tremendous resources to do it properly, and has an enormous opportunity cost.

For example, most company blogs are terrible. And their email newsletters aren't much better.

Instead of pouring so many resources into several Twitter or Facebook accounts, they should focus on creating better content. Because both your blog and email marketing has a much higher ROI than your social network activities.

If your content is good enough, then other people will share it for you.

And besides, community management is the worst way to build a social media audience. Your marketing ROI on tweeting 15 times per day is miniscule.

Here's what you should do instead...


Lie #3: Social Media Marketing is about Community Management

Social media marketing isn't only community management.

You should also prioritize business development activities. Instead of starting at the bottom and tweeting to only your Fans and Followers, you should figure out how to work or cross-market with larger brands.

These could be other complementary businesses that share your same customer base, or even independent bloggers. The key is to figure out what the other party wants, which is usually one of three things:

  1. Money
  2. Exposure
  3. Access or Expertise

No matter who it is or what they do, if they're interested in doing any type of partnership, then they're interested in one of those things.

Or better yet, combine three different partners that each bring something to the table. Just make sure that each partner has their own unique skill set.

Maybe you're too small, new, or inexperienced. That's OK too. Look around at your peers. The other up-and-comers who show promise but don't have a huge audience yet. Those are the people you want to connect with.

Every business is short on time, money, and energy. So we need to prioritize our tactics. Doing deals and using partners will leverage your small investment and give you the maximum return.

Reach and growth. Take offline marketing practices and figure out how to apply them in a new context. Because social media is simply a new communication toolset.

And the proven marketing fundamentals still apply.