10 Client Delusions About Social Media

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We all know that social media is extremely important and that every PR pro worth his or her digital salt will be up-to-date on the latest changes from the major networks as well as upstarts that may soon become essential tools…or  not (see Ello, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.).

Beyond those basic facts, however, there’s lots of disagreement among both industry veterans and clients: who “owns” social? Which networks are best for which clients/campaigns? How can one satisfy clients demanding ROI?

The founders of Santa Monica-based agency [made to order] recently focused on the client side, asking followers and colleagues to help compile a list of the most stubborn social media myths on Facebook  and Twitter using the tag #SocialDelusions.

Agency founder Gretchen Fox shared her top ten favorite submissions:

1. “Social is free.”

socialdelusions free

Well, no. Beyond the obvious fact that Facebook has continued to minimize the value and reach of unpaid posts, social media management requires quite a bit in the way of time and talent…which is by no means free.

2. “You don’t need a strategy.”

SocialDelusions strategy

Social efforts won’t amount to much if there’s no underlying strategy. “Post whenever I feel like it” doesn’t work for anyone — even the various networks’ most popular users.

From Fox: “So many issues people have with social arise from not being strategic about their approach to social…it’s an endless cycle until they stop and put in a strategy that helps them actually build a strong digital presence that their audience can relate to.”

3. “Klout scores matter a lot.”

Has anyone checked his or her Klout score recently? Klout did prove something to us, though: influence is not just a “who has more followers” game. (Remember that the service once dubbed Justin Bieber “more influential” than the President of the United States.)

4. “Your company needs to be on Ello right now.”

Ello, for one, has made clear that it doesn’t want businesses on its network if they will use it for marketing purposes.

Addressing the larger issue, Fox writes, “Hopping on the latest platform du jour is fine — if you have a stable social department and a strategy. What you don’t need to do is invest a lot of money into a new platform until the dust settles or you have a lot of money.”

5. “If you build it, they will come.”

From Fox: “People think if they create an app or a website that when they just publish it live, all the sudden they will have users. They don’t know that they need to craft their promotion of the product just as carefully as they did their product build.”

On the other hand, if you don’t build it then they definitely will NOT come.

6. “We can hire one person to own all of our social efforts.”

The myth here is that “you can find one person who can create strategy, write content and do analytics for around $40K.” Of course this person would need to be willing to work evenings and weekends as well…

Fox writes, “This is like expecting the chef to seat you, wait on you, make the menu, cook the food and clean up. It’s possible but it’s not going to be a good experience for anyone. The people that are great at channel management aren’t usually the ones who can are also great at strategy work, and the people who are great at community management may not be great copywriters or have photoshop skills.

It’s best to identify what you need and then source your department.”

7. “We can just have someone do social media 3-4 days a month.”

Social is all about instant gratification, which requires both regular posting and careful monitoring. As Greg Weiss of Mastercard tweeted, “A brand that replies to my tweet makes more of an impact on me than years and years worth of advertising could ever make.”

8. “There’s one tool that does everything.”

No. No, there is not. Next…

9. “Interns will solve everything.”

socialdelusions intern

They won’t.

Fox writes, “All too often, a company tries to fill too many holes with interns. They also fail to understand how much training is required for this level of support and that it’s a short window of work in return for cheap labor. Better to invest in staff that you can keep around and supplement with interns instead of the other way around.”

10. “Our audience isn’t on social.”

How is this myth not dead already? EVERYONE uses social in some capacity.

What do we think of these ten, readers? What’s missing from the list so far?