Social Media Myths Debunked

Think you know all there is to know about social media? Before you answer, you might want to check out these four social media myths dubbed “unicorns-and-rainbows” by online marketing pro Dan Zarrella. If you’re superstitious about magical marketing quick-fixes, keep reading.

Myth 1: Use social media for conversations, rather than for broadcasting content

Even though one of the most common tips for social media success is to be more conversational and engaging, doing so does not increase followers, fans, or traffic. In his research to get to the bottom of social media myths, Zarrella found no significant correlation between the number of comments and the traffic a blog post generated. And as for Facebook and Twitter, comments, likes, and using the “@” sign did not lead to increased fans and followers.

So how do you increase your social media reach? Simply put, posting interesting content, usually including a link, increases fans and followers on Facebook and Twitter, while frequent blog posting helps to increase traffic.

Myth 2: Adding “Please RT” to the end of tweets does not encourage followers to retweet your content

There’s not much to say here, other than adding “Please RT” to tweets does work—in fact, those tweets containing the 2-word phrase are 4 times more likely to get retweeted.

This simple call to action can help your content reach more people. Maybe it’s because saying “please” is always polite, but most likely it’s because smart marketers know they must ask if they want people to take action. Be sure your postings on all social media sites contain a clear ask if you want to see results.

Myth 3: Don’t refer to yourself as a “guru” on social media

This one surprised me a bit because the term guru seems like a social media cliché. However, calling yourself a guru, or some other variation such as ninja or expert, may be pretentious, but it gets results.

Zarrella found that Twitter accounts with guru in the bio had more followers than the average user. The point is to tell people why they should bother following you . . . and not to shy away from identifying yourself as an authority, if you are one. Not everyone can be a Twitter rockstar, but if you’re great at what you do, let people know so they’ll follow you. And when they do, be sure to give them the quality content they expect.

Myth 4: Send fewer emails to your list

Plenty of marketers are backing away from frequent emails, afraid they’ll bother their list members and suffer a mass “unsubscribe” as a result. Zarrella found 3 key pieces of information that suggest you should be sending more, not less, email to your subscribers:

1. Sending more email results in a decline in unsubscribe rates, not an increase. Rather than sending a lone email once per quarter, remind your subscribers of who you are and what you offer by sending more frequent messages.

2. Sending more email messages doesn’t result in a major drop-off in clickthrough rates. And if your CTR isn’t dropping, yet you’re sending more email, your clicks are actually increasing.

3. The longer a subscriber has been on your list, the lower the response rate. Let’s face it—you’re not shiny and new anymore, so they may have just lost interest. Your best bet is to reach out to them more frequently during the first few days or weeks after they first subscribe.

Do you suspect that you’re believing in other mythical marketing tactics? Which so-called expert solutions would you like to see debunked?

Image courtesy of creative design agency Arrae.

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    • http://www.salestipaday.com/ Chris Hamilton


      Thanks for sharing all this information.

      I especially like the part about a conversation on social media.  I have always said who has time to talk online all day?  When do people get work done.

      I for one have used Twitter to post information on the blog I write every day and what i have found is that it’s my 3rd best source of traffic (after Google and direct).  All done with minimal engagements with people.  I believe it’s all about providing great information that people want to read (I make a big assumption that I am creating great content).  

      Here’s a post I did on using Twitter how you want - http://salestipaday.com/2011/06/01/the-12-things-i-learned-about-twitter-18-use-twitter-how-you-want/ .  This actually comes from a segment I wrote in Jeffrey Gitomer’s book Social Boom where I tell people I think people should use Twitter the way that it works for them.

      Good stuff you put in your post.


      Chris Hamilton

    • http://www.bloggertone.com Niall Devitt

      I’d question as to whether having comments and likes on Facebook has no impact, especially when you consider edgerank? It seems to me like it’s built in to the platform? Adding “please RT” definitely works in my experience but it’s interesting to see how much so.

    • http://www.weberclean.com/ Kyle-Carpet Cleaning Fargo ND

      Thanks for the post. I myself am trying to build my social media brand and will implement these great tips. Thanks again.