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MYTHS ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA

by Shruti Puri
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“I am thankful my childhood was filled with imagination & bruises from playing outside instead of apps and how many likes you get on a pic”

The evolution of social media has drastically changed the way we behave in a society. In and out we have been dominated by the social media platforms where our day starts with a good morning message on Facebook and ends with a picture on Instagram. However, we cannot deny the fact that it’s the power of the social media only that has enabled us to connect, and make friends and professional relations globally. And as a gift to itself, social media has generated few myths around it that people have started believing to be true.

Any unknown entity that inspires awe, fear or reverence is often turned into a myth. Even if one has stopped running after glow worms, the adult life adds its own variants of myths. So, yes, there is no running away from myths, for they help us to be deluded and stay in a cocoon of make believe. If someone thought increased communication would shake that cocoon of ours and make us face reality, well, that is not always the case. Thus, ogres and ghosts still prance around in our imagination, aliens did gobble up ships and aeroplanes in the Bermuda triangle, and the Loch Ness monster patiently prowls in the depths of a placid lake in Scotland to pounce on any unsuspecting adventurer.

Do the above mentioned examples mean myth making is limited to something that happened in the past or falls in the exclusive domain of commoners’ imagination? The answer is a definite NO, for even geeks gaping into their computer screens doing number crunching and analysing data while being wired to the Internet, have their own brand of myths.

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These new age myths are mainly related to the growing world of social media. Yes, the twenty first century fad that seems to have led everyone – from a school kid to a teenager, businessman, homemaker, law enforcer, teacher, musician, politician, journalist, sportsman, celebrity, or social commentator. Yes, probably every section of the human society has a role to play in it.

The world of social media, apart from being an excellent medium of communication, has evolved into a medium for doing business as well. Thus, companies have realized the immense potential of leveraging this huge customer base for advertising their products and services through communication channels fancifully called B2B or B2C.

Notwithstanding the boundless growth of social media a la Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat etc., and its harnessing by corporates, there are myths abound even among the crème de la crème. Following is a list of such myths that many of us believe in some way or the other, and quite rightly are needed to be debunked.

Myth 1: Social media rules people’s lives

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Even if that may hold true for some, a large section of people do not have anything to do with the social media. And those who are there mostly spend their time uploading pictures, communicating with friends and colleagues, or are just curious about what is happening in the lives of others. However, that should not deter corporates from leveraging its potential. Surveys suggest that businesses with a large following generate better leads than others. It is important that social media platforms are used by businesses to establish an initial line of communication with consumers rather than bombard the latter with info on products and services. It is necessary not to put all the eggs in the social media basket but try other means as well such as SEO and digital marketing.

Myth 2: Establish your presence on all social media platforms

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Someone Somewhere is watching you!

Not necessarily! A company should do a thorough research as to which social media platforms their target customers would be present. For example, if a company caters to customers mostly from the semi urban areas, it would be futile to spend time and money on sites like Twitter or Instagram – mostly used by urbanites. Once a social media platform is identified where there is a greater chance of finding potential customers, suitable marketing strategies should be devised. Just by opening accounts in every platform and not following them up with regular updates can be counterproductive.

Myth 3: Leads are hard to come by

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Merely advertising products and services on social media by just opening an account won’t do any good. Since people come to social media to interact with others, it is best to establish a line of communication with consumers through discussion boards, blogs and articles. Create a customer base by engaging them in discussions on general topics about business not necessarily the particular product or service that one offers. For example, a company selling shoes can initiate discussion through blogs on the difference between wearing canvas and leather shoes. Social media might not give instant leads but by using tools such as Hootsuite, it can be managed well wherein the customer base stays in touch with the company profile.

Myth 4: Only meant for youngsters

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The common perception is that social media is mainly used by the youth. Even if that is largely true, studies have revealed that a significant section of people above thirty five has made social media their favourite platform for interaction. So, a company can ignore this huge demography at its peril.

Myth 5: Leads generated from social media can’t be measured

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This certainly isn’t true, for instead of calculating the number of likes or followers on social media platforms, a company should take better measures to calculate ROI. These include measuring parameters such as reach, engagement and conversion. A reach would imply the impact of the content on users. The same can be measured by using analytics reports that are available on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, besides using others like Klout.

An engagement would include the content shared, links clicked, replies given and comments made on a company’s social media profile. These can be measured by using third party tools. Furthermore, if the engagement leads to downloading, registration or outright purchase through the website, the same can be measured by using Google Analytics.

Myth 6: Difficult to create a customer base as only celebrities attract followers

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Although it is true that Justin Bieber, Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Justin Timberlake or Kattie Perry among others have followers that run into millions, there are companies galore with a large number of customer-base on social media as well. Some of these examples are that of ICICI, Uber, Taxi for sure, Flipkart and Snapdeal. It is possible to create a customer base through posting unique content and by building awareness about the product or service line through blogs and articles.

Myth 7: One needs to post content all the time

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Even though being relevant is the need of the hour in terms of posting content on social media, it should be done in a balanced way. Doing it all the time won’t make sense as followers should get adequate time to register the message and respond to the same. Besides, posting tweets more often would be treated as spam leading to the account’s suspension or being ‘muted’ by the followers. There are tools available like Hootsuite that can post content periodically without any human intervention.

Myth 8: Use of maximum hash tags to engage people

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Again, too much of anything is bad. Even though the use of hash tag is a good way of engaging customers about a specific subject, product or service, should it be done excessively it can prove counterproductive. It may left customers feeling overburdened with information, which may lead to their disengaging with the company’s account.

Myth 9: Social media means to confront an army of trolls

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Social media marketing is a great way to build a brand provided well thought out strategies are implemented with patience as the key.


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