3 Social Media Myths That Are Sabotaging Your Business

What is the value of a like and how does it impact my bottom line? If you know, you represent a small percentage of businesses. Almost 90 percent of companies don’t know how to measure the success of their social media (moz.com). It’s understandable–social media is a difficult beast to dissect and interpret.

So, how do you find out what kind of return you’re getting from the 13.2% (of your marketing budget) you spent on social media? For starters, don’t listen to these common misconceptions that are circulating across the Internet. They are bound to lead you astray and cause significant damage to your online reputation. Learn the truth behind the myths and understand the real value social media can bring to your business. (For additional insight in measuring and managing social media success, visit MarketingProfs, Hootsuite, or Social Media Examiner.)

MYTH #1: A FINANCIAL RETURN IS THE ONLY “ROI” THAT MATTERS

Most businesses worry about whether or not their Facebook or Twitter pages are driving in-store sales. Revenue is one way to measure ROI, but it’s not the only one. A return can also be measured through customer acquisition, new leads, clicks, and contest entries. If you’re only concerned about receiving a financial return, you will be shortchanging social media’s intended value in developing and strengthening customer relationships.

Ted Rubin, chief social-marketing officer of Collective Bias, suggests focusing on ROR (Return On Relationship) instead of the traditional ROI that attempts to analyze direct impact on sales. He explains, “ROR is the value (both perceived and real) that will accrue over time through loyalty, recommendations, and sharing, and is used to define and educate companies, brands, and people about the importance of creating authentic connection, interaction, and engagement.”

This is what ROR boils down to: social media drives engagement; engagement drives loyalty; and loyalty correlates directly to increased sales.

Measure Relationships In 3 Stages

  • Audience growth (increase in real likes or followers)
  • Reactivity (getting users to engage–likes, comments, shares, etc.)
  • Stickiness (users that keep coming back, engaging and interacting)
  • Most social media networks will provide certain metrics relating to the reach of your posts and the number of reactions they get (likes, comments, shares).
  • Keep in mind that no single metric will give you the entire picture of your campaign’s success.

Measurement Tools For The Most Commonly Used Networks

MYTH #2: PAGES WITH THE MOST LIKES ALWAYS WIN

More isn’t always better. In the world of social media, many assume that businesses with the highest number of followers always outperform everyone else. Not true. You could have 5,000 stagnant and disinterested Facebook likes, with only a few who engage with you or you could have 1,000 active followers, who help spread your content and further, extending your reach and generating new leads.

As you can see, it doesn’t always pay to be the most popular kid in town. It’s quality of friends you have, not quantity, that gets you places. So, instead of focusing so much on a meaningless number, build a list of followers who “are hyper-connected and interacting with brands and individuals on a consistent basis.”

Origami Logic’s new e-book “The Marketer’s Guide to Measuring Social Engagement,” recommends these three key categories to look at when measuring the quality of your follower list.

Applause: likes and favorites. These show interest in, agreement, or empathy for content. Applause also helps with customer retention.

Conversation: comments and replies, direct or indirect replies to social content. Building on this metric promotes audience interaction, creates goodwill, develops customer relationships, and improves customer retention.

Amplification: shares, retweets, mentions, or repins. Content is passed on to a wider audience, taking engagement to a higher level by demonstrating brand advocacy. Amplification is crucial for customer acquisition, since these actions increase the reach of messages.

MYTH #3: IT’S BETTER TO HAVE FAKE FOLLOWERS THAN TO HAVE NONE AT ALL

Building your online reputation on a lie isn’t a good idea, not to mention unethical. The temptation to buy 1,000 followers for a mere $4 is understandable, especially if growing your follower list has been difficult. How else are you supposed to get seen if you only have 12 measly Facebook likes? There are better ways to do it. Quality followers can not be bought. They must be earned. (Here are “100 Killer Ideas For Your Social Content” to help you earn them.)

Despite what many believe, having fake metrics makes you look worse, not better, online. For example, Facebook’s algorithm makes sure to keep quality content (determined by the level of engagement by users) at the top of users’ news feeds. If you have 1,000 bogus profiles, your reach will be slim to none because most fake followers are unengaged robots and do nothing to increase your reach. They “interfere with the accuracy of your online marketing data. Social media metrics such as engagement and conversion for example, are dependent on follower/fan interaction. If yours are fakes, you will have a hard time analyzing the effectiveness of your campaign.”

Not everyone who has fake followers is buying them. You may have them without even knowing it. Here are some tools to help you detect fakes in your own list as well as some red flags for spotting unethical and dishonest businesses.

“Red Flags” To Watch For In Businesses Who Buy Fake Followers

  • A page has very few posts and tons of likes and followers.
  • There is a sudden sharp spike in followers.
  • Comments are irrelevant, generic, or spammy. For example, you might see “great picture,” “that’s great,” or “good job.”
  • Fake fans have complex first and/or last names, along with a profile picture that looks like a stock photo.
  • A small business or start-up that has an unrealistic amount of followers, say 10,000.

    What matters most is influence and connection. Bought accounts won’t spread your message or buy your product, which means a core group of active followers is more valuable than thousands of fakes.”

    DON’T BE MISINFORMED

    Many businesses have fallen victim to a lot of misinformation about the true value of social media and what it takes to get ahead. Don’t let one of them be you. Whether you’re outsourcing your social media or managing it yourself, it’s good to know what type of return you should expect and how best to measure your success and build a quality following.