Social Media Myths Debunked

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Make The Most Of Your Social Media Experience: The Myths of Social Media Debunked

Unless you’ve been living on a desert island for the past several years you’re already aware of the impact social media has on consumers. Marketing has added a new facet to reaching customers, and in an author’s case, readers, and hopefully this post will help you make the most of your Social Media campaigns.

I wanted to touch on some of the most common myths that surround social media. For some reason there is more misinformation about Social Media than about Area 51, so hopefully I’ll be able to dispel some of these myths, if not, make sure to leave me a comment and I’ll try to address it more clearly.

Myth Truth
Everyone is on social media Not every person or every company is on social media. Social media works well for some people (i.e. celebrities, marketing companies, etc.) and not so well for others. There are many authors who find great success with various social media mediums, and others who find it an obstacle for their success. You have to really research and think about what you want to accomplish with your campaign.

 

Only celebrities attract thousands of followers Absolutely not. In fact, most of the top Tweeters are everyday people. The old marketing rule is the key on this one, have a good product and people will flock. Say something interesting; say it often and people will come back for more.

 

Growing your social media following will increase your fame Probably not. Again, most of the top Tweeters are everyday people, so fame has nothing to do with it. You could have millions of followers and it doesn’t translate to fame, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t become famous from Twitter. It hasn’t happened yet, but I believe there are infinite possibilities.

 

If I get a big enough following it will translate to book sales Once again, probably not. The goal with Twitter should be to gain followers of substance. As an author, this would mean people who like your writing and who would want to purchase your books. The reality is that when you’re building a following, you will have fellow authors, author services, and others following you. This doesn’t mean that you won’t find potential readers in this group, but I wouldn’t expect to make your book sales based off your Twitter following. You need a viable marketing plan, and any PR or Marketing professional will tell you Twitter helps, but it’s not the complete answer.

 

You need to post 24/7 to be successful Absolutely not. In fact, you will find that posting at peak intervals (when most of your followers are online) will help you maximize your engagement with your followers. Posting 24/7 will become a job in itself and you’ll never have time to write. I suggest employing retweeters. These are Twitter members who have set up accounts specifically to retweet about certain subjects. You’ll find a list of retweeters (all free of charge) on my post about Twitter under Social Media.

 

You must be on every social network / you need to be on every new platform No, no, no. I may have to change to another language to say no enough on this one. Much like too many interviews or too many versions can oversaturate the market, being on every single platform can do the same for your name/brand. You need to identify your market and cater to that group. Based on your marketing strategy you can select a few platforms that will benefit you the most. The only absolutes I recommend is a personal website – this should be your launch point for every platform and they should all direct back to it: and Twitter. All others are a choice.

 

Facebook is the holy grail Not everyone’s work translates best on Facebook. Again, it’s about knowing your readers and how to best communicate with them. If they are Facebook friendly, then Facebook is the answer for you. But if you’re writing for people who never use Facebook, it’s of no use to you or your marketing plan. No social media is the end all be all of anything; you need to have many spokes on your marketing wheel, but it’s up to you where those spokes are.

 

Social media is a great marketing tool: It’s the best place to generate word of mouth: It’s the perfect place to talk about you and your book This one is a maybe; I shy away from saying yes simply because I don’t want to mislead anyone into believing that social media will give you the career you want. Yes, social media is a great tool for marketing, a great way to generate word of mouth, and a great place for you to talk about your book. But social media is only one tool in your toolbox. If you’re only using social media, you’re not going to reach your full potential. So a hesitant yes, but only if you have a full marketing plan that includes more than just social media. Which leads right into the next myth:

 

Social media doesn’t complement traditional marketing Absolutely not!! Social media can be a very effective and important tool in your marketing toolbox. Don’t underestimate its value. Social media done right can translate into new readers and potential sales for your work. Proper planning and implementation is key.

 

Social media is too informal Again, no. I think that, while there are some users that are too informal, social media done properly can be a great way for an author to reach their market on a more personal level. Social media is personal, so it’s meant to be more informal, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unprofessional. This also hinges on planning and implementation, so a proper marketing plan is needed.

 

It’s quick Yes and no. It’s quick and easy to set up accounts and start communicating your message, but you’ll find the more social media you do, the more time it takes. You need to plan well and include a management program to help you not only reach your goals, but monitor them. If you plan and work smart, you can set aside time every day to work on social media still leaving you time for writing and a life.

 

It’s cheap Another yes and no. Yes most all of the social media sites are free to set up an account and get started. Finding the right management application can be free, but most times you will need to invest. You’ve invested in your writing; now invest in your writing career. Most applications will allow you try their application free to get a feel for it, and this will help you find one that works best for you. I’ve personally implemented more than one application to help me manage my social media, and while every situation is different, be open to the possibility that more than one answer may be the answer for you.

 

Social media is all you need No, no, absolutely no! You must have a multi-tiered marketing plan if you want to be successful. Having multiple venues to get your work in front of potential readers is smart and effective. Using only social media is committing career suicide, just as only traditional marketing would. You need to embrace all possibilities for getting your work into the hands of your readers, and if you’re anything like me, there’s nothing you won’t do to reach every potential reader. Don’t limit your possibilities.

 

You MUST have a platform This one is a bit tricky. In my opinion, this should be a yes, but many authors begin their careers without a platform. I think the right answer here is you need a plan and how to implement it firmly in hand if you haven’t already started building your platform. My opinion is that you should have at minimum a personal website, twitter and at least one other medium of your choice – this could be a blog attached to your website, Facebook, Google+, or even YouTube.

 

You MUST have/become a brand This is another one that can be either way. My opinion is that this should be a resounding yes, but there are opinions that differ. If you want to be a successful author, you need to know how you want to market not only your books but yourself. This entails creating a vision or brand for yourself and work. Never undervalue the importance of brand recognition. Coke, Google, Ford, NBC, Paramount pictures, and many other major companies all know that customers flock to their brand.

 

You can keep your personal and professional selves separate Yes and no. While there is always an opportunity to keep two lives separated, whenever you’re dealing with a public life and a private life, they tend to overlap. There will be parts of your private life that you’ll be able to keep truly private, the public has a way of deciding what information they feel they deserve to know. Make sure you have a clear definition of where that line is for you and you should be able to keep each part of your life compartmentalized.

 

Hashtag everything for maximum engagement #NOPE. Hashtags, like cologne or perfume, should be used sparingly. If you’re unsure how many hashtags to use or when, say your tweet out loud with your hashtags. When you feel it’s annoying, you should have stopped 4 hashtags ago.

 

You just need to be yourself Always! People always respond when you’re genuine, and there’s no need to change that when dealing with social media. In fact, people will know when you’re not being genuine and it will backfire on you. Be yourself, be polite and be available, your readers will respond.

 

You can always pay someone else to do it for you While this is true for most everything, if you’re trying to gain readers for your work, this will most definitely work against you. If you’re going to have a public persona, then YOU should be in control of both the content and the message. Besides, loyal readers are made when they connect with an author, so engage your audience, you’ll find that there’s nothing more fulfilling than connecting personally with your readers.

 

There’s a way to use social media that works, you just haven’t figured it out yet. True, social media is trial and error. You have to go in with your eyes open and find what works for you. No one gets it 100% right out of the gate, so you need to try a few things and find what works for you. Once you find your voice and a platform that showcases it, you’ll be able to write and engage your audience with ease. With the plethora of available tools to help and advice from experts, you’ll have plenty of support. Find a group of authors that you feel have the same strategy for social media and ask questions. Much like critique groups, find people that offer productive suggestions and aren’t afraid to help. You probably have a few already and don’t know it.

 

Social media is full of trolls. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t. Anyone who has been on a forum for more than 10 minutes knows that the internet can be full of many different personalities and trolls are just one that you’ll encounter. Trolls are people who like to sow the seeds of discord, so much like in real life you just have to know how to deal with them. For the most part, arguing with them is futile. Engaging them will only add fuel to their childish fire. You have to do three things to deal with a troll: 1) remove their audience – this is the hardest of the steps because you have to not only remove yourself, but anyone else that has stepped into the trolls trap; 2) remove their power – this is hard to do and remain nice sometimes, but as long as you’re firm and control the narrative you should be able to accomplish this; and lastly 3) deprive them of the attention they seek. In theory, ignoring a troll will usually render them helpless; the trick is to get anyone else in the conversation to ignore them as well. Once the troll has been eliminated you can go back to safely engaging your audience without problems.

 

 

Now that some of the social media myths and stigmas have been demystified it’s time to go out there and engage your audience. If you need some help or advice on platforms or strategies, you can check out my blog series on Social Media here.

Happy networking!

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