Social media is definitely not an easy playing field. In fact, you have to be really smart about it to make it work. Saying that, there are thousands upon thousands of articles out there that tell you how to succeed with social media - and also those that put fear into people by going on about myths that just aren’t true.
When I first started blogging in 2013, I spent six months researching how to promote myself, what platforms I should be spending my time on and how long, plus what I had to do to make myself become a “successful” blogger.
During this set-up time, I spent my days reading too many blog posts to count. They all had contradicting advice that made me question where to even start when it came to social media.
I soon learnt that taking things back to basics, doing things my own way and creating my own unique system that worked for me and my blog was the best thing to do.
After time, I started to ignore all those articles, and now only pay attention to what a handful of bloggers are saying in the social media industry. I ignored the articles that said it’s easy, that said spending money on followers was the right thing to do, and that no one could really grow their blog using social media.
That was probably the best thing I could’ve done for my blog - any more social media myths that portrayed it as a time-sucking soul-destroying place of negativity would have had me cowering in my seat and never starting a blog in the first place.
But even so, it still took me a long while to figure out my path in the social media world and I got through a lot of myths along the way. So today, I wanted to share with you what I’ve learnt so far.
#1 | It’s easy
You’re telling me social media isn’t easy? Say what? A lot of people picture managing social media as scheduling a few updates, chatting to a few people and watching the follower count grow and grow. I mean, there’s no right or wrong way to go about it, so why wouldn’t it be easy?
Here’s the reality: social media isn’t easy. It’s hard. Very hard. When you’re not trying to come up with ideas of what to actually share on all your different platforms, you’re finding people to connect with, tweaking your schedule and always looking for ways to improve.
Social media is something that, done well, can be a really good fit for you and your blog. Putting in a little amount of effort and expecting big results isn’t the way to go about it. You want results? You’ve got to be prepared for hard work.
#2 | Social Media Isn’t a Real Career
Even though social media has been around for a while now, there are still people that don’t believe it constitutes as a full-time career. They don’t think it requires that much skill.
But I promise you it does (at least, thousands of huge companies across the world believe it is so I’m happy with that). Sure, there’s lots of businesses out there that don’t think it’s worthwhile and a group of people ready to shoot down anyone who says they work in social media, but these are all far from the truth.
Here’s the reality: there are more jobs in social media now than ever before. And businesses want the best people possible, the people that know all the channels inside out - plus they’re prepared to pay you a pretty decent wage, too.
Working in social media isn’t easy in the slightest, but it’s absolutely classed as a full-time career, as long as you’ve got the right skills and mindset.
#3 | You can send out social updates whenever you want
Social media is misleading, right? I mean, we go on there to be social (hence the name). Yet we get frustrated by spending hours on there without seeing many results.
Here’s the reality: while it’s partly true that we can send out social updates whenever we want to and interact at whatever time we want to, really, the people scheduling the updates need to be doing it for their audience, not for themselves.
Think about it. What if you’re sending out tweets throughout your average UK 9-5 day when most of the people who read your blog are in the US? It totally depends on your audience. Yes, you can go on social media whenever you want. But in terms of posting, you’ve got to figure out when your audience is most active and when they’re more likely to see your updates. Read this post - it’ll take you no more than five minutes to create your unique posting schedule.
#4 | You can’t get results on social media without dirty tricks
This sort of goes hand in hand with the myth that social media isn't a full-time job. Lots of articles portray social media as a loosing game, and the managers who deal with managing the platforms don’t use skill or strategy - they just use dirty tricks to get ahead.
They buy followers, copy others and generally don’t do a lot apart from browse Pinterest and like a few things.
Here’s the reality: thanks internet, for your faith. Sure, social media is a struggle. It’s hard to build up a community and you have to work hard to see results. But give it some time and you’ll see that buying followers isn’t the answer. All you need is one. One follower at a time, one like at a time, one comment at a time. And from there, it’ll just grow and grow.
#5 | You can’t make money on social media
Now this is the biggie. I get people saying “you need a website or mailing list because social channels could disappear at any time.” But to say you need those things because social media will never make you money?
Here’s the reality: this is one of the biggest social media myths I see. And the annoying this is, people spout this advice without actually knowing it to be true!
You CAN make money on social media. I’ve done it. Kim Garst has done it and she’s one of the biggest people in the industry. It takes time to get to that stage - but don’t think just because you don’t own your social platforms that it isn’t worth it.
#6 | It takes too much time to manage
When I say manage, I mean actual beneficial work for your online presence. Scheduling posts, finding new people to follow, networking. The hours that you’re actually on there doing purposeful, intentional work.
Here’s the reality: if you’re spending hours managing your social platforms without seeing many results, the likelihood is that you’re doing it wrong.
You can schedule social media posts in less than one hour a day. I do. Each day I schedule 17 tweets, 3 Facebook posts, 2-3 Instagram posts and I spend time on Pinterest too. That’s for my personal brand. But remember, I also do this for my day job too.
The trick is have a strategy and figuring out what you want to post in advance. The main problem when it comes to managing social media is scheduling. But just like your content calendar - having one for social media will cut off a huge chunk of time.
#7 | Working in social media is the best
While I do love keeping up to date with all the latest social news, coming up with ideas for content and interacting on all the different platforms, social media can sometimes be a frustrating and negative place. Let me tell you this - you don’t sit on Pinterest all day creating pretty boards. It’s a lot more real than that.
Here’s the reality: you don’t realise how ahead of the game you have to be until you see all the competition that’s out there. That being said, working in social media allows for endless creativity and innovation. But it’s important to remember that the social world is always changing, and working in it means you’ve got to know what’s going on.
#8 | You can do whatever you want
Especially when it comes to running your own blog, you don’t have to put up with anyone else telling you to do things you don’t want to, working with people you don’t get on with or doing jobs that you don’t believe in. As a blogger, it’s easy to think that when it comes to social, we can do whatever we want.
Here’s the reality: - and it relates to point number three - even though it might seem like you’re the most important factor, your readers are still the people you have to put first. Sure, you can start tweeting about fashion when you blog about entrepreneurship, but you can’t start talking about everything and confuse your audience, just because you can.
#9 | When you work in social media you get to spend every minute on it
This comes back to the dirty trick portrayal of people who work in social media. Spending every waking minute browsing Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Oh, I wish.
Here’s the reality: You’ll most likely NOT be spending your day on social media. Most of the time you’ll be analysing stats, reading articles and planning content calendars, with a slice of interaction on your chosen channels every so often. It might sound backward, but the biggest waste of your time if you’re working in social media is to spend all day on it.
#10 | The follows will come rolling in
There’s this idea that once you get to a certain point with social media, people will just start hitting the follow button without knowing who you are. That you won’t have to do any more hard work, and the numbers will just keep increasing.
While that would be an amazingly EASY way for it to work, it doesn’t happen that way.
Here’s the reality: finding and keeping a consistent rate of followers is damn hard work. People don’t just show up on your profile and hit the follow button if you aren’t putting in the effort in the first place.
Posting updates when you know your audience is going to be online, keeping up with industry trends, being yourself and filling out your social profiles completely are just some of the things you can do to give yourself an advantage on social media. It’s not easy, but it’s so worth it when you start to see your community growing.
#11 | Anyone can succeed at social media
Anyone can sign up for a Twitter or Instagram account and start calling themselves a social media whizz, but it takes a special kind of person to actually get valuable results. To actually build a community that’s real, thriving and authentic. To actually have their content shared day in day out, schedule posts week in week out and stay motivated to get it all done.
Here’s the reality: social media is really fulfilling, but it’s also hard work. To succeed, you have to be willing to make your personal brand stand out and keep producing quality content. If you’re willing to do that, I promise that social media will work for you.
What social media myths have you come across? Any that you want clearing up? Leave a comment below!