Eight Myths About Social Media

Posted by: Rea Maor In: Social Networks - Friday, July 30th, 2010

Everyone from solo bloggers (ahem!) to massive multinational corporations (Proctor & Gamble, for instance) wants to use social media for self-promotion. But like any pioneering media, a bunch of wide-spread misconceptions about social media have become common.

All you have to do is leak it. – Not these days! The top influencers in social news sites have thousands of campaigns clamoring for their attention every day. The most popular people on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter have millions of followers. Leak it at five or six key points, and it might stick… or it might get stomped on by the next story coming in one minute that’s leaking from ten key points.

Anyone can be an expert. – And everyone claims to be. Seriously, do a Google for “social media guru,” “internet marketing,” “buzz marketing experts.” Everybody says they’re these salty, veteran experts – when the entire concept didn;t even exist only a few years ago. Everybody reading this who’s old enough to drink can call themselves a social media expert, because you all are.

It’s easy. – It was easy the first ten minutes that IRC was running. Now the whole world is screaming for attention, and so of course you have to be heard over the whole wide world.

All you have to do is buy votes. – That, too, worked for about the first ten minutes. I’d say The Blair Witch Project was the last time people fell for that. Now astroturf is bleeding obvious. After 100,000 people in a row come along copy-pasting the same positive review of your product, it’s kind of telling that something’s up. Don’t have people lie, because once anybody even asks “Is this a viral marketing campaign?”, the jig is up.

It’s all one company. – Not even close! There are marketing firms that register all those accounts on Reddit and astroturf the globe for you. It takes hours of work for teams of people.

Social media is free!!! – Maybe posting an anonymous message on an image board is free, but that’s not gonna stick for more than about a minute. Most of the rest of the cheaper forms of social media marketing are called “spam.” When you get into the really advanced advertising campaigns, guess what, they all cost just as much as any other form of marketing.

All you have to be is good. – Ha ha ha ha! Hey, look at webcomics. Look at all the beautiful, smart, funny, witty webcomics there are out there, and they’re doomed to obscurity. Now think of the two most popular: XKCD (stick figures making lukewarm geek jokes) and the Oatmeal (blob figures making childish dumb jokes). They bought social media and you didn’t. You could wipe your butt and post the wad of toilet paper to a social media campaign and have the whole world worshiping it next week.

High traffic equals high sales. – Bzzzt! The most famous example that will go down in all of history is Proctor & Gamble’s Old Spice crap-fest. They spammed the Earth with that, it broke the record for the most deep-cover shills even employed on a buzz campaign. YouTube went down under demand to view the commercial. Then Old Spice sales went down 7%. Fail campaign is fail.

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