Social Media platforms such as facebook, twitter and instagram are household names in this day and age. These platforms are used for various purposes from sharing ideas to boosting one’s ego. However, one of the many functions of social media is content marketing. Much of what we’ve come to believe about social media and content marketing is wrong. Consequently, this week’s FYI will debunk these myths with the help of ‘Convince and Convert’ solely For Your Information.

Myth 1: My customers are not social.
Year 2013 data from the Pew Internet project finds 72 per cent of American adults who are online use social networking sites (note: 85 per cent of American adults are online). Even among Americans 65 years old and better, 43 per cent of them use social. To further put this into context, about 70 per cent of American households had satellite or cable television, circa 2011. So, is it possible that YOUR customers aren’t using social? Conceivably, yes. But even if they aren’t yet using social for business, chances are they are using social in some capacity.

Myth 2: Social is not measurable.
Social is extremely measurable, but first you have to do something that can be measured. Tracking URLs, visibility into your purchase funnel, unified customer databases. All of it can answer that “are we making money at this?” question, but too often people expect there to be a magic “social media measurement” button, even though there is no such button for radio, TV, email, direct mail, billboards, or fancy business cards.

Myth 3: Social is for creating new customers.
Most of the people with whom you are communicating in social are your current customers. Research has found that 84 percent of the fans of company Facebook pages are – on average – current or former customers of the brand. Of course they are. We ‘like’ what we actually like. Recognize that in social you are primarily preaching to the choir. And to me, that makes social primarily a loyalty and retention play, not a straight customer acquisition play.

Myth 4: You should ignore negative feedback.
Social media is a spectator sport. It’s not about making the upset customer happy (although that would be nice) – it’s about making sure your brand is on record as listening and caring, because thousands of other customers/prospects are looking on with a bowl of popcorn in their laps. Answer every comment – positive or negative – and do it FAST.

Myth 5: Social will kill email.
I’m so tired of the “(blank) is dead” red herring, and this one is perhaps the silliest of them all. Given that you must have an email to sign up for any social network, it’s tough to see a scenario by which email vanishes. Further, given that social is mostly a loyalty play, that puts social in the same strategic camp as email. Both are used to keep your brand top-of-mind among people who have given you permission to do so. Email and social are complementary tactics, not oppositional ones.

Myth 6: Company channels are your most important social assets.
Simply not true. Social success is about people, not logos. If you add up the number of social connections of your employees, they almost always vastly exceed the connections for your official company accounts. Activating your employees and decentralizing social media is the next phase of success. Easy-to-use software like Addvocate helps companies manage this process.

Myth 7: Content creates thought leadership.
Not necessarily. It’s okay – recommended, even – to have content that is high effort and polished (thought leadership), AND content that is lower effort and less polished, but addresses specific questions of your customers/prospects. This lower effort content is often created by your employees and your customers, themselves. My friends at Compendium very much empower this type of programme – great content marketing software (FYI, I am moving all of my blogs to Compendium soon).

Myth 8: Content marketing and social media are separate initiatives.
Content is fire. Social media is gasoline. Use social to drive awareness of your content more so than awareness of your company. Like social and email, content and social should be working VERY closely together.

Myth 9: Your content marketing should be about your products and services.
Is a brochure ‘content marketing?’ Is your content marketing just a repackaged brochure? I believe that if your content doesn’t have intrinsic value – if it can’t stand alone as something people actually WANT, you’re not thinking hard enough. Give yourself permission to make the story bigger, and create content marketing that is related to your business, but isn’t 100 per cent ABOUT your business.

Myth 10: Too much content will give away your secrets
Let’s just say… A list of ingredients doesn’t make someone a chef.