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iStock cheesy salesmanUnfortunately, of late the term “social media guru” has taken on a negative connotation. Like with any hot commodity, there are always those looking to take advantage of a boom, looking to position themselves as experts without having the real chops to do so. Who gets hurt most?

While real social media gurus would probably raise their hands here, it’s actually the businesses relying on these false social media prophets. Like every snake oil salesman throughout time, they can make a living because they can always find prey. For businesses first entering the world of social media marketing, their innocence means they have no idea how to tell a good guru from a bad one. For that reason, today we’ll share ten mantras of the false social media guru that should give you serious pause.

10 False Social Media Marketing Mantras

1. “In today’s world you have to be on every social media network.”

But what if the bulk of your desired audience uses LinkedIn far more than Facebook? No one knows your audience better than you do, and a blanket approach can be costly, and time-intensive.

2. “Only target [insert social media channel].”

The flipside is that if a guru tells you only to focus on Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc., that doesn’t make much sense, either. For both of these first two quotes, only experimentation will bear out the right course of action. Tread lightly, see what works, and prepare to be adaptable.

3. “Email is dead.”

This one really raises our ire. Beyond the fact that it’s ludicrous, social media hinges upon a user’s email address. They need one to sign up, and it’s where they typically receive updates. If a guru says this, run. Fast.

4. “Don’t worry, we can put everything on auto-pilot.”

A great way to alienate your audience is with automated posts. Sure, it can save time, but social media is about engagement. Showing humanity and being spontaneous will help you connect with followers. Automation has its place, but you can’t rely on it completely and be successful.

5. “We can handle all of your posting.”

This one usually comes on the heels of the auto-pilot suggestion. But once again, no one knows your business like you do. Your audience comes to have a conversation with you—not with a stranger.

6. “Getting set up is the hardest part.”

Actually, getting set up is pretty easy. People and businesses set up pages and accounts all the time. Engagement takes time and energy. If you don’t believe us, go see how well a Facebook fanpage is doing for a company that rarely posts.

7. “It’s too difficult to measure social media.”

That’s, of course, ridiculous. Every one of your inbound social media channels should have measureable goals. With today’s software and analytical tools, you’ll have no problem determining how many clicks to your blog or site come from social media. Then you can dig even deeper to see how many of those visitors become leads.

8. “Fan growth or engagement is the most critical metric.”

For inbound marketers, revenue is always the most important metric. While fan growth or engagement can certainly affect how much traffic you’re driving to your site, focusing on one specific social media metric means you’re probably not giving enough attention to some of the others. The lesson here is to avoid having tunnel vision.

9. “Actually, you don’t have to allow comments.”

Any blog post about social media is going to use the word “engagement” repeatedly. Engagement is a two-way street. If you shut down the oncoming lane from the very beginning, what’s the point? While you may feel like you’re protecting yourself from potential negativity, if people have negative comments they will find a forum for it, one way or another. Allowing comments at least gives you the opportunity to manage the conversation.

10. “You don’t want to show too much personality.”

We couldn’t disagree more. Potential and existing customers are already wary of marketing, with good reason. Social media is a place where you can show a sense of humanity—as well as a sense of humor—from time to time. People want to be talked with, not at. So if you’re only posting standard marketing content, prepare for crickets. In closing, we want to be clear: there are savvy social media gurus out there, ones who have serious experience and expertise. Be sure to vet accordingly. But now, when you hear some of the lines above, hopefully you’ll do more than pause. You’ll walk away.

Do you have a great social media guru that works for you? We'd love to hear what makes them great.

Diona Kidd

Diona Kidd

Diona is a managing partner at Knowmad. Her areas of expertise include digital marketing strategy, project management, brand management, search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click advertising, inbound marketing, content marketing, conversion rate optimization, social media marketing and website design.

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