Social media has become an essential marketing tool used by businesses everywhere. It has given companies many substantial benefits, including the ability to speak directly to customers in innovative ways from an increasing number of platforms.

However, many companies still have their doubts about social media as a whole or specific aspects of it. Here are 9 common debunked social media myths:

Social media is only for young people

Over the years, social media has shifted from being dominated by young people to being saturated with a strong presence of adults and seniors. In fact, according to a study by Business Insider, Facebook users between the ages of 45-54 are now spending the most time on Facebook.

This chart shows the use of popular social media platforms by adults in the United States over the past few years. Clearly, Facebook is the most popular platform used, followed by Instagram. As you can see, there is a large audience of adults and seniors who are active on social media.

You should be on every social media platform

Social media is a wonderful tool to utilize, but be cautious not to spread your company too thin. Take the demographic research that you have on your audience and try to match it with demographic research of different platforms. Go all in on the platforms that match your target audience instead of trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole. For example, if Facebook has a huge audience of adults and your target audience includes adults, you should be utilizing Facebook instead of trying to make Snapchat work successfully. 

It’s great to try new things and think outside the box, but don’t use a social media platform just because everyone else is using it. 

More followers = More success

Joining a social media platform can be intimidating when you see bigger companies with millions of followers. Although these surface-level statistics show that these bigger companies are successful, the same does not necessarily apply to your social media accounts.

Instead of simply focusing on any and every like or follow, consider the quality of your audience. If you have 1,000 followers but only a couple of them are even remotely interested in your brand or purchasing a product, it doesn’t do too much good.

One way to potentially gain likes and follows from your target audience is by increasing your engagement. For example, if you’re using Instagram, you can search for industry-specific hashtags or accounts. Once you find these accounts or hashtags, simply go through profiles and photos and like and comment. Make these engagements genuine and personal instead of simply throwing a “nice!” comment on a picture of a random dog. It’s up to you how much you want to do this, but the more you do it the more results you will have. You should have at very least an hour of engagement per platform every week.

My customers aren’t on social media

In today’s world, a shocking amount of people use social media on a daily basis. That being said, your customers will likely be using at least one platform. It could be possible that there is a chunk of your customers who aren’t using social media, but wouldn’t you rather invest the time and efforts for the portion of your customers who are looking for it? It’s worth taking the time to attempt to make connections with a few loyal customers. They will appreciate it!

Social media should only be M-F

Monday through Friday are the typical working hours, right? Yes, it’s a great time to post on social media. However the weekend days may be your time to shine.

A lot of companies tend to stick to Monday-Friday posting times due to high click through and engagement rates, but this may work in your favor and let you stand out a bit.

Of course this is somewhat platform-specific. While the best times to post on LinkedIn are M-F 7:30-8:30am and 5-6pm, the best times to post on Pinterest are Saturdays and Sundays. This will require you to do a little bit of research on the platforms and, again, matching it up with your target audience research. 

Don’t be personal

One of the main ideas behind social media is being able to connect with each other on a personal level. Taking the personality out of can be detrimental to the perception your audience has of your company’s online presence.

Being personable with your audience also includes giving them ”behind the scenes” access to your company. You can have a lot of fun with this. Try sharing photos of your employees or photos from outings or meetings.

As great as sharing personal content is, you still need to maintain a balance. People love to see this content, but they still want value and useful information from your page.

Social media is free

Creating and setting up accounts on social media are free. You can easily create Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and more accounts without charge. However, social media is not necessarily considered a completely free type of marketing. Especially is you want good results. 

Whether you run the accounts or you hire someone to do it for you, you will have to spend money on it. It takes a large amount of time, effort, and trial and error to effectively run a social media account for a company. However it’s certainly worth the investment!

Social media gives people a place to publicly bash my company

Even if you’re a rockstar company with stellar reviews, people will find ways to speak negatively about you or your company. It’s just going to happen. So as much as we’d like to say “Don’t give them anything negative to write about!” we know that, at some point, it’s inevitable. Unfortunately people already have plenty of platforms to badmouth your company. There’s the whole internet for that!

However this should not be an excuse for opting out of social media. In fact, you can use social media to showcase the genuine positive nature of your company.

The audience will come naturally

Like most valuable things in life, you need to work for an audience on social media. Unless you already have a huge following from some other platform, you can’t just expect a large audience after posting great content. You need to build your profile with great content, engage, and invest a large amount of time into creating a story with your online presence.