The digital age has brought us unlimited information, narratives, news, and connections around the clock. At the center of this is social media. At its heart lies social media. Astonishingly, over half (50.64%) of the world’s population engages with social media, and of the 4.57 billion internet users, 83.36% are active on these platforms. Given that ubiquity, one would think that hiring managers would place a premium on having elite social media skills. Surprisingly, this usually isn’t the case. Let’s dive into some common misunderstandings about social media and debunk them once and for all.
Anyone can run social media accounts for a business.
- Reasoning: In an age where almost everyone has a personal social media account, it’s easy to assume that managing a business account is just as straightforward.
- Reality: While anyone can indeed create posts, effective social media management requires strategy, an understanding of analytics, and the ability to engage with audiences in a meaningful manner. It’s about crafting a brand voice, measuring ROI, and setting long-term goals. Personal use doesn’t equate to professional aptitude.
- Case in point: Imagine inviting Gordon Ramsay to your home-cooked dinner. While both you and Ramsay use stoves and pots, the depth of expertise differs vastly. Similarly, while anyone can post, mastering social media strategy, brand voice, and analytics requires a higher level of expertise.
Social media success is based on luck.
- Reasoning: Viral posts often seem to come out of nowhere, leading some to believe it’s all about catching lightning in a bottle.
- Reality: Behind almost every viral post is a dedicated team analyzing trends, crafting content, and strategizing their release times. While there’s always an element of unpredictability, success in social media leans more on informed strategy than blind luck.
- Case in Point: Remember the “Ice Bucket Challenge”? While it seemed spontaneous, its spread was a masterclass in understanding online user behavior and leveraging celebrity reach.
Social media management is only for young people.
- Reasoning: Digital natives, or those who grew up with the internet, often seem to have an inherent understanding of social platforms.
- Reality: Effective social media management is about understanding human connection, storytelling, and strategy – skills that aren’t age-exclusive. Many experienced professionals bring a wealth of knowledge from traditional media that can be incredibly valuable in the digital space.
- Case in Point: I am 52 years old and have worked in marketing since 1994 and digital media since 2000.My deep understanding of leveraging community, copywriting, blogging and consumer behavior has been built over many years. That understanding and knowledge of current social media trends make my knowledge and approach stand out. Experience, strategy, and timeless skills aren’t age-restricted.
Social media management is not a real job.
- Reasoning: Given that many people use social media for fun, there’s a notion that turning it into a job is just an extension of a hobby.
- Reality: Social media management involves content creation, analytics, customer service, strategy development, and more. Businesses invest significant resources because they recognize the tangible results a well-managed social presence can produce. Like any profession, it requires skill, dedication, and continuous learning.
- Case in Point: Consider Vincent van Gogh, whose art was underappreciated in his time but is priceless today. In our era, businesses invest heavily in social media, recognizing its massive ROI potential. Crafting posts, analyzing data, and engaging users isn’t leisurely scrolling—it’s a profession demanding dedication.
Social media management is not a specialized skill.
- Reasoning: The DIY nature of social media, combined with an array of online tutorials, might make it seem as if professional training isn’t necessary.
- Reality: While basic posting might not need specialized skills, effective social media management certainly does. Crafting campaigns, interpreting analytics, predicting trends, and understanding platform algorithms are all specialized areas of expertise.
- Case in Point: Just as owning paint doesn’t make one Picasso, having access to social media platforms doesn’t make one an expert. Take John, who decided to DIY his startup’s social presence, only to see limited engagement. He then hired a specialist who overhauled the strategy, utilized platform-specific tools, and boosted visibility manifold.
Social media, in its deceptive simplicity, has given rise to numerous misconceptions. To recognize its true value and potential, it’s essential to debunk these misunderstandings. Like any tool, its efficacy relies not just on its inherent features, but on the skill and knowledge of the one wielding it.