5 Social Media Myths I wish I’d known when I started my online business

social-media-myths-starting-online-businessWhen Social Media was exploding online I was lucky to have an internet connection. A few months later I realised I need a fax machine.

Yes, this was 2008. If I wanted to receive purchase orders or maps on how to get to a meeting I needed a fax machine as only the senior management were priviledged enough to have email.

Fast forward to 2010 – I’m now in France and looking to get my offline business, online. It was exciting, I was charting unknown territory.

Yes, I had a Facebook account, I also had a Friendsreunited, Friendster, and Myspace account (don’t laugh – EVERYONE had one of then, right?)

Anyway, here are my 5 Social Media Myths I wish I’d known when I started my online business:

Myth #1 – You need to “be there” all the time.

I remember thinking that I had to be there when someone sent me a tweet. How ridiculous was that? Some afternoons I’d sit there waiting for that tweet that would come in and get my immediate attention.

Lesson #1 – Real time is CRAP. If it happens awesome but it’s NOT important

Myth #2 – Keep what you do on the “down-low” especially if you are on social media for business

I felt self conscious about revealing the fact that I was entering the world of social media for financial gain. I felt I had to hide I was for hire, because obviously everyone else had money trees growing in their garden. Sadly, I didn’t.

Lesson #2 – Make it ABSOLUTELY clear what you are doing. How else will you get hired?

Myth #3 – Capturing emails is a waste of time because email marketing is a waste of time

I wanted to build an email list but I felt it was crass to do so. So, guess what? I didn’t. I now want to slap my then-self for going against my better judgement.

Lesson #3 – If you are in business and have a clear goal put a big FAT email capture form on your site.

Myth #4 – You need to be on EVERY network and share UNIQUE content on each platform.

Yup – I would struggle to find stuff to tweet, and then different stuff for Facebook, then, Google plus arrived, and well, you get the picture.

Lesson #4 – Are the same people you are talking to on all networks? Really? If yes, you have some serious work to do!!!!

There are no rules as to what you should share, which channel you should be using, and if you think everyone is seeing the same thing on every channel then you are wrong.

Myth #5 – Don’t talk about your success.

Yes, don’t talk about your success, especially if it’s work related.  How dumb is that? Really?

So I can boast about how I ran a marathon but not that I got featured in some kick-ass publication?

Lesson #5 – Sing it LOUD, and sing it PROUD. I can guarrantee that if you aren’t then no one else is doing it for you. The chances are high that someone else, maybe your competitor is doing it, and well, they are stealing your business.

So there it is – my 5 social media myths debunked!

Makes me wonder if all these social media “gurus” are setting us up for failure, to keep them in business … I’ll leave that conspiracy theory to you!

What social media myths did you wish you’d known when you first started your online business?

12 Responses to 5 Social Media Myths I wish I’d known when I started my online business

  1. Hi Ameena,

    I’ve been doing all the mistakes, and I especially remember when I was waiting for every new tweet. And when it felt like all I was doing was thinking about what I should be publishing on social media. I thought I had to publish something every ten minutes or so 24 hours a day. Then, I figured that I should only publish a few times a day, and finally I discovered that there are no rules 🙂

    I also remember when I thought I had to become a member of every social media site. I was using reddit, stumbleupon, digg, etc.. And I hardly had time to connect with people.

  2. I remember waiting for all those tweets in real time too. I had a myspace page too. LOL.
    I wish i knew that i didn’t have to tweet 3 times a day just because the experts said i had too. And I finally realized that a lot of people were claiming to be experts and giving out advice but when i dug a little deeper they weren’t really experts. So be careful whose advice you follow.

  3. Some good advice here Ameena! For me the social media myth that I nearly come a cropper to was thinking that I had to have my social media stuff EVERYWHERE including on my website. As you pointed out this was encouraging people to leave my website and also do I really want everyone visiting my site to know that I was up late with my baby or having a hard day? No!! Social media has a place and we need to learn what that is, it’s different for each business and each individual.

    • It’s a steep learning curve but the sooner we realise it’s a tool, just one of many, we can give it the attention it deserves. It’s all too easy to think tweeting is work … it is for some, but as you say, each business has it’s own needs.

  4. I have a friend who sells on Twitter all day long and no one in his Twitter stream EVER complains. Imagine that! 🙂

    You’re 100% right …

    Be crystal clear on “why” you’re using social media. Total transparency is a MUST.

    As long as your fans and followers are interested in the content you post (and they’re more than aware you’re a small business owner), they should come to expect some promotional offers from you and not get angry or upset about it.

    Ameena, I think we can all agree there are more alleged (and honest-to-goodness) social media experts on the net than you can shake a stick at!

    I feel blessed in having uncovered the cream of the crop — true professionals whose social media marketing advice I can trust. But I will admit I had to weed through a truck load of them!

    Thanks for debunking the top social media myths!

    • Thanks for sharing Melanie … I am always amazed when people tell me they need to keep their intentions on the down low – seems so sneaky, not clever! Shout it loud, and shout it proud!

  5. Hey Ameena,

    I so enjoyed this post! I did quite a lot of them and I truly wish I had better sense when I entered; but then you learn and you make the changes and that’s what really matters.

    I was online like ALL the time during my initial days here and really, that caused a lot of trouble because I am in Abu Dhabi and most of my readers in the west were sleeping when I posted! So, the trick is that if you write good content and market it a time that might make it to them, then staying up the whole day long won’t really make a difference except of course to your sleep patterns!

    What really worries me is that newbies still get into the trap. Because these myths are resonated all through the blogging world over and over again. No one (besides you of course! 😉 ) wants to lay out what really matters and what really works.

    Thanks again for a wonderful post Ameena! 🙂

    • Hi Hajra!

      Yes, I feel bad for the newbies who fall into this trap – it’s really something I am working hard on; to change the way people *think* social media should be used.

      When working across timezones it’s easy to fall into the trap of being online at anti-social hours – the fact is that you can NEVER be online at the same time as everyone globally – last time I checked there is no such thing as a social media emergency 🙂

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