Debunking Social Media Myths


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As presented to Missouri State University's PRSSA Day. 3/16/2011

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  • Social media's proliferation has helped to advance public relations and marketing practice. Yet, despite the long distance we've traveled in just a short time with social media, we still have much to learn about both its potential and its limitations. So whether you're an experienced social media user or are just now developing this aspect of your communication program, we can all can stand to benefit from recognizing some common myths surrounding social media.
  • At least once every week, or so it seems, someone comes out with a “traditional media is dead” article or warns that “we shouldn’t waste time on traditional media and advertising.” Yes, the preferred vehicle for news distribution may be shifting to digital, real-time platforms; however, the source of most content remains the same. The percentage of original content found on social media pales in comparison to traditional media. In reality, most news content is first published in the print or web editions of major news outlets, and then syndicated or picked up on social media networks and blogs. Fact is … (click for answer)
  • Engaging your audience via social media is certainly cost-effective in the sense that most of the sites available for participation are free to join. However, they still cost you in terms of the time needed to establish and maintain a profile or account. Social media, in fact, requires more maintenance than any other communications tactic, and therefore is human-resource intensive. Not taking into account the manpower that's involved in these as you develop your social business strategy can lead to a lack of adoption or participation--essential elements to any social initiative. Ignoring these realities will only continue to propagate the myth that social media is fast, cheap and easy. Fact is … (click for answer)
  • If you feel you need to get the help of an outside advisor or consultant, that’s okay, but don’t think someone must know more than you just because they have “social media [insert title]” next to their name. A quick search on (known as the Twitter Yellow Pages) reveals that out of the 30.5 million profiles indexed, the phrase "social media" appears in more than 58,000 bios, "new media" appears in about 8,200. Whether known as a ... guru (841); expert (1618); manager (2968); agency (1508); pro (774), maven (459); strategist (46) or by some other name …Fact is … (click for answer)SIDE NOTE: Notable change in statistics between April 2010 and Mar 2011"social media" 31,000 vs. 58,000 bios "new media" 5,800 vs. 8,200guru 517 vs. 841 expert 405 vs. 1618 manager 246 vs. 2968 agency 151 vs. 1508PS – the worst made-up title I’ve seen recently? “social media Jedi” What does that even mean? ;-)
  • It has never been easier to distribute and disseminate content across the web. And the expansion of social media has accelerated the process. Unfortunately, many communications practitioners labor under the misperception that anything residing on the web "must be free" or "covered by the doctrine of fair-use.“Fact is … (click for answer)
  • Who doesn’t want their video or podcast to reach a million-plus eyes and ears, or have their text spread across cyberspace at lightning speed? The reality, though, is those represent a miniscule percentage of the whole, and simply not possible for most brands or companies. Fact is … (click for answer)Building long-lasting relationships, putting quality before quantity, and tying social media into your company or client’s revenue stream should be the main priorities (in that order). Again, the main priorities should be:Building long-lasting relationshipsQuality before quantityTying social media to the revenue stream
  • This one’s not only a myth, but just bad business. Fact is … (click for answer)If you aren’t putting your content out there, then someone else is. As Lisa Barone ofOutspoken Media said, “ignoring social media makes you mute, not invisible. Those conversations about you are STILL going to happen whether you’re present or not. The only difference is now you have no voice to direct to handle them. You’re guilty by omission. The safest thing is to get involved. It’s to let people know that you’re listening, that you exist, and that you’re committed to fixing things. Because that type of involvement not only breeds goodwill and understanding, it’s a deterrent to those kinds of comments in the first place.”Source:
  • First, what’s wrong with this statement in general? Answer: Social media is a TACTIC, not a strategy!To answer the real question here, yes, if your audience is attuned to social media, it can be a viable tool of engagement. But your communication program should not paint itself into a virtual corner. To demonstrate and measure success, it's essential to create communications objectives that are aligned with your organization's broad goals.  You should always understand both the risks and benefits of the tactics you choose – social media is no different. Fact is … (click for answer)Note that if your product or your content sucks, it’s not going to magically be great when posted on Facebook, Twitter or a blog. If your communications strategies aren’t producing the desired results, you should be looking at why that is instead of adding social media to your campaign.
  • Debunking Social Media Myths

    1. 1. Follow BurrellesLuceTressa on Twitter: Tressa Robbins VP, Media Contacts BurrellesLuce
    2. 2. Debunking Seven Common Social Media Myths Photo source:
    3. 3. Myth #1:Social media will soon replace traditionalmedia as the most viable source of news.
    4. 4. Myth #2:Social media is a cost-effective and easy way to connect and engage with stakeholders and brand constituents.
    5. 5. Myth #3: If you want to take part in social mediayoull need to hire a “social media agency"or some other form of social media "guru.“
    6. 6. Myth #4: Because content is posted online or insocial media, it is exempt from copyright or anti-piracy laws.
    7. 7. Myth #5:To succeed in social media my online content must go viral.
    8. 8. Myth #6:It’s safer not to jump into social media since we cant control it.
    9. 9. Myth #7:Social media is an effective communication strategy.
    10. 10. What other social media myths do you think need to be “debunked”?
    11. 11. Resources Learn more:Free downloads @ out our BurrellesLuce BLOG Fresh Ideas
    12. 12. Follow BurrellesLuceTressa on Twitter: Tressa Robbins VP, Media Contacts BurrellesLuce