7 Lies About Social Media Marketing You Probably Believe

facebook like

Social media has been around for years, so it should be easy to figure out how to leverage it, right?

In part it is true, but things get complicated by all the misinformation circulating about social media marketing. From leveraging tactics to tracking issues, you are bombarded with conflicting messages, including whether social media marketing is worth using at all.

Here are 7 lies about social media marketing you probably believe:

Lie #1: The more followers you have, the better off you are

The game of numbers does not apply to Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. These social networks are smart. If you have followers that aren’t engaged, the algorithms these sites use will make sure very few people see your message.

A perfect example of this is a Facebook fan page I started sometime ago called Gym Junkies.

gym junkies

Anytime a post goes up on that fan page, it typically receives over 2,000 likes and 300 plus shares. That’s too not bad, considering the page only has 93,695 fans.

There is another fan page on Body Building Tips and Tricks, and it has over one million fans. Can you guess how many likes and shares it gets when new content gets posted?

gym body

The good posts typically get 800 plus likes and around 50 shares. It’s nothing to brag about, considering the page has over a million fans.

What would you rather take? More followers or an engaged audience that’s ten times smaller? I hope you’d pick the engaged audience. Social sites look at how much traction your post generates in relation to the number of followers you have. If the ratio is good, they will start showing your content to more people outside of your circle.

That’s how you generate more traffic: focus on getting the right followers who will become your engaged audience.

Lie #2: Social sharing buttons will get you more shares

Did you know that adding social sharing buttons to your site will get you more traffic?

Although it sounds right, in most cases it isn’t true. Sure, for blogs, social sharing buttons work great because people love reading educational content.

But adding social sharing buttons to most sites will actually hurt them. Why? Because people don’t want to share your product pages or your about page. By placing buttons on those pages, you’ll just distract your visitors and decrease your conversion rates.

about page

Just look at the image above from Add This. Do you really want to tweet out this about page? Or share it on your Facebook wall? Probably not.

Heck, these guys even add social sharing buttons to their Terms of Service Page.

tos page

Considering that they are the 197th most popular site in the world, according to Alexa, and they offer social media tools, you would think they would generate more social shares than other sites. But a quick Twitter search reveals that no one has shared their terms of service page.

That should prove to you that adding social sharing buttons to pages that no one cares about won’t help you generate more traffic, but it will distract people.

The best place to add social media buttons is your blog. People will share great content, assuming it is free. But don’t expect them to share your lead generation, product, about, or services pages.

Lie #3: Social media traffic doesn’t convert well

If social media traffic didn’t convert, do you think Facebook would be worth over a 100 billion dollars? And it’s not just Facebook. LinkedIn is worth over 20 billion dollars, and Twitter is worth over 30 billion dollars.

These companies are worth a lot of money because their user base spends money. The users spend enough money to make advertising on these sites profitable.

I’m not saying you need to start spending money on paid social ads, but you should leverage these sites because their visitors do convert.


Just look at the image above. You will see the number of conversions TimothySykes.com received from Facebook. A hundred and forty three conversions from Facebook in one month isn’t that bad, considering it takes less than an hour to post images, quotes and status updates on Facebook. It netted the company a bit more than $26,000. To top it off, not a dollar was spent on Facebook ads.

Not only does social media traffic convert, but you can also measure that conversion. By setting up goals within your Google Analytics, you can see how much each of these social sites is generating for you.

Lie #4: Everyone should be leveraging social media

The biggest lie I hear about social media marketing these days is that everyone should be leveraging it. Although I wish it were true, social media isn’t a good fit for everyone.

For example, Palantir is a company you probably haven’t heard of even though they have raised $896 million. Why haven’t you heard of them? Because most of their income and revenue comes from government contracts.

Sure, they are on Twitter and Facebook. They even have a blog. But none of those things help them bring in revenue. A lot of what they do isn’t public, and never can be, due to their government contracts.

Social media won’t really help a company like this. All it can do is potentially make them look cool and hip and maybe help them recruit young talent.

There are some businesses that just aren’t cut out for the social web.

If your business doesn’t rely on income from the web (and you have no plans to change that), social media may not be a good fit for you. You can still leverage it as a recruiting tool or as a way to communicate with unsatisfied customers, but you are probably better off investing your time and energy into a different channel.

Lie #5: You need to participate on a daily basis

If you have great information to share on a daily basis, that’s awesome. You should use the social web on a daily basis.

But if you don’t, then consider using it less frequently.

Focus on creating high quality updates and interactions instead of being on these social sites because you have to. Posting on a daily basis doesn’t guarantee your success, and it won’t necessarily make your social accounts more popular.

If you look at the numbers, participating on the social media on a daily basis can actually hurt you. For example, do you know how frequently you should be posting on Facebook to maximize your reach? If you are thinking daily, you are wrong. Posting once every 2 days is the ideal frequency.

If you have something great to say or share, then post it on the social site of your choice. But if you don’t, then avoid posting.

Lie #6: What works for B2B companies won’t work for B2C companies

Every time I give a speech about social media marketing, someone from the audience says, “Those tactics look great for companies who target other businesses, but what should I do if I have a consumer-based company?”

Whether you have a consumer-based or business-facing company, you use the same tactics. From sharing great information to responding to people who have questions to promoting your own products and services, the tactics are identical.

For example, at KISSmetrics we tweet marketing-related content that helps other businesses.

kissmetrics twitter

Walmart, who targets consumers, tweets content that helps consumers, e.g, how to avoid bear attacks when camping.

walmart twitter

As you can see, it doesn’t matter if your target audience is a business or a consumer. What works for one usually works for the other.

Lie #7: You should ignore negative feedback

The worst thing you can do is ignore negative feedback. If someone isn’t happy with you or your company, you shouldn’t ignore that person. Instead, you should embrace the criticism and try to improve.

Just look at Comcast. They even have a Twitter channel dedicated to support. Every time anyone tweets something negative about them, they apologize and try to help. It doesn’t matter if it is their fault or not, they are continually trying to improve.

comcast twitter

Every time I tweet something negative about Comcast, I get a phone call within an hour. The company’s customer service fixes whatever issues I am experiencing and typically gives me a discount or a credit for the inconvenience.

Sure, you may be thinking they respond because I have over 100,000 followers, but they also respond to people like my sister, who doesn’t have even a few thousand followers. They offer her the same apology and incentives as they offer me.

Although Comcast’s service is terrible and their support isn’t great, I stick with them because I do feel they try to improve every time I give them negative feedback.

As a business owner, you should embrace negative feedback. Respond to it, and try to solve the problem without getting emotional. It will help your business get better.


There are a lot of misconceptions about social media marketing. Just because you read something in a blog post or hear something from a credible source doesn’t mean it is true.

Always do your own research, and try to improve. Social media marketing is here to stay, and it can drive a lot of business for you, assuming you are leveraging it correctly.

What other lies about social media marketing do you hear?

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  1. Kudos to Comcast! Thanks for these Neil! I prefer engagement over millions of followers.

  2. So true. Especially the first point “#1: The more followers you have, the better off you are” you might even be worse off because of the lower engagement percentages that will occur and skew your stats. What’s the point of having 1 million followers if none of them engage.

  3. Hello,
    Its an amazing blog post, but I would like to share with you sometimes social media traffic really convert not well.

    Because, I have test this with Indian traffic for my job blog.

    It was an worst experience for me.

    Thanks @Neil

  4. Thanks Neil for your post.

    One of my strong beliefs till some time ago was that twitter can be used for anything serious.

    But once I’ve heard from my friend who said “I’ve noticed I can hardly read anything larger than three sentences in a row.”

    He is a social networks addict. So I changed my mind; there are (a lot of) people nowdays that prefer short messages.

    Interesting sociological and psychological topic, btw :)

  5. I’m sort of confused as to #1. Facebooks algorithm now is slamming down on any page not paying to boost posts I don’t think it’s solely based on engagement. We have 72K on our page, were getting 2K likes on our posts and overall engagement was quite good. But all the sudden it was like FB turned off a faucet and our posts weren’t even being *seen* by 2000 much less liked – and that happened literally overnight. Maybe the rules are stricter for “not for profit” type page like us, since ours is a celeb fan page. But when we boost an occasional post – we see an increase in views for a few weeks. It seems to be more about money with FB now.

  6. Hey there Neil!

    Great post, as always. I think the most important thing to always remember about social media is that you have to stand out in a crowd. In print advertising, you might use different colors to standout or large bold font with a targeted message.

    In the age of social media, its important to think about how you engage Facebook yourself. Do you read every update in your news feed? Or do you skim it until something catches your eye. This is why fake news and satire sites became so big and literally filled all of our news feeds for months (glad Facebook is taking steps to fix that). Most people don’t even bother stopping to figure out if the news is true. They just press share.

    Titles need to pop out in a crowded space. Great title usually equals great engagement.

    • Steve,
      Great points. It’s really challenging nowadays to find sticky content. However, when you get the right formula down your users will come back for more more. It’s important to keep the momentum going if you want create continued engagement.

  7. These lies are so true specially #1. Social media works fine until you are interact with your visitors. When you start ignoring your visitors their algorithm also starts avoiding you.

  8. Hi Neil,

    #1 – we’re playing a people game not a numbers game.

    Example: I make friends with an authority blogger. Said blogger interviews me, or publishes my guest post. This connects me with more people who dig my delivery.

    I connect with more people who want what I have to offer. People buy products, or become rabid fans, numbers don’t. You derive joy in helping people, in serving people.

    You can’t serve numbers. You can’t help numbers. You can’t build a campaign on numbers, nor can you build a business on numbers. Numbers are inanimate objects.

    I recall commenting on a blog for a few weeks. I noted the blogger had 70,000 Facebook Fans yet zero engagement on his blog. Now, if you have 70,000 legit fans, you’re getting more than 1 comment per post.

    I spotted bought fans, and immediately stopped commenting. I want to be part of a blogging community, so I simply released on this blog to find folks who value playing an energy game by connecting with people, not the dreaded numbers game.

    Thanks Neil. I’ll tweet this soon.


    • Ryan, thanks for sharing. You bring up great points. It’s all about engagement. Numbers only matter when things are converting into actual engagement or conversations.

  9. Hi, Thank you for your great tips. I have learned a great deal from you and I hope to implement more of your wisdom! Thanks for sharing!

  10. I so much agree with your thoughts Neil, especially on number 1!

    I have an email subscribers of over 8k

    And another I built from facebook (audience, interest and demographic targeted)

    They are supper responsive more than the aforementioned.

    Spending time in filtering wasters to those that can be a plus factor to your business is really worth the effort.

    Your’s sincerely!

    Jerry Obamwonyi
    The Watermelon Millionaire!

  11. I agree 1,000% with point No. 1. Having two million dead fish on your page means nothing. Engagement is what counts – people commenting on your post, submitting content to you, answering your surveys, etc. I’ll add – not just engagement, but POSITIVE engagement. You want people expressing an interest in your content.

    No. 2 – Social sharing buttons do not belong on administrative type pages, but they do belong on content pages. On WordPress sites, you can disable social sharing buttons per page and per post.

    No. 3 – Agree. My own site bears it out for me. At one time up to 90% of my traffic was coming from social media. Now it’s more a 33% each mix of social media, direct referral, search engines. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest are the critial ones. I also get some traffic from StumbleUpon, so I use it.

    No. 4 – Companies such as described in No. 4 probably don’t need to spend a whole lot of time on social media, but even that cited company has a rudimentary presence.

    No. 5 – Depends on the site. I need to post at least once a day – two to three times a day would be ideal or page views and ad revenue tank. Political news has to be updated frequently. On the other hand, I have a dance site for my wife. I don’t have to post there anywhere near as often.

    Nos. 6 and 7 – agree.

  12. This post pretty sums up my experience. :) I’m pretty active on Facebook, but it doesn’t really help with the views. Apparently, my blog’s marked as spam. I suspect it’s got to do with the fake 11K likes. The thing is, I have no idea how to remove them.

    On a different note, this is an enlightening article, Neil! :)

  13. Hi Edward,

    ‘Leveraging’ means ‘taking advantage of’.

    Facebook is a great way to market your book because it allows you to target people based on their interests.

    Just think of your target audience – what other books would they have read? What kind of hobbies and interests would they have? The more specific you can be with your targetting, more profitable campaigns you’ll have.

  14. Hey Neil,

    I get that you wanted 7 “lies” – but you really stretched it with #2, and #4… both are almost useless…

    Otherwise, the other 5 were informative – thanks.

  15. this is a classic SPAM reply which was made only to get a backlink to your “zombi” site from a PR5 site … just my 2 cents

    • Ha, atleast your honest…

      Great content though, it actually gave me a better insight since I’m starting a new social media strategy B2C.

      But to each their own.

  16. Hi Neil

    1 million fans, wow, that’s impressive!

    But yeah, I’d much rather have an engaged audience of 1000 fans if it means getting more attraction.

    I didn’t know Twitter and LinkedIn also use an algorithm as well. Honestly, I suck at Facebook, and for the exact reasons you’ve highlighted in this post, I feel reluctant to spend time there.

    Totally agree about social share buttons being a distraction on static pages, especially sales pages. After all, there should be ONE strong call to action for any sales page – the sale!

    Anything else is just a distraction!

    Same goes for lead pages. Totally baffles me when I see lead pages with social share buttons and a navigation menu.

    And why anyone would think social media traffic doesn’t convert is beyond me. It’s no secret that social media is the new SEO and Facebook ads have been HOT for years now.

    If in doubt, there’s a simple solution like you say – track your traffic! In fact, I just published a tutorial this week teaching readers how to use Google Analytics to track top traffic sources that convert into subscribers and sales – including social media sources.

    Lie #5 – now that has shocked me. Not the daily posting,
    the fact that you recommended posting less frequently.

    Just recently I was on a webinar with Darren Rowse of Problogger, and he suggests a posting schedule of up to 5x daily. I guess it all comes down to testing the tolerance level our own audience.

    But personally, I don’t post that much and I’m not sure if I’d be able to keep up with such an aggressive schedule!

    Anyways, thanks for the tips Neil. I’ll be celebrating my first year of blogging this month, and social media is still an area I need to master – getting there slowly. :)

    I’ll be sharing with my online friends a little later today.

    Kerry Russell

  17. Bro… quality over quantity wins.

    Remember… be a servant,

    Cory Boatright

  18. Nice post Neil. But for me the first point, only half is visible And it’s keep on loading.

    The two points which attracts me more is “ignore negative feedback & participate on a daily basis”

  19. Hey Neil,

    Nice Article and Especially the first point “#1 about more followers. i have also more twitter follower and facebook likes but when i post any content then i got only 5 or 10 like every post and very low sharing…

    I thing my content or image are not informative. but after read your blog i understood how to get more engagement from social media marketing.

    Thanks you some much Neil.. Really your all content in very useful for peoples.

    Thanks Again.

  20. Really wonderful research you’ve done on the fallacious issues of Social Media in terms of audience engagement. I do agree so much. On the Lie#4 issue, gender is might another big/alternative example can be come up. An virtual lady even find more response (like/share) than a male, although he creates better content. This is the reason goes behind the point of entertainment first ! Here the response on real product(content) is always second. So, social media is better for the famous ( super creators) and females !

  21. Hi Neil,

    Thanks for the article today. Always good to reason about social media misconceptions.

    You mentioned that social networks have algorithms that won’t display your messages if your engagement is low. While is true for Facebook, I’m pretty sure it’s not the case for Twitter.

    “If you have followers that aren’t engaged, the algorithms these sites use will make sure very few people see your message.”

    Twitter will display your message to all your followers, regardless of engagement percentage.

  22. This post is a myth breaker & enlightening.

    Quality of the post/ update is the only important, and nothing else.

    This is great takeaway, and timely.

    Thanks Neil.

  23. Comcast responds to your sister because they know she’s your sister! :D

    JK, thanks for the insight.

  24. Great points Neil, I am totally agree with the first point . We should hunt for engaged audience rather than one who has nothing to do with our content.

    #2 is awesome. I think you are right but I am skeptical that whether it’s really distract a visitor or not.

    Could you please elaborate the point #5 . I am not getting that . Anyone here please or you yourself Neil.


  25. There are many myths about social media marketing is that there should be much number of followers and likes so that your website will be on higher priority but if users will not be engage then its all in vain. Along with this all factors described here are worthy and indeed its an information and useful post. Thanks for sharing this Neil.

  26. Thanks for sharing these marketing lies. Why are there always lies in marketing, oh yes, i forgot, marketing is made of lies.

  27. Hi Neil,

    Really Interesting article about social media marketing, especially the b2b and b2c strategies are clearly explained. Hope this could be very useful for my business. Thanks for sharing. Keep more updates like this Neil..!!!

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  29. so true Neil. thanks for your article

  30. Hi Neil,

    I am one of the regular reader of QuickSprout from past couple of months. All of your posts are really awesome, easy to understand and informative too.

    Though I am talking about your Kissmetric post but I am posting comment here as my previous experience at QuickSprout was ultimate and I had received quick response on my previous comments.

    In “Lie #5: You need to participate on a daily basis” you have mentioned a link to your Kissmetric post. You have provided really useful information on Facebook post frequency and when to post on Facebook.

    Don’t you think you should mentioned also the countries and age groups to target in facebook ad campaign to get more Likes on page. Like from which country and age groups we can get facebook page Likes at cheapest cost.


  31. Very nice informative post. You are right I have tried most of these things explained by you. It looks like you have explained my effort of generating traffic though social media.

  32. Thanks, it has saved my time. Now because of your this informative post I have more knowledge of social media, it will help me a lot in preparing my future strategies.

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