The majority of companies today use one or more social media sites to communicate with customers and share news, information and updates. A social media policy should be in place at your business to ensure that employees use social media responsibly and effectively, and that their actions reflect well on your company.

There remain many myths about social media use for business that should be busted as soon as possible. Believing in these myths may inadvertently derail an effective digital marketing strategy, and may hamper your efforts at increasing awareness and engagement among your customers online. Bust these myths once and for all!

Myth One: Twitter is the best place for business social media.

There is no one “best” social media site for businesses to use. Some, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, are popular for business users, but there have been highly successful social media campaigns for businesses on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media sites.

Twitter’s short, staccato-like messages may suit your business the best, but some companies may find that image-based marketing via sites such as Pinterest and Instagram help them tell their product and brand story. This myth is busted. You must find your own unique blend of social media sites that work for your business.

Myth Two: You must spend at least two hours per day on social media to be effective.

There is absolutely no basis of fact behind the “two hour” myth. You do need to invest consistent time and effort into your social media marketing if you are updating your accounts yourself, or you need to hire someone to handle them for you. But there is no special time frame needed to handle your social media work properly. It may take an hour, fifteen minutes, or two hours. Each company is unique.

Myth Three: Social media is only for sharing your messages out to your customers.

Consider this statement in light of the word “social.” A social gathering is one in which you interact with other people, such as at a party. If you simply walked into the party and began shouting random messages at other people, they would think it very strange. The same goes for your social media sites. Social media is about interacting, communicating, and connecting with others. You may share some of your own messages, but you should always think more about what to give back to the social community than what to share out.

Social media is also the place in which many customers choose to connect with your business. That’s why it is essential that you monitor active social media channels daily. Customers may air complaints or ask questions publicly, and businesses should respond promptly to both on their social media platforms or run the risk of seeming as if they do not care about service. Customers will interact with your brand online, and on social media channels, no matter how you view the service. Be proactive and monitor your social sites frequently and respond promptly.

Myth Four: Let social media replace your website.

This is perhaps the most dangerous myth out of all of the social media myths. Some small businesses attempt to rely on their social media sites as their business website. This is dangerous for several reasons. First, you do not own the information on your social media platform. You may spend weeks, months or years building it up, only to find the company has gone out of business or changed their policies so that they no longer provide business pages. Yahoo! users who relied upon free GeoCities sites many years ago found out the hard way that “free” does not equal “permanent” when the company shut down the GeoCities service.

Websites provide you with greater flexibility, space for information, and freedom to share what you want to tell your product and brand story than any social media site can share. Owning your own content on a website is critical for success. Never rely upon a social media site as your exclusive web presence.

Social media has become an important means and method of communication. It has evolved from a toy for teens to an important business tool. By understanding the realities of social media instead of believing the myths, you can use it effectively to achieve your business goals.

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