What are some of the latest social media rumors and crazy tales about social media marketing that you've heard?
Two things travel incredibly fast around Facebook: screenshots and rumors.
Here are just some of the rumors that seep into my communities and inboxes daily:
- Facebook is removing people from groups!
- Like this post so Facebook doesn't remove you from my page or group!
- Everyone quick change your group category so your customers still see you!
- Quick, everyone post the “legal notice” saying Facebook can't use your personal information!
- Share this post because Facebook will donate $1 to a sick baby for every share!
- If you link your Facebook page to your group, your engagement will go down.
- Don't use words like “sell” or “sale” because Facebook suppresses those words.
- Don't boost a post because then Facebook will know you're willing to pay and you'll never get reach again!
I mean, the list just goes on and on.
Unverified, inaccurate, fostering fear, preying on emotions.
And the funny thing about it is that Facebook will tell you exactly how to use Facebook successfully so you can make money. And, yes, Facebook does change things around a lot, which can make it seem like it's hard to keep up with…but every time Facebook changes anything major, they let you know!
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Where do social media rumors come from?
Believe it or not, most social media rumors start in a very good place — especially when it comes to direct sales. Most of the time, they get started because someone tries something and it worked. And because of the family feel that is direct sales, once they see that this something worked, they usually start spreading the news: I did this and got more sales, so if you try it you can probably get more sales, too.
Unfortunately, that's not always the case. What works for one person isn't necessarily going to work for everyone else. There are just too many factors in place that can affect how one strategy might work (or fail) on social media:
- What was their engagement like before they tried this thing?
- Who is their ideal client?
- How long have they already been in business?
- What strategy were they using before?
On the other hand, sometimes the social media rumors start because someone tried something that didn't work and they want to warn everyone else not to try it. However, even these can be filled with misinformation (such as the supposed “Don't use words like “sell” or “sale” because Facebook suppresses those words” rumor, which isn't true).
These social media rumors gain momentum because direct sellers are an army of small business owners hoping to help each other succeed but without having a real understanding of how social media works or where to go to get more information.
Where can we check out those social media rumors?
First, when in doubt, look for news from the social media platforms themselves. Every social media channel has a blog or newsroom where they make announcements regarding their system and policies. These companies are transparent, so if you can't find anything about a rumor you've heard, then you can disregard the rumor.
Second, you can check the newsfeed and articles at well-known social media outlets such as Social Media Examiner and Social Media Today. These are companies who have built their entire careers and reputations on understanding how to use social media for marketing (and they have direct ties to staff members within the social media companies themselves, making them the best second-hand sources around).
Third, read between the lines. If someone says that they used the word “sale” and their post got lower reach than normal, is it because of the word “sale,” or is it because most of us have learned to treat those types of posts as ads and skip right over them without a thought? If someone boosted a post but didn't get any sales, is it because it was a sale post that got boosted or is it because they didn't quite understand how a boosted post worked and just threw money at it without a strategy?
And finally, pick apart the advice you're receiving and see if it fits into that social media channel's mission. Remember, every change every social media channel makes is for one purpose: to make the user experience better so people stay on longer. It's not to milk money out of a small-time direct seller or to suppress businesses or to promote a specific political agenda.
What should we do when we hear a social media rumor?
If you have a solid marketing strategy built on providing your community with value, then you can just ignore almost every rumor. No changes will ever override the amount of value you provide your audience with, so you won't have much to worry about.
If you're still building your social marketing strategy or if you're just not sure, then check one of the resources listed here to see if you can find some sort of confirmation before you start making a lot of changes to your posts. Do not pass on the information or warning to anyone else until you're pretty sure that you have the most accurate information available.