For every post that provides truth, value, and substantiated research on a social network, there are 20 “digital marketing experts” lining up to send you a DM on how to generate an “insane” amount of growth, get verified on Instagram with cryptocurrency, or gain 20,000 followers using their “secret hack!” Bad information can be spun as fact, especially when nearly every major social platform has earned a reputation of being less than transparent when describing its internal processes, and digital algorithms. While we can’t uncover every myth shared on social media, there are a few solid truths we’ve uncovered through experience and research that will help you decipher fact from fiction when managing your social strategy.
Why Credibility is Critical for Uncovering Truth
It’s important to preface that when evaluating any social media advice or counsel, you remember this: unless the insight comes directly from a corporate executive, a legitimate brand spokesperson, or the platform itself, the advice is simply a theory. That’s not to discredit the advice itself or indicate it’s necessarily wrong or inaccurate, but more so to help you contextualize the information you receive. With the rate and volume at which information is spread across the world digitally today, uncovering genuine insight can be like trying to find a virtual needle in a Zoom version of a haystack. Knowing these baseline variables and qualifications of what renders a source credible will help you stay focused, strategic, and critically minded along the way.
What makes a third-party source credible?
- Education and/or experience – Take a moment to dig into the source’s background. Are they a part of the marketing or media industry? Have they taken any relevant courses or received certifications related to social media? Do they frequently write or speak on these topics?
- Professional affiliations – Are they a part of any industry or relevant topic-focused groups or societies? Have they partnered with any social media platforms?
- Research, data, and case studies – Do they conduct their own industry-related research or subscribe to market study insights? Can they provide examples of their insights or claims?
These evaluative checkpoints are key questions to ask when deciding whether the source of insight ultimately has the authority to provide an opinion on the topic.
What Sources are Trustworthy?
- Any platform’s official newsroom, branded media kit, verified social profiles
- Any platform’s corporate executives on social media, e.g. Adam Mosseri (Head of Instagram), Nick Tran (Head of TikTok Global Marketing)
- Reputable news outlets such as Social Media Today, ADWEEK, The Verge, Insider, Forbes, etc.
Check out the shortlist below featuring some of our favorite social media thought leaders:
- Natasha, Host of Shine Online Podcast (@shinewithnatasha)
- Meagan Williamson, Pinterest Marketing Expert (@meaganawilliamson)
- Steven Mellor, Instagram Business Expert (@thestevenmellor)
- Gabby Layne, Founder of Strut Communications (@struttosuccess)
Debunked: Social Media Myths that are (More than Likely) Real
Now to dive into the myths that hold up against the litmus test of truth. BE mindful of the following examples when crafting focus and content for your social strategy, and managing your digital communities.
Instagram Prioritizes Content Using its New Features
It's a rumored truth Instagram's algorithm favors content utilizing its latest features. It's why Reels are the biggest focus right now on the platform and are driving major ROI for creators. Any time you can create content natively in the platform using Instagram's Stickers, AR features, IGTV, etc., is likely to work in your favor.
It's Okay – You Don’t Have to Be on Every Social Media Platform to Be Successful
It's okay for you or your business to not be on every social media channel. Focused efforts provide the best return for your brand. When you spread yourself too thin, trying to be active on each and every platform, your content quality can suffer. Instead, focus on the platforms where your audiences are active.
Tailoring Your Content for the Unique Audience of Each Social Channel is Necessary for Optimal Results
What performs well on one platform isn’t guaranteed to do well on another, so tweaks and tailoring are key! It's why we made sure the PLANOLY edit & share feature allows you to edit your posts for each channel. When tailoring content, be mindful of each platform's specific content guidelines from post size, dimensions, and elements, as well as ensuring your tags are accurate for each channel.
Your Follower Count Will Fluctuate – Don't Panic!
Are there some instances where "shadowbanning" does happen? Of course, but more likely than not, your follower count will fluctuate for non-nefarious reasons like removal of bot accounts, users in violation of platform rules, and the like.
Debunked: Social Media Myths that are (More than Likely) False
Instagram Penalizes Third-Party Scheduling Tools and Apps
There's a lot of divisive commentary on this one in particular, and as a third-party service ourselves, it's important for us to be transparent and simply share what we believe to be true. Ultimately, Instagram wants you and your content on their platform, and if a compliant third-party service allows you to do that – all the more reason to support.
You Have to Post Daily to Please Social Media Algorithms
There is such thing as oversaturation and posting too much. Prioritize quality over quantity and focus your efforts on a few weekly posts that provide value to your audience.
Bot Likes and Comments Help Outsmart the Algorithm
Bots are rampant right now, and Instagram recognizes the unnatural behavior in their comment methods. The algorithm works best when a diverse mix of users engage with your content.
You Should Use Your Total Allotted Hashtags (30) in Every Post
Again, focused efforts are key and ensure your content is seen by the audiences it's intended for – versus hoards of global users. Leverage 8-10 of the most relevant and applicable hashtags with each post. Hint: The PLANOLY hashtag manager does a solid job of helping you curate and save collections of tags to use repeatedly in your posts while scheduling.
When approaching any strategic execution in your brand strategy, transparency, credibility, and authenticity, are absolute must-have principles to ensure your efforts yield the most optimal results. So, take heed of these guidelines when synthesizing any "expert" tip or advice. This added layer of discernment ensures you and your brand are positioned to achieve the metrics and reception you seek and can focus your efforts on avenues that lead to success.
Have a social media myth in mind you'd like us to debunk? Submit yours below, and we'll aim to tackle it in our next go-round of PLANOLY Fact or Fiction!