Marketing Myths: Part 3—There’s a Right Way and a Wrong Way to do Social Media

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In an ongoing effort to expose bad marketing advice, I’ve created the series “Marketing Myths.” If you’ve missed the first 2 parts of this series, you can check them out here:

Marketing Myths: Part 1—Every Customer Should Love Your Brand

Marketing Myths: Part 2—The Customer Is Always Right

In this entry, I want to talk a little bit about social media marketing. Over the past few years, we’ve seen companies using Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, and a host of other social sites to raise awareness and attract new customers.

Of course, it didn’t take long for the “social media experts” to appear and proclaim how companies should use these platforms to engage customers. I swear that a week doesn’t go by that I don’t see a post outlining some new rules for social media marketing. If you believe these “gurus” there’s a right way and a wrong way to do social media.

I don’t believe it.

In fact, this notion runs contrary to the whole point of social media. The point of social media is that it gives the user the power to do or say whatever they want. If someone wants to use their Facebook to share photos of the food they eat, that’s totally fine. If someone wants to blast links to their blog to the Twitterverse, that’s their right.

This idea that you have to use these social sites in one specific way is simply flawed. There are countless companies having success with their social media marketing, and many of them approach it in different ways.

For example, JetBlue Airways uses Twitter as a customer service tool. They interact with customers who have issues, provide updates about flight times and delays, and work to improve the overall flying experience for customers.

Undoubtedly, you’ve heard people say that you shouldn’t use Twitter strictly to advertise to customers. Well, don’t tell that to Dell. They have a Twitter account specifically setup to broadcast deals to customers. Virtually every Tweet they send out is an advertisement for one of their products. But guess what? As of the time I’m writing this, they have 1,534,842 followers. Clearly, they’ve had success by using an approach many social media marketers would tell you is wrong.

The point is there is no right or wrong way to do social media. There are things that will produce results for your company and other things that could possibly damage your brand, but every company is different. The only way to find out what works for your company is to experiment.

What do you think—Is there a right way and a wrong way to do social media?

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