8 Things to NOT Say to a Social Media Strategist

There are so many misconceptions about social media that it sometimes makes me chuckle. I wanted to share eight things that I have heard over the past few years and some advice on what not to say to a social media strategist.

What Not to Say to a Social Media Strategist…

1. They pay you to do that?  I thought social media was free!

Well yes, it's free to have an account on every social media platform.  Some of the tools to increase efficiency in social media aren't free.  And that doesn't even get into the issue of whether it's cost effective to put yourself through the learning curve required to use social media effectively  – posting fresh content regularly, writing at least 2 blog posts per week, and creating videos just to name a few.  To use social media well takes time and a consistent strategy. I haven't even mentioned marketing knowledge yet!

2. I know how to use Facebook!  How do I start? 

I think developing a social media marketing business is a great way for people to break out of traditional work environments – especially people like stay at home moms, retirees, etc.  However, just because you use Facebook doesn't mean you are ready to hang out your shingle and call yourself an expert!  There are many other social media platforms, not to mention running a website or a blog.  Plus, the endless hours of learning online marketing strategies – which are very different than standard marketing strategies.

3. You just play on social media all day?  What kind of a job is that?

Honestly, while there are certain activities that go into every social media marketing campaign, every day and every client has unique needs.  So while I know what kinds of activities I'll be doing regularly, there are many days that I never know what is going to happen by the day's end!  (But I can assure you, it's not just "playing" on any platform, be it Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or the rest!)

4. Pinterest and Twitter for business?  I thought that was just for housewives or college kids!

Marketing is about providing your message to your ideal customers, wherever they are.  Social media and content marketing takes that one step further and provides valuable information across multiple channels that helps you find, then develop relationships with the people most likely to be interested in the services or products you offer. Where is your ideal client? Chances are, they are on Twitter and Pinterest! 

5. Social media is just a fad!

As Gary Vaynerchuk puts it (and I've referenced this before), betting against social media now is like betting against the Internet.  Six years ago, what was developing into social media (but hadn't yet been named as such) was called "Web 2.0"  It was where the internet was going, and developers knew it.  While social media platforms may continue to evolve, the likelihood that social networking will cease to be part of people's every day lives is as high as the likelihood that movies or television will stop existing all together.  They may be made and distributed differently, but they're not going away.  Neither is the need for businesses to engage with their customers online.

6. Since we're friends, can you help me out for FREE?

Unless you would also ask every friend to provide professional services for free (and if you would, let's talk about manners! <grin>) you should also expect to pay for the professional services of someone handling your social media strategy.  Besides the cost of access to tools that a professional social media strategist incurs, if he or she is serious about business, he or she also has invested a great deal of time and money learning the skills of the profession, just like any other professional. And one last thought…do you work for free?

7. My granddaughter is into computers; I'll just have her do that for me

It's important to understand that social media isn't about the technology.  It's about understanding that whoever is providing your social media updates, designing a Facebook contest that doesn't break the Facebook Terms of Service (TOS) and creates fresh blog content regularly is the face and the voice of your company to anyone who reads your content.  It takes work and a strong strategy to provide a voice that indeed sounds like someone from your company.  Building your brand as a company takes time – and it only takes one misinformed Tweet to ruin it for a long time to come.

8. Twitter? Really? People Really Use That For Business?

Really.  Twitter.  I can't begin to tell you how many paid clients have first connected with me through Twitter or as a result of content I've shared via Twitter.  You would be amazed at the power of 140 characters to make or break your brand. 

What are your favorite misconceptions about social media strategy?  I'd love to hear – leave a comment below!  


  1. Nicola Warwick says

    Kim, these sound so familiar!  My favourite misconception is that 'it' will just take me a minute!  Whether it's tweeting for a client, customising Facebook, maintaining a website or designing an email newsletter generally clients don't realise how long many jobs can take or the background work required to make it happen.

    • Kim GarstKim Garst says

      Social media, done correctly, does take a lot of time! I agree with you wholeheartedly, that clients don’t realize how much time it takes to do a good job.

  2. says

    One of the misconceptions that I see regularly have discussions about is whether Social Media actually helps generate sales or not. Some people believe that just because they find people don't tend to buy off them when they post on Facebook/twitter etc that social media doesn't work. I think they fail to get past the concept that Social Media is about engaging with your fans/followers to increase your brand awareness and that it WILL lead to more sales….but not in the traditional sense of SPAM them and they will buy.

    Kind regards,

    • Kim GarstKim Garst says

      They definitely forget to build out the relationships and that is why they don’t create the sales that they would like, if at all. It’s all about the relationship today.

  3. Kelli Fountain says

    All very good comments.  What form of measurement do you prefer to use for your clients if not actual sales?  We've used Edgerank, Klout, reach, talking about…..what do you think resonates with the client best?

  4. Jerry Wilkinson says

    I confess I thought being on my puter "playing" with FB, Twitter, etc would be a piece of cake. Not so much, it is a lot of work and without knowledge and an understanding of how all these things  are interconnected I would liken it to wandering in a forest with a blindfold looking for the way out. You might find it but don't hold your breathe. For me the way to go is to find a good guide or even better a group of guides who know and can help, it is money well spent. I came upon Social Boom and it has helped hugely but even so it still requires work as does anything worthwhile.

    • Kim GarstKim Garst says

      Jerry, you are sooo right…social media is WORK and you gotta do the work to get the results. Thank you for your comments!

  5. Kim Starry says

    Great post.  Nice to know that we all hear those misconceptions.  If we had a dollar for every time we heard them we wouldn't have to play on Facebook and Twitter all day 😉  Always love reading what you have to say.

  6. says

    I have heard all of these plus a few more. I have to agree with Nicole's comment; the misconception I get most often is the amount of time it takes and how much background work can go into a job whether small or big.

  7. Patti Langell says

    These are all good ones! I have heard all of them at one time or another. Love getting paid to “play” on social media!

  8. says

    Love this list. Being rooted in graphic design, and then evolving into advertising and marketing (both traditional and social), I’ve pretty much heard them all too. The same sort of misconceptions happen for designers: “My nephew can use photoshop, I’ll have him do my company’s branding.”

  9. says

    The most important thing for social media marketing is not “whether Social Media actually helps generate sales”, it is how can we share our information with our customer or anyone seems to interested in our servicces, make our brand and products/services be know and accepted by the mass.

  10. says

    I would love for clients to realize there is real strategy. The “if you create it they will come” attitude is very prevalent even with the wealth of information that is out here. I don’t know why it’s so hard to convince people there’s real work behind that website and social media. And they see businesses all day everyday on social media growing their networks and engaging with people. I guess it’s hard for people to want to really invest in something that isn’t necessarily tangible.
    Look what Kamilah Beltran just posted..5 Tools To Market Your Business OnlineMy Profile

  11. says

    Hi Kim,
    It’s a good one.
    I almost laughed… So familiar. I teach small biz owners how to build a kickass personal brand. I work with a lot of experts and professionals in various fields. Lot of these questions are not “social media specific” in my experience.

    Believe it or not there are just a few of them who didn’t get the question: “They pay you to do THAT? People pay you for THIS?” Coaches, artists, craftsmen, name it.

    Frankly, nowadays we have a lots of fun with my clients and followers when we create the personified response for these.
    Look what KRISZTA just posted..Who is this chick, anyway?My Profile

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