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Social Media Agency Myths: Debunking the Stereotypes

Each year a hoard of new statistics come out that indicate social media’s prevalence is continuing to grow. As traditional advertising and marketing methods continue to fade, companies are turning to the variety of social networks to spread their message to fans.

Out of this trend has grown social media agencies, or agencies that market and advertise entirely through social media. I work at such an agency, based in North Carolina’s Triangle area (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill). I’ve been employed at Shelten Media for a year now, and I’ve come to realize there are several myths about social media agencies perpetuated by my friends or family. No more. I’m here to absolve those myths and hopefully shed some light on the true nature of these companies.

Myth 1: It’s easy. “Well, you get to sit on the Internet all day and post about cool things.” Or “If I had a job that allowed me to be on Facebook, I think I’d be stress-free.” Or the thinly-veiled: “So, what else do you do?”

Fact: It’s not. This is by far the most commonly held belief, and it’s also the most incorrect. There’s a reason Shelten Media has clients:  social networks are not easy to manage. Each client has a distinct voice, and sometimes it’s difficult to switch between voices on the fly. Also, every client has a different posting schedule, which is altered at the end of every other month, based on analytics. Keeping an organized chart helps, but that doesn’t eliminate the fact that it’s still hard work.

Myth 2: It doesn’t require the ability to write. “I wish I could post on Twitter all day. Then I wouldn’t have to worry about grammar.” Or “Everything is image-based now. I bet you just throw on some hashtags and post away.” Or the more absurd, “Well, blogging is more about design, so you don’t really have to worry about all the commas.”

Fact: Writing is essential. Even without strict grammatical rules, Twitter still requires that I know how to get my point across with only words. Good writing is more than just placing commas in the right places. It’s about communicating a message so that anyone can understand. That’s harder than you think with only 140 characters. Also, a Facebook page looks boring without any captions or comments, and anyone who thinks blogging doesn’t require good writing is fooling themself.

Myth 3: It’s not appealing on my resume. “I don’t know about that. Shouldn’t I work for a real PR agency first?” Or “How is anyone going to take me seriously if my resume says I gained 2,500 followers on Instagram?”

Fact: It stands out more than you think. First of all, 2,500 Instagram followers is a big accomplishment. I would brag about it all day if I had done a similar thing. Aside from that, though, every now and then I send my resume out to other people (I know a few recruiters) just to make sure I’m getting the experience I think I should be getting. More often than not, the item most people are interested in is Shelten Media. Note that I’ve also worked for a larger PR agency that services Fortune 500 clients, and yet Shelten Media wins all the attention.

It’s like I wrote at the beginning of this blog post:  Social media is the future of marketing and advertising. Getting a lot of experience in the area is going to help you long before it hurts you.

Myth 4: It’s quick: “I bet you only have to work 20 hours a week.” Or “If you’re on Facebook all day, how much work do you actually have to do?”

Fact: It’s quite time-consuming:  Social media can feel endless if you let it. Because it’s such a hot topic in marketing and advertising, I’m bombarded daily with blog posts full of eight tips on how to improve what I’m doing, or five things I’m doing wrong. We’ve learned how to do social media well, but there are still thousands of opinions out there on how to do it better. Content management involves a lot of multitasking which can be a lot of work. Also, because social media is a 24/7 process, I can technically work all hours of the day.

Myth 5: It’s boring: “Wouldn’t that get old really quickly?” Or “How do you keep trying to be funny?” Or “I bet you’re sick of Facebook.”

Truth: There’s always something new: I hope this blog post doesn’t come across as me trying to remove a chip from my shoulder. My job is hard work, but so is everyone else’s job. The nice thing about social media is that there’s something new and industry-changing every few months. Instagram, SnapChat, Pinterest. They all exploded onto the scene, and we had to adapt quickly. I get bored easily, and this type of environment keeps me from feeling as if I do the same thing day-in and day-out. I have been frustrated at my job, yes, but I’ve never been bored.

Do any of you manage social media and find that some assumptions you had were untrue?

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