Social media marketing is a thriving field, but it differs from other fields in that there is no formal education required. Anyone and their mother can build a website and claim to be a social media expert, and they do (and so do their mums.) The trick is learning how to shuck all those fishy clams quickly in order to find the single pearl of wisdom they have to offer. It’s not always easy, and even people who we’d consider true experts make mistakes, so you need to take every piece of advice, every single one, with a grain of salt. Better yet, confirm everything for yourself. If they aren’t offering the research to back up their facts, you need to go looking for it before you change your processes based on their advice.
Let’s look at a specific example from this weekend.
A well known, highly followed, and generally respected social media marketing guru said, “Text, images, videos, links – that’s the hierarchy of reach on social media. If you want to reach more people, you shouldn’t be posting links all the time.”
Of course the post got a bunch of likes and shares and retweets and all of the other positive social signals, but if you look at it for even a second, you’ll realize it’s just not true. To start with the most obvious point, to say that text has a greater reach than images is just a ridiculous fallacy. If you look at the data from major marketing services who track this sort of thing, images are king.
It’s just as silly to put links dead last. Posts with links receive higher engagement (because people are clicking them) which boosts their viral spread, and to back this up with even more data, Twitter posts with links enjoy a Retweet rate 86% higher than posts without links. Also, below is a shot from one of the many accounts we manage. As you can see, it flies directly in the face of what the guru said as universal advice.
Did the social guru do anything wrong here? Probably not. We sincerely doubt he was making up random facts just to have something to say. He is probably referring to a very specific case study that he didn’t bother to cite. He is sharing what works for him. Will it work for you too? Maybe, but probably not. You need to look at all of the data and come to your own conclusions before you follow advice, be it from a guru, mother, or any other.