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There’s so much noise about how social media can benefit a business and, unfortunately, much of it isn’t very useful.

That’s because the answers to our questions keep changing. As social networks evolve, we’re refining our approach day by day. Although there’ll never be a definitive rule book when it comes to social networking, one thing’s for sure – no one can afford to stand by and watch the developments unfold.

With that in mind, here’s my pick of the biggest social media misconceptions and how to shape your strategy around them:

‘Absolutely everyone uses social media’

Statistics will tell you that over 80 per cent of consumers discover products via social media and, in some cases, that’s true. However, this depends entirely upon the type of commodity offered by your brand and the audience it’s aimed at. The reality is that there’s a chance that a good proportion of your target demographic won’t be social media users.

If that’s the case, the best thing to do is focus your efforts on harnessing the power of the web and making it easier for search engines to locate your website. A good search engine optimisation strategy really can make or break your online presence and, although it may take time to gain momentum, it’ll definitely be worth it in the long run.

‘You need to be active on every social network out there’

Just because the rules aren’t black and white when it comes to social media, don’t feel that you need to do everything in order to cover your back. As with all marketing channels, when it comes to social media, it’s better to take a targeted approach.

Start by visiting Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and typing key words into the search fields. Your search should describe the industry, service and market in which your brand sits. Explore the search results and ask yourself whether the users you see on these pages resemble your target audience. If so, engage with them; if not, focus your efforts elsewhere. Posting content on other networks for the sake of it is a waste of time and, after all, time is money!

As we all know, social media is a powerful tool and offers an invaluable platform upon which to promote a brand. So, take your time, do your research and – while you may make mistakes along the way – take a risk!