Social Media: Going beyond Myths

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Back in the day, before social media came to life, or perhaps before the greatest invention of the 20th century, the internet, came to life; people used to believe in myths. Some got rid of their beliefs with time, but some took them to another level and to new innovations that emerged in their lives, such as social media. But how many actually know and comprehend that social media is a science in itself?

What many people do not know is that success in social media itself does not come arbitrarily. You do not become a social media guru overnight, and definitely not by coincidence. There have been experts in social media that have based their experience on trial and error, experts who came out with this science as a result to a lot of successes and failures, and simply made their experience a corner stone for us to benefit from when stepping into the wide world of social media.

One of the pieces of advice that any social media expert would give you before you start is: More means less. Many people falsely believe that writing more in their posts generates more traffic and attracts more people, but as a matter of fact it has the exact opposite effect. “Tweets between 100 and 115 characters are more likely to be retweeted than Tweets outside of that range” says Dan Zarella, author of The Science of Marketing: When to Tweet, What to Post, How to Blog, and Other Proven Strategies book. “A big drop off in retweet probability occurs once Tweets get beyond about 120 characters.

In a very interesting research held by Click Z marketing-research team that included over 120 billion Facebook impressions, it was found out that “longer posts tend to perform poorly. The ideal interaction being driven by posts is between 100 to 119 characters. Questions tend to drive interaction up by 10 to 20 percent.” Of course this applies to all social media platforms; from Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, to any other social media platform that you might be using.

Another very important gimmick to improve your social media traffic and be as visible as possible to the largest number of audience is optimizing the timing of your posting. While there are no set rules about when to post what and where, it is evident that not all timings have the same impact for posts. Sometimes you might publish a very interesting post that you are very confident it would become a “hit” but it wouldn’t, and vice-versa.

The best way to figure out the best times of your posts/tweets is by one of two methods. The first way would be by experimenting with timings on your platform until you find the right timing, which might take some time, effort and perhaps a number of failures, but you would at the end tailor the best timings that would work best for your platforms.

The other way would be by using measuring metrics. Facebook now provides a very accurate and user-friendly tool for your pages named Facebook Insights. But for your Twitter account for example you would need third party apps, such as Buffer (BufferApp) and Social Bro, which give you accurate, detailed results, but that does not come for free as they are paid apps. You can try free apps, such as Hootsuite and Klout, but according to many social media experts they probably would not give you accurate and scientific results.

It is always good to keep in mind that social media is not only a science on its own, but it is developing and changing on a daily basis. What works today is different from what worked yesterday and is probably different from what will work tomorrow. The most important tip for you to stay in the loop of social media is to keep experimenting, to read others’ experiments and even engage in online and offline discussions with social media peers. This way you will familiarize yourself more with the social media world, figure out yourself what works and what does not, and get rid of any myths that you might have believed in before.


Mahmoud Shabeeb.



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