In my daily routine, I tend to do the same tasks on social media over and over again. I'm constantly scheduling my tweets, posting photos on Facebook, and trying to build up an audience. Yet there are things I've mistakenly either avoided doing, because I've been told they don't work, or that I've done repeatedly, under the notion that they work. I've included a few of these myths below, with comments.
1. Myth: It's a bad idea to tweet constantly
You can overwhelm your Twitter followers if you tweet constantly, right? Most experts tell me that's not true--posting multiple tweets per day increases engagement. People visit your Twitter profile or scan through posts on a tool like Twitterverse and then move on. They will barely notice if you tweeted five times in one minute.
2. Myth: You should keep your captions short on Instagram
Kevin Shively, a social analyst for social analytics company Simply Measured, told me there's a commonly held view that short captions for Instagram photos work best. That's not true, he says. In a study by Interbrand of 100 top companies, caption length did not impact clicks.
3. Myth: Videos on Facebook will annoy your followers
Now that videos start playing automatically (with the sound off) when you scroll through your feed in Facebook, you might think that posting a video would annoy your followers. Shively says it won't. In Simply Measured's research, videos are getting more popular: In the first quarter of 2015 alone, video sharing has increased 43 percent.
4. Myth: Retweets don't work
A retweet on Twitter seems like a waste of time, but it's actually quite valuable. Social media expert Matthew Dooley tells me it's a good idea to always include your own comment with retweets, but they are mostly a vote of confidence for the original posters. "It's a great way to give a nod to their content, and they'll often favorite your retweet to show their appreciation--kind of like sending a thank-you card for someone's thank-you card," he says.
5. Myth: Avoid using too many hashtags
Experts have told me to avoid using too many hashtags, but the data tells a different story. Simply Measured conducted a study called the Q4 2014 Twitter Benchmark Report and found that hashtags led to 26 percent more clicks and a higher engagement than not using hashtags. You don't want to overdo it and have half your post consist of sarcastic hashtags. Yet the experts say hashtags do help people find your content.
6. Myth: You just have to follow influencers to gain followers
That you could gain followers on social networks simply by following influencers is a myth that's widely held, but the idea is totally misleading. To gain followers, you have to engage with influencers (those who already have a high following). Retweet their stuff, comment on their posts, send direct messages. Show them your loyalty. Dooley says that if all you do is follow an influencer, it's usually not that effective.