I recently got (and read) my Fast Company magazine’s September issue. You know… the one that had “Social Media is Sexy” on the cover. Not sure whether or not social media is sexy or not; surely more sexy than direct mail or email, but perhaps slightly less sexy than television advertising? That could be a blog topic for another day and one that would be fun to write… okay mental note made.

Anyway, one article that did catch my eye was 6 Unpleasant Truths About Social Media. I thought they were spot on… for the most part! Here they are:

1. Engagement can’t be seen in dollars – While I agree that social media is not all about sales, depending on what you sell you can certainly realize huge financial success with social media and there are plenty of success stories out there that prove this. That said I think it best to approach social media with other goals in mind and let the sales side of it work itself out.

2. Social is just PR in overdrive – Well I think social media is a little more than PR, but it does for the most part fit nicely into the PR side of marketing. I think it also deserves a place at the demand generation and digital marketing table.

3. Money can’t buy everything – Totally agree! In fact I think that companies that try to bull nose their way into the spotlight via social media will actually regret that move. Social media is more organic than that!

4. Facebook isn’t a megaphone – Again I totally agree. Facebook is community… shouting your message here and at other social platforms can have a negative effect.

5. You’re being watched – Good! This is what it’s all about, but be sure to be real and genuine. Fakes and frauds will be eaten alive in social media.

6. Content rarely goes viral – Very true… you need to share viral worth content, but it’s up to your networks to decide what’s worth their time.

So these 6 unpleasant truths are certainly worth noting, but I suspect there are others. Here are a couple more that I’d add to the list:

7. Nobody is an expert – There are definitely people that are better at it, understand it more, and have more success, but nobody is an expert! It’s too new. It changes and evolves too quickly. And, there’s no one formula that fits each industry, company or social platform. This isn’t to say that consulting with experienced social media professionals is not a good idea, just don’t believe people who claim to be experts.

8. Social media platforms are not a place for testing – Polling your followers for ideas on creative… yes! Testing your ideas… no! Just not a good idea… don’t do it. Test your ideas in other media like email, direct mail, etc., but not a channel where people can actively discuss these ideas amongst themselves.

What other unpleasant truths do you see or have experienced? Let us know!

Image source:  Fast Company Magazine September 2012 Issue