There is no question that social media marketing is, and will continue to be, essential for local businesses. But unfortunately, many social media myths are annoyingly persistent, and believing them can hurt your business.

So, let's bust some myths! Here are 8 of the most widely believed myths you need to stop thinking about if you want to grow your business with social media.

#1: You Need a Presence on Every Social Media Site

The notion that you need a presence on every social media site is among the most harmful business owners' myths. Maintaining an active presence on ANY social media site takes time, effort, and money, and nobody has time for all of them.

It would be best if you had an active and meaningful presence on the sites that offer you the best opportunity to connect with your target audience and engage your customers. Nothing else matters. Most local businesses should be on Facebook. B2B companies should have a presence on LinkedIn. If you're selling an aspirational product or service, it makes sense to be on Instagram or Pinterest.

Does this mean you should never try something new? Of course not! Please set up a profile and give it a try. But if the site you choose isn't giving you the desired results, cut it loose.

#2: Fans and Followers are Worthless if They Don't Become Paying Customers 

You should use social media to attract new customers. That's obvious, and it makes sense. But I hear from many business owners who think that followers who aren't paying customers aren't worth having – and that's not true.

Your fans and followers needn't buy from you to be helpful. A large following can raise your profile and help new customers find you. If you've got fans or followers who have a lot of clouts, you'll get some of it by association.

Most importantly, followers who don't buy your products could still refer their friends and followers to your business. It would be best if ySo you ran ads designed to attract paying customers but don't ignore the benefits of followers who aren't your customers. They're still helpful.

#3: It's Useful to Have Your Friends and Family "Like" Your Posts

It's a common misconception among business owners asking friends and family to "Like" your posts will help you get more engagement. The bad news? Social media algorithms are more sophisticated than that, and you need a wide range of people to engage with your posts.

Does this mean you should tell the people who care about you not to like your posts? Of course not! It means that you should always ask your fans and followers to engage with your posts and give them a reason to do so. Ask a question, encourage them to share your posts, and most importantly, share valuable and entertaining content so they'll want to engage with you.

#4: You Shouldn't Schedule Posts on the Weekend

It's a common practice for businesses not to share new social media content on weekends. While it's true that some of your followers might not spend as much time on social media on the weekends as they do during the week, you shouldn't assume that weekend content is unnecessary.

Instead, try scheduling a few weekend posts to see how they do. Then, you can use Facebook Insights or whatever analytics tool you prefer to determine which days and times are the best for posting.

#5: You Must Respond to Social Media Comments Immediately

There's no doubt that it's important to respond when a social media follower asks a question or leaves a comment. But responding promptly doesn't mean you must drop everything to respond immediately – with one exception.

If you have incorporated your customer support with social media, you should be sure to respond as quickly as possible. For example, many local businesses have added chatbots to Facebook Messenger to minimize customer wait times.

However, a comment that doesn't require customer support involvement can wait a while for a response. As a rule, try to respond within 24 hours.

#6: Social Media Posts Must Always Be Businesslike

Social media is social first and media second, but a lot of business owners forget that. Their social media posts are as dry as a dust and don't get any engagement. And they wonder why.

Don't be afraid to inject some personality into your social media posts. Even if you offer a professional service, you can still use appropriate humor or compassion in your posts. This is the place to showcase your brand personality. Ensure that anybody empowered to post on your social media accounts understands the persona you want to project.

#7: You Need Endless New Content to Post

You need to post new content on your social media sites. However, there's nothing wrong with repurposing or resharing old content if you don't have time to write something new.

Keep in mind that you can "curate" content by finding articles in industry publications and posts from influencers to share with your followers. If you keep the content you post relevant, your followers will be happy to see it.

#8: Social Media Marketing is Free

This final myth is one that I hear often. While setting up a social media account for your business is free, you're unlikely to get the results you want without spending some money.

Social media algorithms have grown increasingly sophisticated. The only way you can be sure your followers will see your most important content is to boost it. Social media marketing can help you get your content in front of potential customers. The good news is that you don't need to spend much to get the desired results.

The eight myths listed here are all past their prime. Let go of them, and you'll see your social media marketing results improve – and your business grow.