10 common social media myths busted

Are comments always good for engagement? Do emojis increase impressions? From personal accounts to public organisations, rumours are spread around social media on a daily basis.

Social media management software firm Agorapulse, it seems, has decided enough is enough, and it put its data scientists to work to test these claims.

Their approach was simple: they found a myth or rumour, decided on the data needed to reach a conclusion about it, then tested it across multiple accounts and sectors. Then they analysed the data.

In a recent webinar, experienced blogger Mike Allton discussed the Agorapulse test. Here are ten revealing findings: 

1. “Negative ad comments should be left in place”

Many people believe an increase in comments leads to a higher click-through rate. The truth is that sentiment is far more critical – Facebook ads with positive comments had a 56% higher click-through rate than those with negative comments.

2. “Using a third-party publishing tool will kill your reach and engagement”

This myth remains ever-present despite social networks like Facebook publicly stating they do not oppose the use of tools like Hootsuite and Buffer. Using three established Facebook pages alongside three scheduling tools, Agorapulse found that third-party tools actually caused performance to increase by 22% compared to native posting.

3. “Reposting the same content will kill your reach and engagement”

Regularly posting fresh content is the dream for many businesses, although it is often an unavoidable necessity to intersperse evergreen content between the new pieces. While the final post for most articles achieved an average reach of 49% less than the first share, every piece saw varying levels of reach and engagement throughout the reposting cycle. This shows that sharing evergreen content regularly can result in an overall increase in reach and engagement, provided enough time is left between each cycle of sharing.

4. “Participating in Instagram pods will bring you more reach and engagement”

Instagram pods are groups of individuals who engage with every post shared by others within that pod. The aim is to increase organic engagement and improved rankings in the Instagram algorithm. The result: a 4% decrease in engagement, and a 6% increase in impressions which became statistically irrelevant when considering the simultaneous increase in followers during that period.

5. “Instagram feed ads perform better than story ads”

The logic is simple – fewer people view stories than feeds, so ads in stories would be less effective than those in a feed. Agorapulse tested this theory and found Instagram stories managed an increase of 44% in reach and 23% in conversion rate.

6. “It’s better to put Instagram hashtags in the first comment”

Posting a picture to Instagram and placing the hashtags in the comments should supposedly increase reach and engagement. The research found that the truth is the opposite – pictures with hashtags in the post outperformed those with hashtags in the comments by nearly 30%.

7. “Text-only posts on LinkedIn will perform poorly”

Text-only posts don’t perform well on other platforms, so you’d think the same would apply to LinkedIn. Based on Agorapulse’s data, text-only posts on LinkedIn had an increased reach of 1,069% compared to those with an image. It is worth noting the test did not include video posts or live videos, with the possibility that those outperform text-only content.

8. “Long posts perform better, particularly on LinkedIn”

Conventional wisdom suggests longer posts perform better on the ‘professional’ platform. Shorter posts – those under 140 characters – performed noticeably better, achieving 14% higher views per post compared to longer ones in the test.

9. “Short tweets within the original 140 characters perform best”

Twitter carved out a niche as the platform of brevity. A slight increase of 8% in impressions was found on longer tweets – those between 140-280 characters – compared to those within the original 140-character limit. The results were not statistically significant enough, however, to reach a conclusion, so Agorapulse will likely revisit the test soon to collect more data.

10. “Using emojis in tweets results in higher impressions and engagement”

Agorapulse had previously established that emojis increased engagement on Instagram posts, so it would make sense the same holds true on other platforms. The results, surprisingly, showed that tweets with emojis achieved 17% fewer impressions and 40% lower engagement.

Ben Assirati - Content Producer, Formative Content
Author:Ben Assirati - Content Producer, Formative Content