Too many of today's business owners blindly follow the advice they find on social media. Just because a supposed thought leader shares something, they assume it must be true. They don't take the time to carefully examine the information they're being fed, to understand whether a claim is valid or a half-baked marketing myth that doesn't hold up under scrutiny. If you want to become a more intelligent business professional in 2018, following are five marketing myths should accept aren't true.

1. Consumers Enjoy Reading Your Content Marketing Posts

No, consumers do not enjoy reading your content marketing posts. They read your content to find answers to their questions. If your content isn't helpful, it doesn't matter how talented your content marketing team is or how many fancy graphs you embed in your content. Before your team creates a piece of material, hits the "publish" button, or shares your latest post on social media, ask yourself if your content marketing is beneficial to your target market.

2. Social Media Engagement Equals Increased Sales

Speaking of social media, another marketing myth you need to let go of is that social media engagement equals increased sales. Social media has turned brands into attention mongers who pride themselves on vanity metrics like follower counts or retweet counts. You can enjoy fabulous engagement on social media, but if your followers aren't buying your products/services, it all means squat in the long run. Engagement doesn't pay your employees, and it won't purchase new products. Only revenue in your cash register will keep your business' lights on. Stop chasing engagement on social media and instead focus on building close connections with consumers who aren't afraid to show loyalty to your brand with their wallets.

3. Customers Follow You on Social Media Because They Like Your Products

Customers follow your brand on social media because of the way you make them feel. You can have mediocre products and still build a large following on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Don't believe the myth that your audience on social media is there because of the products or services you offer. They follow you because of the way they feel when they read your posts or see the images you share. Focus on making your audience feel an emotion with your social media marketing and your brand will continue to grow an engaged following.

4. SEO Doesn't Matter Anymore

Do a quick Google search for the term "SEO is dead" and you'll be met with a myriad of posts decrying the end of search engine optimization. The opposite is true. SEO matters more than ever thanks to voice-enabled searches and decreasing attention spans. If your business isn't investing in search engine optimization, you're going to be overtaken by competitors smart enough to realize that SEO isn't dead and is essential to their business' long-term survival.

5. Google+ is Dead

Just as the "SEO is dead" claim is a myth, so too is the "Google+ is dead" myth. While Google+ may not enjoy the audience numbers that Facebook does, it is anything but dead as an audience engagement platform. Google+ communities are alive and thriving. Search for a community relevant to your target audience, and you'll find recent posts from community members who understand the potential of connecting with niche-specific engaged audiences ( Regardless of your business sector, there's a good chance you'll find a Google+ community with whom you can network. While the audience numbers might be more abundant on a platform like Facebook, the chances of engagement are likely higher on Google+.

Just because something is repeated on social media or touted by so-called thought leaders, that doesn't mean it is true. Understanding which marketing claims are truthful and which are myths can have a significant impact on your ability to grow your company. Let go of these five marketing myths, and you'll have a better chance of successfully growing your company.

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