Social media has seemingly become the go-to marketing method among many business owners these days, and many feel it is a must have. However, like any good marketing tool, there are pros and cons. While there are a ton of articles out there detailing the reasons you need to be on board with social media, I will illustrate the opposite.
As a marketing professional I am certainly not opposed to utilizing social media (I recommend it often) but I also know that it is not the pot of marketing gold that it once was 7-10 years ago. The chances of that silly homemade video promoting your product going viral are much slimmer now than they were several years ago.
In 2004, there were 1 million Facebook users, in 2013 that number was up to 1.1 billion. So instead of being a big fish in a small pond, you will now be a small fish in the Pacific Ocean-sized social media pond. In other words, unless you are adept at using social media for marketing purposes, you may be wasting your time on it.
The following are six reasons NOT to use social media.
- Time – You have none. You’re so busy with the business at hand that you have very limited time to hop on the internet and post some pictures, articles, videos, etc. Creating good social engagement takes time to plan what you’re going to post and for what purpose. It also takes consistent activity to drive any type of significant traffic that could lead to sales. So, if you don’t have a solid 4 hours a week (at least) to commit to social media, don’t do it.
- Money – You may not have the time to commit to engaging on social media, which means you will have to pay a social media consultant to do it for you. But since you don’t have any money to do so, you decide to have one of your office staff do it. Just because you see them on Facebook during work hours does not mean they know how to use it for marketing purposes. So, if you don’t have the resources to hire a dedicated consultant or knowledgeable personnel to manage your social media, don’t do it.
- Privacy – If you’re a private person or a business that needs to keep your services/customers private, you may not have anything interesting to post about your business. Regardless of the social media site, every once in awhile your audience will want to see something interesting about you or your business in order to get to know you and not some third party posts or shares. Posting third party information will only get you so far and will never give your audience the ability to know who you are. So if you can’t post information about you or your business on occasion, don’t bother.
- You’re Better Face to Face – Social media is just another way to be, well, social. So, if you have the time to network and get to those social settings where decision makers will be, you’re better off doing that. Nothing beats face to face interaction and unless you are a 100% online business, the final sale will require face to face interaction at some point anyway. So, if you’re strong in social settings and you don’t have the time or money to have someone else manage it, then don’t bother with social media.
- Everybody’s Doing It – Creating a social media page(s) because you feel you need to otherwise you’ll be left behind is not a good enough reason to create an account. Social media is about engaging your audience in an authentic way. If you are doing it just to do it, then it will come across as fake and forced. You should want to have a social media page to engage with your audience, know their likes, dislikes, concerns and give them information of value to them. If you’re doing it just to get sales, then don’t bother.
- You’re a Specialized B2B Company – Most successful companies that use social media well are B2C (business to consumer) companies, so they are trying to reach a broad audience. If your business is highly specialized, with a defined B2B (business to business) target group, then social media may not work for you. Example, if you’re a parts supplier to the manufacturing industry, it’s unlikely that the decision makers are going to get engaged with your selfie pictures. Don’t do it.
In summary, I am not trying to bash social media, as it is a valuable tool for those that know how to use it. But like any tool, you had better know how to use it, or be willing to pay someone that does, otherwise you can be doing more harm than good.
If none of the six reasons above apply to you, then log on, post, share and tweet away.