Social media has become the pop icon of the Internet. It’s sexy. It’s new. And everyone wants a piece of it.
Unfortunately, many businesses incorrectly assume that social media is like hitting the proverbial “easy button”, automatically driving droves of hungry customers straight to your doorstep.
It’s not that simple.
Yes, social media can help you grow your influence, drive traffic to your site and even generate leads. However, many businesses are quick to jump on the social media bandwagon without giving serious thought to how it fits into their overall marketing strategy.
If some of these businesses would stop for a second and take a look around, they might find that they shouldn’t be using social media in the first place.
Don’t believe me? Here are four reasons your business might want to re-think using social media.
That’s not where your customers and prospects are.
Let’s face it, although social media use continues to grow, there are still some markets and demographics that are not using the social web.
For instance, older demographics are less prevalent on social channels and tend to prefer more traditional methods of communication. And, large B2B companies may find other, better ways to reach their target audience.
If you want to use social media for your business, first do some research to make sure your target market is using these tools. You may find that social media may not be the best way to reach your particular audience.
You don’t have the resources or staff time to invest.
Although social media tools are free, your time is not. Before you dive head first into the social media waters, consider how much time it will take you or your staff to implement a social media strategy.
Chances are, it will take a lot more time than you think.
I see this all too often – businesses start blogging, tweeting and posting on Facebook, but their profiles dry up because they can’t keep up the pace of their efforts. There are social media ghost towns like this all over the web because businesses didn’t take the time to plan before they took the plunge.
There’s nothing worse than wanting to connect with a business only to find out they haven’t used their social profile in months or written a blog post within the last year. A dried-up social presence is worse than no presence at all. So, if you want to use social media, make sure you have the time to commit to it.
There are more profitable ways to market your business.
Although social media is today’s marketing darling, there are still plenty of other ways to spread the word about your business. Referral strategies, email campaigns and media outreach still work. You just don’t hear as much about them because they are not sexy or new.
Don’t forget about these tried and true techniques. Oftentimes, these efforts can outpace the results you can get through social media.
If you have a small budget or little time to dedicate to marketing, make sure that social media is the best use of your resources. You might find that other efforts will get you better results based on your time and budget.
You don’t have a culture that’s suitable for social.
As much as we’d like to think otherwise, some businesses do not have the right mindset for social media. They don’t want to open themselves up to criticism or be faced with answering tough questions from their customers or the media. And these businesses certainly wouldn’t trust the average employee to serve as a brand advocate online.
As Jay Baer says, if you don’t trust your employees to use social media, then you have a hiring problem, not a social media problem. I think he’s right. However, this is not an issue that can be easily corrected overnight.
Depending on where you are within your organization, forcing your company to use social media may be a Sisyphean task – constantly rolling the boulder up the mountain only to have it roll back down again.
So, before you make the push for social media in your company, you need to examine your culture and communication practices first. Using social media as a one-way megaphone for messages will only backfire. Unless your company understands the two-way nature of social media, it might not be the right fit for you.
Where does this leave you?
Social media can be a fantastic way to market your business, but it’s important to do your homework first. Once you do, you may find that it might not be the best strategy for you after all.
What do you think? Are there other reasons businesses should avoid social media? Or, if you disagree, let me have it! The floor is all yours.