Social Media Is Not for Every Business

One of the most popular questions I get from businesses (both big and small) is, “How can I optimize social media?” The answer, unfortunately, is that social media is not a one-size-fits-all approach.

If you’re in a visual business, Instagram is a great way to spread the love. From landscape designers to chefs, hair salons to dog walkers, Instagram gives you the opportunity to generate a visual connection to your business. If you use a hashtag, you can attract more followers if they see your post and like it. And you can post to Instagram and have it post to Facebook — saving a few steps along the way.

The same reasons for using Instagram could be said for Pinterest — although since “pins” are grouped by category, your image will appear with those of your competitors and the world at large. That means it’s a little harder to stand out in the crowd, although there have been some instances of businesses that have done extremely well using this medium exclusively.

Most importantly, your content, regardless of social media channel, must be RELEVANT to your business … and you must MONITOR and respond to feedback. Many businesses don’t seem to have the time or wherewithal required to respond to customer feedback, and that can make matters worse. Customer complaints need to be dealt with swiftly to demonstrate that you really care about your customers.

So think carefully about your businesses role in social media. And then decide if you’re really ready to take the plunge, because if you don’t invest both time and attention, it can spiral out of control and actually do more harm than good to your brand.

Author: Carolyn Goodman

A blog that challenges B-to-B marketers to learn, share, question, and focus on getting it right—the first time. Carolyn Goodman is President/Creative Director of Goodman Marketing Partners. An award-winning creative director, writer and in-demand speaker, Carolyn has spent her 30-year career helping both B-to-B and B-to-C clients cut through business challenges in order to deliver strategically sound, creatively brilliant marketing solutions that deliver on program objectives. To keep her mind sharp, Carolyn can be found most evenings in the boxing ring, practicing various combinations. You can find her at the Goodman Marketing website, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @CarolynGoodman.

21 thoughts on “Social Media Is Not for Every Business”

  1. “The answer, unfortunately, is that social media is not a one-size-fits-all approach.”

    Absolutely incorrect. Technically, if you currently build in HTML5 & CSS3, your desktop website will work mobily and vice versa. Personnel wise, you need the right person, on the right platform. Not every platform links to another but most do. Now, if you do that, and, keep your content fresh you can now use analytical apps to help you decide where to invest or maximise your social ROI. I’m not saying that’s easy or simple however just like the $500M lotto…you can’t win if you don’t play.

    1. Sorry Brian, but I think you missed my point. Despite the technological ease of using these media channels, not every business should feel compelled to use social media as there will not be that pay-out that you mention. Like any medium, you should ensure it is a strategically appropriate choice and you can make a business case for how it will pay off.

      I find it hard to believe that the ROI is available for every company that invests, and I’ve recommended to several clients that they stop wasting their time just because it exists and they can participate.

      1. I kind of agree with Carolyn. As a staffing company we definitely see more turnout on some platforms than others. I just learned the other day some companies use tumblr as a platform for marketing but I cant image using this for our company, then i saw pinterest on this article, another thing i cant imagine benefiting us.

        1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

          As a staffing company, I would assume your goals are to generate awareness of your brand’s existence, and then keep awareness top of mind when an organization needs staffing help. It’s most likely that those decision makers are not trolling Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr or Instagram when in the mindset of hiring temporary support staff.

          That said, you probably already know they are on LinkedIn… so that’s a social media platform that might make the most sense for your business. So keep that content flowing on this social platform and you’re sure to attract the right audience.

  2. I agree with Carolyn. As she writes — on page 2, admittedly — if you don’t plant and grow and nurture social media, it doesn’t fit at all. Many business owners think they must do social. But they are absolutely NOT interested in writing the posts, posting the content, checking the sites, responding to messages and doing it all as a matter of course and business. And they don’t want to take the time, have a staffer do the work or — god forbid — pay (!) for a consultant to do it. I appreciate your Rx, Brian, about how it can and should be created and managed. But, as you say, it’s not easy or simple. And given what I see in small business, most of them don’t really want to and simply can’t “play.” Not to that degree. So we need to figure out what they can and will do. Maybe one platform can work. Great. Start there. And we need to not make them feel totally inadequate and stupid as they slowly make their way to the “on ramp” if they do, at all.

  3. Umm..I’m ok with that. You can’t analyze or test what you don’t try. I see the problem as there are just too many platforms..what like 2-300. The big boys, FB, twitter, snapchat instagram …that’s enough or even just one.

    We all agree content is king. And mobile is the future and the future is now. It even upsets me sometimes how many people I see walking while staring and tapping into some mobile device for some reason rather than watching where they’re walking…lol

    Nothing worth having comes easy. Just like NASCAR it’s test, and tune and test and tune….race day is always a gamble because there are others doing the exact same thing, they’ve simply got some “sperience” as the saying goes.

  4. As a staffing company it is really tough to get people to share our content on any social media besides our own office employees.

    We have the industrial side who dont care or use social media much if at all, then we have the clerical side which does use social media but im guessing may care too much about what they share to uphold an image or maybe what we post just doesnt relate to what people they know may utilize (such as interview,cv,etc advice).

    Ive done research on our biggest competitors and even they dont have many likes/shares for how big and well known they are.

  5. You’re absolutely right. Too many business owners don’t actually know what problem they’re trying to solve. Drive more retail traffic? Drive more web visits? Convert more trialists to buyers? Upsell more? Cross sell more? Increase average purchase size? Each one of these challenges requires a different set of marketing strategies and tactics. Thinking social media is a “must have” investment that can solve these problems is simply naive.

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