Digital Insights

Is Social Media a Waste of Time and Money?


Published: April 2, 2013

There has been a lot of hype surrounding the effectiveness of social media, but many business owners are still wondering whether or not it’s a waste of time and money. The reality is that some businesses are doing incredibly well with social media but some are just not seeing any returns from using it. It all really boils down to the type of business, the social media platform, and the strategy that is being used.

Businesses that already have a big audience for their blog will greatly benefit from social media. Social media allows them to get their message delivered to the platform of the reader’s choice, resulting in more presence and awareness. They also do not have to face the challenge of building an audience from scratch that a lot of businesses without an established audience have.

Local B –to-C – businesses are also benefiting from sites like Facebook and Foursquare. Both of these sites offer many ways for consumers to find new local businesses and get more information about them. As a matter of fact, Foursquare rewards consumers for using their service and sharing which business establishments they’ve recently visited. That’s why these two sites are valuable social media platforms for local businesses.

B-to-B – businesses seem to have trouble monetizing their efforts from sites such as Facebook and Twitter. It seems that these businesses are not getting the engagement they were originally seeking. However, this problem seems to be more attributed to the fact that it’s hard to find the right audience within these social platforms. Many B-to-B businesses are reporting that they are doing well with more business oriented networks such as LinkedIn and Google+.

As a counterpoint, some businesses feel that social media is a waste of time because they are not seeing immediate returns. However, social media is more of a long term strategy. Businesses need to understand that they need to start with leads, cultivate relationships and slowly move them down a customer path. There are very few businesses that report rapid growth with social media.

Social media seems to result in a higher ROI when used in conjunction with SEO. Social media has a direct impact on search rankings and makes it easy to get exposure for content, which results in incoming links. Google+ in particular may have plans to help publishers with high quality content rank higher in the search results through various means.

Overall, social media is not a great strategy for businesses looking for short term results. It works best in a long term strategy and when used in conjunction with SEO. Businesses also need to use the correct social media platforms for their business type and industry. The bottom line is that social media can either be a valuable asset or a waste of time and money depending on how it I used.