Digital Insights

Why Social Media May Not be a Good Fit for Your Business


Published: November 24, 2014

With so many things going for it, social media seems like the perfect marketing tool for practically any business. After all, social media has been proven to boost search engine rankings, drive visitor traffic to websites, and improve customer relations – all in addition to building trust and authority by providing a forum for two-way engagement with current and prospective customers.

That all sounds fine, but the real issue is whether or not social media would be right for your business. If you can honestly say that your company would not benefit from sharing what your business is all about with the world at large, then forget about social media and find a more productive way to spend your time and company resources.

On the other hand, if you market any kind of a product or service to others, then you have a story to share which can be told effectively through social media channels.

Getting Excited About Toilet Paper
Toilet paper has got to be about the least likely candidate to succeed with social media, yet the Charmin brand has found a way to engage with its audience that is as creative as it is effective. An iPhone app called “Sit or Squat” was developed and promoted through social media that allows users to locate and rate public toilets. Parents can even search for facilities which offer baby-changing stations. Unbelievable as it sounds, this helpful app has been downloaded millions of times, and is helping consumers share and make the connection between Charmin and a better bathroom experience.

When Social Media Won’t Work
While social media has been shown to work for just about any industry or niche imaginable, it may not be the best fit for your particular situation. Some companies have been stampeded into following the crowds to social media without realizing that they probably would have been better off without it. Here are a few critical questions that need to be answered before you commit to adding social media to your marketing mix:

  • Is my target market actively involved in social media? Certain verticals and demographics are simply not actively involved in social media. Research your target market to determine if it is using social media tools before you invest. You may find that there are more effective alternatives for reaching your audience.
  • Do I have the time and resources necessary to invest in social media? While most social media platforms are free, the time required to run a basic social media campaign may be beyond your means. Even if you are able to handle content creation and social channel monitoring in-house, plan on budgeting for out-of-pocket expenses such as photography, graphics and paid advertising to increase the reach of your content. Today, Facebook is only showing your organic posts to 1-5% of your total fans and has become a pay to play platform.
  • Are there better ways to market my business? If you have a limited budget or little time to devote to your marketing, you need to make every dollar and hour count. Social media is not an overnight cure for every type of marketing ailment, and your limited resources might be better spent on something that will bring faster results.
  • Does my business have the right mindset for social media? Are you and your employees ready to face the tough questions from customers and the media? Do you have the type of employees that could be trusted to serve as online advocates for your company?

Unless you understand and embrace the idea of social media as a two-way communication vehicle, it may not be right for your company.