Why your business shouldn’t be using social media marketing

Social Media Marketing PlymouthI’ve worked as the social media marketing manager for a number of national retailers in the UK and Digital Marketing Manager for national and international retailers that used social media marketing in their marketing efforts. I’ve also written a social media marketing book and worked with a number of clients, managing their social media marketing, so it may be surprising to see that I’ve written a blog post entitled ‘Why your business shouldn’t be using social media marketing.’

Before I got into more detail, this article isn’t going to tell you that no business should be using social media in their marketing strategy, and it isn’t going to tell you that there is no value in social media marketing. This article will explain to you that at this present moment, social media marketing may not be right for your business. It may be suitable down the line, but it may not be right now. To explain this, I’m firstly going to cover a few social media marketing myths.

Myth 1: If you’re not active on social media, you’re definitely missing out on customers

Well, this one isn’t 100% a myth, but it is often over emphasised. Yes, if you have a proven business model and people want to buy your product or service, it’s very likely that there are customers on social media. However, if your resources are tight, there are more effective ways to reach customers.

Social media is about communication and browsing. Sure, people ask for recommendations, and statistics have shown that this is a growing trend, but before putting your efforts into social media marketing, check to see that you have exhausted the ‘easy’ acquisition first. The ‘easy’ acquisitions are those people who are currently in the market for your product and actively looking for your product. Yes, you may be found by these people on Facebook, but if getting on Facebook means taking valuable resources away from improving your search engine marketing, then really think about the implications.

Myth 2: Social media marketing is free

Yes, it’s free to post to Facebook, Twitter and alike, and when you have a following, you can continue to reach these people. It can be a very cost-effective way of retaining your position it the consumer mind. However, time is money. If you pay an agency or employee to post on Facebook, you are paying for their time. If you are posting yourself, you’re taking time that could be used elsewhere. Be sure to consider whether the time is best spent on Facebook or elsewhere.

Myth 3: It’s best to post every day

Facebook changes its algorithm every so often, and many recent changes have been big changes. However, the general theme is this:

If someone ignores your posts, they’re less likely to see future posts. If someone engages with your posts, they’re more likely to see future posts.

Many businesses feel like they should post every day, but in reality, if you don’t have something worth saying, don’t say anything. Sure, if you have interesting and engaging things to say every day, then great, but if you post terrible content, then the more you post, the more your potential to reach your followers is damaged.

Is social media marketing for you?

Before deciding to invest more time in social media marketing, think about whether you have the ability to create engaging content. If you’ve already started creating content, look at the metrics (likes, comments, shares) and see what percentage of your audience is engaging. If the engagement level is generally high, then great. If not, then you’ll need to either outsource your social, or stop as it’s likely to be a waste of time and money.

Also, consider this: If your product or service is purchased repeatedly (for example, you run an e-commerce business), then the value of a like or follow on social media is likely to be higher as it can increase the customer lifetime value (LTV). However if your product is a one-off purchase, or a purchase every 20 to 30 years, then is it worth the investment? It may be, but it may not be- that is for you to work out. There could be value in friend recommendation, but there may be more value into putting that time into creating a high quality and effective referral program.

Possibly the biggest consideration is this: If your customers are looking for you on Google, and you aren’t ranking top for the keywords they are searching, then there is space for improvement on Google. If Google is going to provide you with more sales for less work and investment, then put your time and money there. If Facebook provides you with more leads or sales with less work, then use Facebook. My point from this article is this: Don’t just assume that just because everyone else is using social media marketing that it is the best way for you to spend your time and money, rather, consider where the best ROI is, and if you have exhausted that channel. Sure, social media marketing is great for the long term, and I’m an advocate for a holistic approach, but when resources are tight, consider where the easy wins are, and put your efforts into those channels.


About the Author

Patrick is a digital marketing consultant with around 10 years' experience, covering SEO, PPC, social media, email and user experience.

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