Just when is it wrong for an SME to use social media?
Social Media Marketing is not always right for your business!
Many marketers will tell you that social media is the new Holy Grail of marketing, that businesses must now consider social media as part of an integrated approach to their marketing.
This is often not the case.
Although it should definitely be considered. It isn’t always the right route to take.
As it’s a relatively new medium when compared to more traditional methods of marketing, many people wonder where and when to jump in. And, just as importantly, how to keep their heads above water if they do join the social flood.
Done well, social media can build loyalty with your customers and expose your brand to potential new clients who might not have interacted with you otherwise.
Done badly, it can alienate your consumers – both existing and potential – and have a hugely adverse effect on your brand.
Done badly, social media can become anti-social media.
So when is it wrong for an SME to use social media?
Amongst the myriad organisations and articles out there advocating the unequivocal use of social media, it can be alarmingly hard to find any impartial advice on the subject – usually because the author of the article you’re reading is trying to convince you to spend money with them.
This article however, takes a look at the occasions when, and reasons that, social media marketing might not be right for you.
To begin with, the correct use of social media takes time. Many people will tell you, ‘social media is great because it’s free’.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
As a sole trader, or the owner of an SME, there are few things that are more valuable to you (and your staff) than time.
Creating an effective social media presence takes time, and lots of it. You need to identify your audience, discover which social platforms they use – if any: believe it or not, some demographics still don’t use social media regularly enough to make marketing to them on it worthwhile – and make sure you target them using a voice consistent with both your brand image and how your audience wants to be spoken to.
The time for this can be a commodity that’s a) hard to come by and b) you pay your staff to do whilst they aren’t able to carry out their actual jobs – costing you money.
In addition to this, contrary to popular belief, social media doesn’t work for every type of business.
If, for example, your products are chemical diaphragm seals, no-one is likely to ‘like’ and ‘share’ a picture of one – or even know what one is unless they are from your very niche target market. And creating masses of interesting content or ‘viral’ videos will take time you don’t have. You might be better advised to explore more traditional methods of marketing for your business.
Traditional methods of marketing are generally understood by all. Social media on the other hand, some people just don’t get.
If you’re one of these people, the likelihood is that you’ll misuse your social media account in one of three ways:
You’ll go on the wrong platform.
Let your profile(s) gather dust as your time and enthusiasm wanes.
Or, if you’re really unlucky, you could fall prey to one of the cataclysmic faux pas that will see you really damage your brand.
If you can’t work out and explain to yourself where you will find the ROI from your prospective social media presence, it probably isn’t for you right now.
We’re absolutely not saying that social media marketing doesn’t work, in many cases it definitely does.
However, we are saying that it doesn’t work for everyone or in every situation. As with every business decision you make, base your decision on fact, not conjecture.
Before you take the plunge, make sure you’re armed with all the right information to make sure that social media will work for you.