3 Reasons Small Businesses Should Avoid Social Media Marketing

Everyone knows that if you have a business you need to be on the social networks. The Internet is crammed full of articles about why you need to move onto Facebook right now or your business will instantly die. But too many small businesses make the mistake of jumping into the social media pool without carefully considering whether it’s really the right move. Here are a few reasons to avoid social media marketing that you should think about before you rush ahead.

1: It’s More Complicated Than It Looks

You know how to use Facebook and Twitter. You use them all the time, and they didn’t take you long to learn. That means you can set up and maintain the social media for your small business with no problem, right?

Not so fast.

Popular social media platforms have many more tools for businesses than they do for regular users. They’re built around it; that’s how they make their money. Those tools are always changing and being updated. You might take several months working up the perfect Facebook marketing strategy, only to find that some tiny change in the technology or the terms of use forces you to re-evaluate your entire approach.

Large businesses have the resources to devote full time personnel just to manage their social media. In fact, Social Media Director, by any other name, is one of the fastest growing positions in the business world. It’s a job that requires both time and a surprising amount of technical skill to handle all the ins and outs. If your business can’t spare or hire someone to work on social media full time, you might want to think twice before diving in.

2: Social Media Might Not Fit Your Culture

Running social media platforms for your business means constant contact with your customer base. And not just your customer base, but anyone on the Internet who finds your pages interesting. This sounds great, but is it really the best approach for your business? This opens you up to constant criticism and questions about the every aspect of your business. Every customer can voice their opinion whenever they want, and all of the other customers can see it.

One unsatisfied client with an ax to grind can air their grievances to everyone in a way that was nearly impossible before social media. If you’ve ever seen the effects on a business of a bad Yelp review, this is similar. Only it’s worse, because it is right on your platform where your customers spend their time.

It also allows your employees to represent you in a way that might not be desirable. There is a phenomenon known as the Online Disinhibition Effect, which means that people are willing to type things on a computer screen they would never say in person. Even if an employee doesn’t mean to be deliberately harmful, they might not present your brand in a desirable way once they are hiding behind their screen name. And remember, it isn’t always easy to keep ex-employees off of your media platforms.

3: There Are Better Ways To Market Your Business

Even if your social media efforts are successful and you attract tons of users, that doesn’t necessarily means you’ve generated more clients or customers. Social media is famous for false positives that don’t translate into sales. Your Facebook page might become popular simply as a discussion group for like-minded people, few of whom are directly interested in your product or service.

There are a number of demographics who barely use social media, and it’s important to find out if your base is one of them. If your customers are in an older age group, for example, your media efforts might not get returns. If you are marketing towards businesses or higher-end clients, social media often isn’t a direct way to reach them. If these seem like minor concerns, note that every minute you spend on maintaining your social network is a minute you can’t spend on other, more profitable forms of marketing.

Social media can be a wonderful marketing tool, but only if it is a good fit for your small business. There is so much hype about social media marketing these days that it can be difficult to step back and get some perspective. Make sure to keep these tips in mind when evaluating your decisions about whether to use social media as part of your marketing strategy.