It’s all good…right?

Why no social media is better than badly run social media.

It’s all too common for businesses to view social media channels as stand-alone pillars, when in actual fact, their customers are viewing them in conjunction with each other. All online platforms are interconnected components that make up the holistic digital presence that their customers see.

And, in not seeing this interconnectedness, brands are doing themselves a massive disservice as they are misunderstanding how their audience is interacting with their business online. Plus, they are deterring potential customers along the way.

Through working in an agency, we’ve noticed how many of our clients view digital platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Reviews (Google, Rate My Agent, etc.), LinkedIn, YouTube, and their own URLs as channels independent of each other. But in reality, a customer will likely have dozens of interactions with all of these channels before they make any sort of direct contact with the business. Potential customers aren’t choosing one channel or another to make a judgement about the business, but are viewing them in connection with each other, each platform adding to or subtracting from the credibility and trust the customer has with the business.

“Your customers will make a snap judgement about your brand based on your social media presence.”

If a business’s Facebook page is well maintained, a customer might give a nod of approval and move onto their reviews for a squiz. If impressed, they will then look at their Instagram or YouTube page. If all is looking in tip-top shape, the viewer will likely then head over to the contact page of the business’s website and get in touch.

However, if any of these pages is in poor shape, the buck will often stop there for the customer. They’ll be discouraged and look elsewhere, and the business will lose them to their competitors who have a tidier digital image.

The importance of social media in marketing is increasingly becoming more and more undeniable. It’s where brands not only reach, but also engage with their audience. But it’s not simply enough to be on these platforms – you have to put in the time and effort, too.

Your customers will make a snap judgement about your brand based on your social media presence, and if it’s poor they won’t bother giving you a second chance. If you have a Facebook page that’s unattended, my advice is to shut it down. Let your customers discover you elsewhere.

Take a plumbing business, for example. Say a customer is deciding between two companies, both with great Google reviews, and one has a badly tended-to Facebook page while the other is off social media altogether. They are more likely to be deterred by the less-than-impressive Facebook page, lose some faith in the company, and choose the other one despite having no online presence at all.

If you have great Google reviews, you’re likely to catch some fish. With poor social media, you’re likely to lose them. It’s fair to note that having no social media is not a great marketing strategy, as this will inevitably lose customers and significantly limit your brand’s awareness and reach. But it’s a better option than having social media channels that will leave your audience unimpressed and turning towards someone else.

So, when you do have the resources to take your business online across social media platforms, you need to ensure they’re regularly updated, you’re providing fresh and compelling content, and you’re responding to engagement. It’s simply too risky not to have it figured out when it’s the first point of contact with many of your potential customers.

If you don’t have the resources to do this, it’s better to cut the cord until you do. Simply put, it’s better to have no social media at all than to have badly run channels.

Sonja Majkic and Tamara Alaveras, Co-founders and Managing Directors, 3 Phase Marketing

This story first appeared in issue 26 of the Inside Small Business quarterly magazine.