When should businesses get off social media?

Businesses that inappropriately use social media don’t get the results – putting some energy into learning how to make it work for business is vital for success.

The conversation around small business for almost a decade now has been “you have to be on social media.” For many businesses in the past and right now, social media plays a substantial role in raising awareness of the business, engaging with customers and promoting specific products and services. It’s not a marketing silver bullet in all cases.

In fact, many businesses spend a lot of their time and energy and more recently money, to go social but are not achieving results for their business. Most of the time, it’s not the channel that’s the problem. It’s the appropriateness of what businesses are doing or would like to be doing on social media.

For social media to be effective you need to understand how it works, have a strategy that’s appropriate for you and your customers, and then, dedicate the appropriate resources to pull it off. So to answer the big question of “Do I stay?” or “Should I go here?” are my suggestions for when to leave:

1. You don’t know how it works and don’t want to learn.

Businesses that inappropriately use social media don’t get the results. Putting some energy into learning how to make it work for business is vital for success.

2. You don’t have a strategy or a plan for what to do, when, how or why!

Without an intent or clarity about your online brand and how social media fits in with your marketing mix, it can zap your resources without returning results. In these situations, perhaps your energies are better directed to other marketing activities. Getting clear on which medium you will participate in, how you will participate and how often, is key to maximising your social media potential.

3. Your customers are not on the platform

So many are on social media that we often just make the assumption that customers or potential customers are also participating. They may not and so social media will not be as effective for your business as for some other businesses. It is important to research your customers online and offline behaviour so you know the right way to reach them.

Ailsa Page, small-business marketing expert, AP Marketing Works

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