More than 1.39 billion monthly users are active on Facebook.
Around 350,000 tweets are sent out every minute.
More than 1 billion boards have been created on Pinterest.
Around 70 billion photos are shared through the Instagram app every day.
One in three professionals on this planet is on LinkedIn.
The explosive rise of social networks has transformed customers from passive onlookers with minimal control to powerful influencers with minimal tolerance for disruptive marketing techniques. Today, brands have to earn the love, respect and support of their audience by being sincere, self-effacing, stimulating, solicitous and satisfying.
Given the prominence and prevalence of social media, brands are forced to “go where their customers go” in order to educate, entertain and engage them.
The good news? Social media is a proven cost-effective marketing conduit.
The bad news? When done wrong, social media can severely taint your reach and reputation.
Yes, despite its dominance, social media is not for everyone. Following are five (+1) reasons why you shouldn’t be on social media:
1. You want instant gratification
“The obsession with instant gratification blinds us from our long-term potential” – Michael Dooley
Given the ease with which you can setup social media accounts, an understandable assumption is that you will achieve instantaneous results.
However, just like plants won’t blossom from seeds sown the previous day, you can’t create an account and expect to reap immediate rewards.
Although emptying one’s wallet is not necessary to succeed on social networks, you do need to be present, passionate, patient and perseverant for customers to interact enthusiastically with you.
But what about viral content?
Unfortunately, virality is an aberration rather than the norm. Even if achieving instant popularity, you have to continue proving your worth in order to enjoy a sustainable social presence.
If you are not in for the long-haul, do not be on social media.
2. You want to have a monologue, not a dialogue
“What we really need is a mindset shift that will make us relevant to today’s consumers, a mindset shift from ‘telling & selling’ to building relationships.” – Jim Stengel
“I want to connect with Mr. X to pitch our services. Which social media platform will work best for me?”
One of our team members was asked this question by someone who will probably not succeed on social media because of his “salesman mindset.”
While the goal of social media marketing is to sell, social media is not a sales tool. It is a relationship-building tool. The more you care about your customer, the more your customer will care about you.
No one likes to be sold – or spammed by sales pitches – on social media. Even the big brands are not immune to the negative side effects of self-promotion. Your clients or customers need to give you the permission to sell, which is only possible if you focus on offering valuable content on a regular basis.
If you are solely focused on “closing deals,” stay away before you are sorry.
3. You want to collect numbers, not create relationships
“Getting the Like is easy. It’s a light action. Anything else requires trust.” – Jon Loomer
Number of Likes, Number of Tweets, Number of Plus Ones.
These are just vanity metrics that serve no other purpose than to ignite your insecurity.
When you see a competitor achieving more “numbers’”than you, it’s easy to lose sight of your brand’s purpose and take short cuts to achieve “popularity.” Alas, such impulsiveness WILL backfire.
Because value always outdoes vanity on social media.
Focus on building an interactive, inspiring and interesting community around your cause. Your diligence will be rewarded in the form of loyal brand advocates who will seek, savor, support and share your services.
But if you are vulnerable to banal metrics, social media is not for you.
4. You want to hide behind your business
“Use of technology makes being discoverable part of our normal.” – Jessica Dewell
Blue heads have no place on social media. In order to be a well-respected “social” brand, you need to show your face and divulge your dreams.
As a business owner, you have a unique story that shaped your entrepreneurial adventure. Invite your audience into your world. Nothing makes your customers feel more special than your hopeful humility and heartfelt honesty.
If you are uncomfortable with such transparency, social media might not be the best bet to grow your brand.
5. You want to hop on the latest trend
“Don’t follow a trend. Follow your heart.” – Krist Novoselic
Social media changes on a daily basis. Its dynamism can seduce you to continuously chase the “next best formula.”
But hopping from one trend to another never pays off. Your lack of focus will lead to inconsistent branding and irate customers.
A successful social presence is backed by a resilient strategy which is, in turn, driven by your clarity around your business and buyer personas.
Do experiment with other tactics, but do not give up your long-term objectives in the pursuit of short-term sales spikes!
If you are a fad-addict, do not embrace social media.
Bonus Reason: You want to ‘fix’ your business
“Quality is not an act, it is a habit” – Aristotle
Peddling a poor-quality product or service has the potential to start a wildfire of criticism on social media.
Rather than hiding or “fixing” your scars, au contraire, social platforms will expose your lies.
If you are unsure about the quality of your services, remedy them offline before jumping online.
Social media is not for everyone – and that’s fine.
Businesses have flourished before the advent of social media and will continue to flourish after its demise!
However, if you do choose to craft a social presence, remember that there is no place for self-interest on these platforms. Take marketing maven Ann Handley’s advice and “make your customers the heroes of your story.”
How do you perceive social media? Your comments are much appreciated.