I’m not a fan of Social Media. Is it realistic these days to succeed without it?
That’s not an uncommon view and the answer is “It depends”
It seems to be a general truism that the younger people are, (and this even applies to clients in Marketing Departments and Business Owners, irrespective of whether they shouldn’t really be swayed by personal motives) then the more positive they are about Social Media.
Consequently, many older clients, let’s say, post 45 years of age, are positively anti-Social (even if they are sociable in real life – you know what we mean!)
This can be simply down to not liking everything in the world seemingly being owned by huge American corporations, not liking lots of personal information being in the public domain, being short of time or simply not being fans of sharing pictures of their latest lunch or day at the seaside. I certainly share a few of these traits.
There are also good business reasons for being a bit anti.
- Its time consuming and or expensive to participate properly and effectively in Social Channels (although not as expensive as you might think if you use a good agency).
- As open participative channels, they represent an easy route for customers to express dissatisfaction with your services. This is for all the world to see and won’t always be a fair reflection of the business, yet it’s hard to counter. Although again, a good agency can turn even these negatives neutral or into a positive depending on how responses are handled.
- In a like vein, competitors can also try and use the channels against you by masquerading as customers – it’s illegal in the UK, but does happen.
It’s tempting then to give Social Media a wide berth but is that a good decision?
In most cases, we would argue it’s not a great plan, for the simple reason that the more routes prospective customers have to find you, the better. Especially as increasingly most of us are not loyal to a single media channel all the time.
In the early days of Social Media, the channels were deeply indexed by search engines and data was even shared. This made them an important part of the algorithms determining where a business sits in search engine rankings.
Whilst those days are mostly long gone (the sharing bit) for the simple reason that the Social giants and the Search engines now tend to compete for the same advertiser dollars, the engines are still pretty good at picking up on trends and things that are cool.
So in simple terms having an effective social presence can still influence your business’s prominence in search results and for this reason, whether you like social media or not, it’s worth doing something.
By carefully planning what you do and how you do it, it is also possible to minimise effort and/or cost and reduce or remove completely the ability for anyone to damage your brand or reputation amongst clients and prospects.
For most businesses then we do recommend some element of social presence. It’s particularly important for completely new businesses as in some sectors it’s impossible to imagine how, say, a new idea, will ever get off the ground in the modern world without some element of a loyal following and this is best attracted socially or via channels such as peer to peer funding. Marketing alone would prove to be simply too expensive to have a hope of major success hence why it’s normally only rich venture capital-backed businesses that try and create wholly new market space.