Companies and people build websites for different reasons, but the main objective is marketing. You either market your brand or products and services. Very few websites are there for just information and if they are, income is usually generated from AdSense and similar products.
I think the most important question any business should ask is, if social media will benefit their marketing strategy and increase sales (or increase traffic).
The answer is not that simple actually. Sometimes it will work and provide excellent ROI and there are cases where social media is just a waste of time.
If your business is based on retail, then social media is more likely to succeed than if it is based on B2B (business to business). The simple fact is that most products that people buy are not sociable products. By that I mean people don’t share which washing powder they bought with each other, but they will share the fact that they bought the latest cell phone or tablet. Note, that I am not talking about newsworthy articles or blogs. I’m talking about physical products. If your company is in the market for retail inventions, yes, then social media can help the initial spread of the word, but as soon as the fade is gone your FB page will become a dribble in terms of visits. So your product life cycle will become crucial to keep the momentum going.
What can social media be used for?
Most social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr etc. are used to achieve the following:
- Increase traffic to your website
- Increase brand awareness
- Increase product awareness
- Increase network opportunities
- Interact with potential and current customers
- Do market research
- Horizontal marketing
- Build loyalty
There are many others but these are just some important ones. But in all these activities one should always remember that social media is NOT FREE. Yes, I know FB and Twitter is free, but your time managing it is not free. Social media can take up huge amounts of time if you are not careful and in some cases it has caused the downfall of some companies due to too much exposure. Yes, too much exposure. Someone might pick up the fact that your diet mix contains some illegal substance to their opinion, you will then have to reveal all your secret suppliers in order to refute what they are saying. I know of a case that a company could not do that, and that caused so much damage to the brand they had to close. there was nothing wrong with their product, it was just a misinterpretation and some clever wording by the journalist that caused the hoo-ha.
So consider how much time you have available and know that it will have to increase as your company grows. What is the cost of your time and the benefit in terms of sales compared to spending more time in sales or other marketing strategies?
If people are not talking a lot about your product, why have a Facebook page. I have found that organizations like religion, politics etc. have live social media pages but companies selling stainless steel rolls have nothing to say in Facebook or Twitter. They will be much better off advertising and discussing their products on LinkedIn.
If you want to advertise on social media platforms that will be a totally different story. That is similar to marketing, just it’s digital. Do not get mixed up with the two; digital marketing and being active on social media. Digital marketing are products such as AdWords, Facebook ads etc. (Again don’t get confused with Facebook ads and Facebook posts, posts are free, ads can get very expensive as you pay per click).
So in the end there are a lot of things to consider before embarking on a long term social media strategy. Do some market research on your competition and similar products or services that you offer and evaluate if they are active and if the activity is paying off. If not, don’t just walk away, there might be an opportunity.
Consider also if you have the personality and interest in being socially active on these sites. Nothing can be so detrimental to your company image that a two-year-old post sitting on Facebook and nothing further happened. This applies to Twitter and all other platforms. You have to post and be active at least once week to keep the attention of customers.
Well I hope that this article helped in putting the effectiveness of social media into perspective and that it is not a clear-cut decision to make.