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Write Right

A blog for start-ups, small businesses and professional service providers.

 

5 Reasons NOT to Use Social Media for your Business

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These days...

it's not uncommon to find a social media page or profile for just about any business you encounter. After all, building up a solid online presence is important (and advisable!) no matter your size or industry. In addition to a company website and blog, social media can help you accomplish that. So...you have to make business pages on social media, right? Not exactly.

In fact, I'd advise against using social media for your business if any of the 5 items below sound familiar to you.

1. You don't have goals and a strategy. Social media will likely end up being a waste of time if you don’t have a strategy for how you’re using it. Having social media pages doesn’t make you unique - having well thought out pages that serve a purpose, does. The reality is that many business pages are plagued by irregular posting, overly “sales-y” posts, bad graphics and a host of other issues. Even if your goal is simply "to build online presence”, you still need a strategy to back it up. How do you even define "online presence"? What does an online presence look like in your industry, done well? Who is your audience? Where does that audience hang out online? Start digging into these questions before you build that Facebook page.  

2. You're posting the exact same things on every platform. This goes hand-in-hand with #1. You need big-picture strategy, yes, but you also need to be clear on why you're on the platforms you're on. If you have business pages on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter- don't just post the exact same things on each site every time you post. They all have different strengths - so take advantage of that! If you're selling a product that's very visual, have a heyday on Pinterest or Instagram. Those platforms likely aren't as good a match for a business offering financial services. Again - what are you trying to achieve? Where do your potential clients spend their time? Based on that, which platform(s) make the most sense?

3. You don't have the time to manage it. This is a big one and it's a necessary consideration, especially for small businesses. Social media is time consuming. Are you prepared to devise and maintain a content calendar for regularly posting interesting, relevant content? Can you react in real-time to important issues in your industry and share them with your followers? Will you be able to respond to angry comments or bad reviews? At it's core, social media is all about connecting with people. If you or someone on your team doesn't have time to do that, it will not serve you well - and may even have negative consequences. If you're worried about time, think back to your goals and your target audience. Consider the strengths of various platforms, and just pick one to focus on. At least at first! 

4. You don't really know how to use it. I'm not talking about strategy or goals here - I'm talking about set up and daily use. Social media platforms offer fantastic opportunities to create high-quality, professional pages that reinforce your image to potential clients, customers and followers. If you have or want to create a page for your business on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest - you need to know how to make it look good. Most of these platforms allow you to add your logo, a header, pictures, text and video clips. Every visual you upload - whether it's a header or part of a post - should be crisp and clear! Free tutorials and tools exist to help you with this (like Canva) - use them and make sure everything you share looks sharp and professional. And don't forget to edit your post-writing for typos!

5. You're impatient. Unless you've just been featured on Oprah or Shark Tank, "build it and they will come" doesn't exactly apply to social media. It will take strategy, time and effort to gain a following on social media. It also involves some trial and error - figuring out what really resonates with your audience vs. what falls flat. That doesn't mean you can't reap some benefits fairly quickly - but it depends on your consideration of the items above. If you devise a Twitter strategy to boost PR for a product launch, you've designed a beautiful page with sharp graphics, built a schedule for posting and started tweeting your content - you've already successfully boosted your online presence. Everything else only comes with time and persistence. And maybe some advertising dollars!

When used correctly, social media can be a powerful tool for your business. But if you don't have strategy, time, expertise and patience, it might do you more harm than good. If a potential client Googles you, hopefully they find your (fantastic, helpful, professional-looking, typo-free) website. But will they also find your dusty old Facebook page with fuzzy graphics, no posts since 2013 and a couple bad reviews that you never had the time to respond to? When someone searches for or connects with your business online, they should find only high-quality pages of content with a consistent look and feel - all of which clearly demonstrate the value you provide when they hire you.