Just like the Internet is changing business, social media is also changing business and creating new businesses. Social Media is a part of the Internet revolution and the hot darling of the internet world right now, but seriously, it is not for everybody.
You should reconsider jumping into social media if your business suffers from any of these symptoms:
1. You have a terrible business.
If you have a bad product, bad service, and unhappy customers, then you have bigger problems to solve. If you get into social media without already having happy customers, it would like shooting yourself in the face. Having social media will not save your business if it is a sinking ship. In fact, if you have a big problem with unhappy employees and customers, social media will only amplify their effects. You would be better off focusing your energy on fixing the problems with your business before you even touch social media.
2. You have a bad website or none at all.
There is an order of priority, and social media falls below a website. A website falls below good products/services and business plan. Focus on the basics before going all out on social media.
3. You have no time or resources to invest.
There are a lot of people who think social media is a great way to broadcast to people for free. If this is your way of thinking then you need to step back and think again. Social media is free just like a puppy is free. Social media is a powerful tool, but it takes time and energy to do it right and make it work for you. And thus, it won’t be completely free. Likewise, you should not leave social media in the hands of someone unexperienced and uninvested in your business. Social media is powerful, and in inexperienced hands it is dangerous. If you think of your business as your child, then putting social media in the hands of someone unexperienced and uninvested would be as responsible as giving that child a handgun.
4. You are not open and transparent.
Social media is about conversation and it comes with unfettered criticism, so if you do not take this type of feedback well then you need stay away from social media until you are ready to listen and engage with others. If you do not like to open yourself up to criticism and are not ready to openly communicate with customers (happy and unhappy) and potential customers, then you should stay away from social media. If you don’t have anything to say, and you are not interested in listening either, then you are not well-suited for social media. Not every business has the right culture for social media.
5. You and your organization do not like to interface with customers.
At the center of your social media operation should be someone who is very customer-centric. If you don’t like to hear from your customers and potential customers then you should find someone who does to operate your social media tools. If that isn’t possible, then your priority should be to find someone who is good at dealing with customers before you dive into social media.
6. You do not have a solid understanding of how social media works.
If you don’t know how Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn work, then you need to take some time to learn the basics before diving in. There are legal and brand risks to using social media, and every social network has its own Terms of Service. These terms of service can also change on you pretty often. To deal in social media is to keep up with all these changes that might affect your business. It pays to do your homework.
7. There are more profitable ways to market your business.
Just because something is in fashion doesn’t mean that it will work right for you. You don’t have to always be doing what’s new and sexy to run a good business. The internet and social media is changing the way business is done, so it does pay to keep an eye out for it and try to learn a few things, but there are plenty of other ways to market your business that are tried and true.
Social media isn’t going away, so it should be considered in your business, but good business fundamentals are more important. If you don’t have the right fundamentals, social media isn’t going to help you. In fact, it can probably help bury you faster. In the end, social media is an extension or outpost of your business, not the core.