You’ve likely seen many different articles on our blog dedicated to social media marketing for businesses. You’ve browsed these articles, considered the advice within them…maybe you even took some of what we had to say to heart! However, did you ever stop and ask yourself one important question: should I be utilizing social media marketing in the first place?
Social media marketing has the potential to benefit any and all businesses, but there’s a catch. Marketers do have to be aware of the pitfalls that come along with social media, but the fault usually lies with the user themselves — not social media in general.
The Dark Side of Social Media
There are some downsides to social media marketing. We can easily name a few out of the 50 Kissmetrics has given you on their own blog:
- Once you post something online, it’s out there. One harshly worded tweet can live in infamy because someone has taken a screenshot of the source.
- It’s sometimes all consuming. Typical users who aren’t paid to tweet and tag and post can get addicted to social media. When it’s something you actually have to do? It can become an obsession.
- Things can turn pretty quickly. There are tons of stories out there featuring businesses that just wanted to toss out a simple hashtag, but the results were more negative than they could ever expect.
- If you want to put your personal opinion out there while tying it to your business accounts? You may be in for a social media storm, no matter what side of an issue you’re on.
You may notice something here…perhaps a trend. In two of these four examples, the user was indeed at fault. Posting personal opinions on business accounts and sending out messages before truly thinking are the onus of the person posting things. In some ways, social media can lead to problems that are beyond the user’s control, but oftentimes the negativity associated with social posting comes straight from the source.
The most common argument against social media is one that’s been popularized since the social trend began: “haters” or “trolls,” depending on which slang term you prefer. Businesses aren’t without their own share of endless criticisms on social media, and this is sometimes the price that must be paid for marketing in public forums.
Can Social Media Kill a Business?
No, social media can’t kill a business — but its marketers can. We dug through the Internet archives to pull up this ancient HubSpot ad from July 20th, 2010: 7 Reasons Social Media Is Bad for Marketing.
At the time, social media as a marketing platform was still something we all weren’t quite sure about. Social media became popularized as a business tool a couple of years later and has grown as a trend since. Now social media marketing is essentially an industry standard.
Still, let’s take a look at a few of the reasons listed:
- Focus on the Wrong Metrics — This article in question assumes that the marketer in question is looking to increase a follower account, not actively upgrade their ROI. We now know how to increase visibility and earn more leads on social media through valuable means.
- Time Isn’t Free — Social media is a pretty big time sink, but it’s one that can be worth it. New tools make it easier than ever to make social media management fast and easy, and marketers only invest as much time into social media as they allow themselves to.
- Online Gluttony — The article in question suggests that focusing most or all of your attention on online marketing is a bad idea. In a modern context, the opposite is actually true for most businesses: what’s the point in an ecommerce brand investing 50/50 in both offline and online marketing sources?
You can view the four other reasons on your own and examine whether or not they’re still valid today for yourself. Businesses have changed, and social media marketing is here to stay. It will never damage your business irreparably — but how you choose to use social media might.
Looking for more ideas when it comes to social media? Check out these new trends and how they can translate to business marketing.