We have all heard that social networking is the twenty-first century way to build a brand and a business—and most of us have said it as well. However, more and more people are finding that their online marketing efforts are actually detracting from their business. If you think social networking simply is not working for you, consider the following issues.
For many businesses, social networking is an excellent fit, especially in retail and consultancy fields. However, there are areas where social networking may not be such a great fit, such in law professions, doctor’s offices, and other completely offline fields. If social media isn’t a good fit, use it for communications and branding but don’t invest a lot of time and money in it on an ongoing basis.
Are your customers on the internet?
Even if social media seems like a good fit for you, it may not be so much for your customers. If this is the case, your efforts are probably best spent elsewhere. You should keep a social networking presence if this is the case, but don’t invest a lot of time in it. There’s a good chance your audience will be on social networking sites eventually—almost everyone seems to make it eventually—and that’s when you can ramp up your efforts.
Sometimes the problem isn’t social networking, but the way that you are handling it. Are your websites well branded and business oriented? Have you talked to a logo designer or branding expert about how to make these things happen? Don’t assume that you will open a Twitter account, make a few random tweets, and see your sales double.
Are you getting enough traffic?
Sometimes the problem is that your social networking presence simply isn’t visible enough. There are ways to design your sites and other things you can do to increase traffic. If you aren’t getting enough traffic, all of your other efforts are completely wasted.
The best way to find out is to try a media silence period. This doesn’t have to be a long one. However, a day or two without social media can help you to see exactly how much time you are investing in tweeting and posting as well as what you are getting from it. You can also explore one very important thing: what you can get done offline with the computer or iPhone tucked away and how those efforts pay off. You may find that only one or two sites are working for you, which will allow you to focus your efforts where they will reap rewards.
We aren’t saying that you should neglect social media altogether. In many cases, websites such as Twitter and Facebook are where your clients are located and thus where you should be as well. However, you cannot let social networking cost more than it pays—in time, effort, or actual money. Finding this happy medium will be a challenge, but it is one that will pay off.