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Does your business need Social Media?

March 22, 2011

Social Media has permeated the business world so much, but you don’t necessarily need to jump on the bandwagon. Social Media might not make a lot of sense for your business, so here’s quick and dirty list of questions you should ask yourself before jumping on the Social Media bandwagon:

How often do you need to communicate with your customers?

If you do most of its business online, or if you host a lot of events, then Social Media is a no-brainer. It helps with link-building, gives customers ways to access you through multiple outlets and provides a way for you to instantly update customers on events, new products, menu items or drink specials. However, if you are an offline business that mostly deals with people face-to-face only 1-3 times a year, you most likely need a website, online listings and an email list to let customers know about promos and company news.

Do you have a product that people like to talk about?

You hear the term “join the conversation” a lot, but the point is moot if you don’t have a product that people like to talk about. People are likely to have long conversations about food, movies, politics, photography or computers. Aside from casual recommendations, people are less likely to have long conversations about toilet paper or kitty litter.

Do you have the time?

Social Media may seem easy – you create a Facebook account, Twitter account, etc. for free and update it once in a while. You expect that everyone will be interested and will want to follow you. You need to give them a reason to do so though. You can do this by offering incentives, such as coupons, or running contests on your page, which does take up some time. If you do not monitor your social media sites daily, it will not be effective and can even be damaging if a customer reports of an unpleasant experience on an abandoned social media page.

Do you have a strategy and what are your expectations?

Social Media will not create miracles as some may have you believe. Social Media is PART of your marketing campaign, not all of it. You will not see an immediate ROI, but what you will see is more interaction with your customers. This interaction will lead to more feedback, increased opportunities to offer customer service in a public forum and brand loyalty.

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