February 16, 2017

Is Social Media a Complete Waste of Time and Money?

social media

Marie Wiese suggests that 99% of companies waste their time on social media – and I think she is absolutely right.
The biggest problem is startups and many brands believe they need have an extensive social media footprint. As table stakes, they need a presence on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Snapchat and Pinterest. If they’re mysteriously absent from any platform how can they compete?
It means brands waste a lot of time and energy on social media efforts that have little, if any, impact on the business. The updates, tweets, retweets, following and engaging are irrelevant and completely unproductive. Yet many brands think they have no choice in the matter. They have to play the game like everyone else.
It’s a stupid approach to business. 
Doing things that don’t matter is a recipe for failure. Running a business involves choices, opportunities, and risks. Success means focusing on things that move the needle and achieve strategic goals. It means doubling down on some activities and staying away from others with low ROI.
Social media for the sake of social media is like jumping off a bridge because everyone else is doing it. You are part of a large group but it doesn’t always involve smart or right decisions.
Instead, approach social media with pragmatism and a strategic plan. Think about how it drives your business forward by driving awareness, increasing leads and sales, delivering customer service, or establishing thought leadership.
Think about the people who matter to your business. How and why do they use social media? Does it have an impact on how they make purchase decisions? Is it a way for them to do research or gather information?
Once there is alignment on goals and target audience, then make decisions on the platforms that really make sense. Ask yourself if being on Twitter, for example, will make a difference in your business, or whether it is make-work activity.
Rather than being on multiple social media platform, focus on a few that meet your strategic goals and the needs of your target audiences. Don’t be afraid to stay on the sidelines if a rival uses a particular social media platform.
Embrace the approach that less is often more because it drives discipline, structure, efficiencies, and better ROI.
In many ways, I feel like we’ve come to a fork in the road for social media. For the past decade, everyone has jumped on bandwagon, driven by FOMO. But as the landscape expands, it is impossible for brands to be everywhere.
The smarter approach is focusing on what matters, even if means having a modest social media presence. If Twitter or Facebook don’t deliver as well as other marketing and sales activities, it is fine to walk away.

I’ve worked with dozens of startups and fast-moving companies looking to accelerate their growth with marketing powered by storytelling. My services are driven by frameworks and processes to create messaging, strategic plans and content. If you want marketing that makes a difference, let’s talk.
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