Social media has taken the world by storm and many businesses have immediately jumped on the bandwagon without considering if social media can be detrimental to their business.
Small business owners are often cajoled into spending money hiring “social media experts” to run the social media side of their online business.
They’ll spend hundreds of pounds on consultants and various types of online ads that may or may not bring additional visitors to their website.
Here are six reasons why business owners and managers should consider not using social media, especially Facebook and Twitter, to promote their business.
1. Social Media is Permanent
Facebook and Twitter provide permanent records that are notoriously difficult to destroy. If you actively promote your business using social media, you may find that outdated information about your company continues to misinform your potential customers.
If a mistake or misleading information is posted onto a social media profile by third parties, it may be there on your company’s profile for a long time before it’s detected, removed or fixed.
2. Social Media Is Too Quick for Editing
In the past, a company’s marketing material would’ve been scrutinised and edited by several stakeholders in the business before the public sees it.
Now, people expect regular updates and timely information to be posted on a company’s social media properties.
The information is rarely edited or approved by the CEO, as an annual general report would be. This means that mistakes and misinformation/damaging information could be easily posted online for all to see.
3. Social Media Can Destroy a Business’ Reputation
A good reputation is essential for any business. Using social media can destroy a business’ reputation quite easily.
For instance, a photo which someone posts to show hardworking staff could inadvertently show unsafe work practices. Moreover, some government authorities have used information posted on social media sites to investigate and fine companies and businesses.
As a worse case scenario, a negative comment or one seen as controversial could spread like wildfire on social networks, damaging a business’ reputation very quickly.
Some businesses have closed down due to loss of custom stemming from negative media reports online and in social media networks.
4. Social Media is Not Designed for Business
The very term social media shows what it is for – social contacts. Business owners and managers who try to use the wrong tool for their job will soon discover that it doesn’t work.
Facebook is designed to allow family and friends to share statuses and social photos of each other; and Twitter was originally created as an online text messaging service to update the same people about your life. Neither website is designed to cater for the needs of business.
Using social media simply because “everyone else does it” is not a good excuse for taking the short cut in your online marketing efforts.
Use social media for your social activity, and keep your online business marketing separate.
5. Social Media Gives the Wrong Impression of Your Business
Do you really want your business image to be unprofessional? Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter can make a business look unprofessional and amateur in nature.
Create a professional business website and gear all your professionally designed marketing towards encouraging people to visit your website which you can control.
Avoid tainting your company’s image by using social media tools -designed for social contact- to promote a real and professional business.
6. Social Media is Becoming Annoying to Customers
Finally, social media is becoming extremely annoying to many people and quite a few of your customers will probably deliberately tune out any social media message.
Many businesses ban or prohibit the use of social media sites on company computers, with good reason; this further increases the annoyance of your potential customers who then must use their own time to read your promotional material instead of catching up with their friends and family.
In a Nutshell
While using social media is a relatively easy way to market your business online, it may not be the best way. Social media can promote misinformation just as easily it can promote your business.
Because it’s a tool that was not created for business purposes, it actually can make your business look amateur and unprofessional.
Keep your business looking professional by not succumbing to the prevalent rage of mixing business with social media.
NB: Again, this is a perspective that I do not necessarily subscribe to but thought it would be good to explore the alternate argument.
What do you think? Comments/experiences welcomed…