Guest post by Francesco Montesanto.
At some point today, a social media marketer is going to get fired.
For many companies, especially B2B vendors, these are completely unrealistic, impractical expectations. If it were possible for a marketer to wave a magic wand to make social media content go viral, someone would have figured out how to do it, monetized the solution, and bought a small Croatian island with their profits.
The harsh reality is that most companies have absolutely no chance of dominating the social media landscape the way they envision. And if they do, it’ll mostly be for all the wrong reasons.
The good news is that most companies won’t miss social media if they choose to go another route. For many companies, it may pay to virtually skip social media altogether.
If you’re on the fence about whether your company needs to utilize social media, consider these four arguments against it. (Or, at least, against doing it wrong.)
It’s Okay to be The John Stockton of Your Industry
John Stockton was a member of the greatest basketball team ever assembled. The 1992 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball team, dubbed the Dream Team, featured the likes of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird. Naturally, these megastars were unable to walk the streets of Barcelona without being mobbed by fans.
On the other hand, John Stockton, a highly decorated all-time great player in his own right, was virtually anonymous, even going so far as to interview fans on the street without them knowing he was on the team.
His relative anonymity in the public light did nothing to deter him from becoming the all-time assists leader and considered among the greatest point guards to ever play the game.
Stockton understood that it was more important for him to leave his mark on the court, rather than stepping outside of himself to be somebody he wasn’t.
More businesses need to take their cue from Stockton. You don’t need flashy social media campaigns, dynamic branding, or an overly ambitious mission statement to ascend to the top of your industry.
Sometimes, it’s all about understanding where you fit in and doing it really well.
(Then again, John Stockton knew where to go with the ball. If you’re not at least doing social media monitoring, you may be missing out on important conversations with your brand; throwing the ball out of bounds and missing opportunities to score.)
Even a Successful Social Media Presence Might Not Help
Let’s say you’re not content to just dish out the ball and you want the glory for yourself. Even if you somewhat succeed, will it be worth it?
You need to ask yourself if your social following is directly translating into sales or revenue. While there’s definitely an argument to be made for brand awareness, are these the right customers for your business?
To answer this, we’re going back to Marketing 101 and calculating your service obtainable market, or SOM.
For most B2B companies, your SOM is going to be relatively small compared to the total addressable market, or TAM, especially in relation to B2C companies.
In other words, unless you have the patience and experience to engage in extremely targeted campaigns on social media with little chance of success, you’re probably not going to maximize your efforts of reaching your SOM.
(Then again, social media isn’t only about reaching sales prospects; it’s also valuable for engaging with the industry influencers your sales prospects follow and trust.)
It’s Incredibly Time-Consuming
As you might’ve guessed from the title of this article, at a bare minimum, social media requires a great deal of dedication.
Do you have an extra 12 hours to spare during the week to devote to social? If so, then you might have the time to effectively maintain multiple social media platforms.
Social media marketers spend, on average, 2.5 hours per day managing accounts, strategizing, and creating content.
In other words, even for small businesses, social media maintenance is going to become a part-time job.
They’ll Google You
You already know that customers are most likely going to find you through search engines.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. If you were looking for your business, where would you start? Would you go on Twitter to try and find a supply chain management solution, or would you (insert preferred search engine here) it?
So, wouldn’t it make much more sense to allocate your resources into search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, or content creation that actually gets crawled and indexed by search engines?
According to Econsultancy, 61% of consumers turn to begin their decision-making journey with a search engine. For many B2B companies, keeping up with SEO trends is a much more worthwhile investment, as this will directly correlate to bumping your website higher and higher on search engine rankings.
(Then again, social media activity has a positive impact on SEO. Continuing the basketball analogy, Betsy McLeod writes, “the relationship between social media and SEO is like an alley-oop in basketball, where social lobs the ball and SEO dunks it.”)
Is Social Media a Waste of Time?
The answer to this question, like pretty much every other worthwhile question in today’s world, is “it depends.”
How often you update your social media channels can be a clear indication of the health of your company.
Let’s say you’re trying to make a decision between two companies. Both have active Twitter accounts, but one hasn’t updated their account since 2013, while the other tweeted something yesterday. Which company are you going to choose?
If you have visions of your supply chain management company competing alongside Kylie Jenner on Instagram, then you’re clearly wasting your time on social media and your next hire should be a marketing consultant.
However, if you have reasonable expectations, a manageable budget, and a solid strategy, there’s no reason not to maintain multiple social media accounts.
What do you think?