The best business advice, opinion, news and expertise in Greater Manchester and further afield.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Member Blog: Do you really need social media?

By Zahid Hussain - Creative Director, Script Social Media
Recently, I was introduced to a dentist at a networking event. When he found out that I work in Digital PR, he narrowed his eyes and asked, “Everyone tells me I need to be on social media. What do you think?”

He was astonished when I said, “No. You don’t.”

Let me qualify what I am saying. The wealthiest business person I know has no presence on social media whatsoever and his company’s website is out of date. All the business he does is through word-of-mouth, through trusted contacts he amassed over decades. His focus on what converts has driven this individual to startling success.

Often, I hear prospective clients say that such-and-such a company has thousands of Facebook likes and is doing really well as a result. So, why can’t they? To add fuel to the fire, digital marketers will claim that you can reach billions of people through social media, potential customers who’ve never heard of your company. Wonderful new markets to behold, new niches to find. Treasure, treasure everywhere.

Sounds too good be true, right? It is.

The clients who approach my company are usually interested in social media; unfortunately, many have been stung by it. Companies will pay digital marketing agencies tens of thousands of pounds to rebrand themselves, and to upgrade their website. The agency will also set up multiple social media platforms each with a glossy cover harmonised with the deliciously expensive branding scheme. The digital marketer finishes the magic show with a flourish by buying likes and followers and then hands over the key to the new house and trundles off into the horizon.

It doesn’t take long for companies to realise that customers aren’t flocking to buy their service or product. In fact, how many business Facebook pages have you visited that are bursting with likes, but which have no engagement, no conversation, no buzz?

It is no consolation to have a trophy website and trophy social media accounts and zero customers.
On the other hand, I work with companies and know of others who spend hundreds of thousands a year on social media ads and on PPC (Pay Per Click) and are making millions. Their websites aren’t necessarily spectacular. Importantly, they have understood why they are on social media and invested for the long-term. They have clinically calculated what their ROI (Return on Investment) is. The question is, do you know yours?

If you are determined to wade into the world of social media, then you must commit to it. Be warned though. If you enter the fray with the wrong mind-set you will squander resources and weaken your brand. Maintaining a social media presence is incredibly hard, which is why so many social media accounts fall silent.

Remember, joining a social media platform is free, but it always costs to convert a passer-by into a customer. As long you earn more money than it costs your company to convert it will always be worth it.

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