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Social Media for Business: Why You Don't Need to Be on Every Channel

Updated on November 24, 2014
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Heidi Thorne is an author and business speaker specializing in sales and marketing topics for coaches, consultants and solopreneurs.

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The same show or sporting event doesn't broadcast on every channel. So why should you? Yet, small businesses scramble and struggle to keep up with every available social media channel.

Let's see why they do it... and why maybe they shouldn't.

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Being "On" Social Media Doesn't Necessarily Mean Being "Actively On"

Ever visit a small businesses website and the entire top navigation bar is loaded with every social media icon available? Then when each one is clicked it goes to an account where no one is home.

Merely having an account on the various social networks does not necessarily mean being "actively on" that network.

Being active on a social media network means that the business is regularly posting content or status updates and having interaction with other users on that network. Those accounts where a business is truly active should be the only ones promoted. Nothing says "we don't care" or "we don't know what the heck we're doing" more than a dead blog or social media account.

Reserving accounts on the major social platforms in a company's name is definitely recommended to protect the business' company name and brand names. For social media platforms where the accounts are simply placeholders, redirect visitors to the main website or other truly active social media accounts.

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"Like Us on Facebook?"

I almost have to laugh as I drive down the road and whiz by a variety of business vehicles that have big signs on them that say "Like Us on Facebook." I wonder if these folks, as well meaning as they might be, really expect that to happen. I also wonder what results they hope to achieve. Though I do have to applaud them for making the effort to keep their marketing relevant and current.

Let's take on-demand type businesses such as for health, emergency home care or transportation services (all of which I have seen promote their Facebook accounts on vehicles). If potential customers are faced with an immediate need, they are not likely to wander over to Facebook to do some searching. These frantic customers are much more likely to go to Internet search than social media. Again, where are potential customers hanging out and why?

As discussed earlier, businesses should definitely protect their branding with reserving social media accounts in the business' name and brand names. They may even wish to populate the account with some helpful posts and resource links. However, other marketing tools may have a bigger impact and be more worthy of major investment such as:

Bottom line is that not every social media network is right for every business.

— Heidi Thorne

Bottom line is that not every social media network is right for every business. Choosing the right one will depend on the following factors:

  • Business goals for being on any of the social media networks.
  • Personality and preferences of both the business and the market served.
  • Time and resources available to post and be actively on the network.

Disclaimer: Any examples used are for illustrative purposes only and do not suggest affiliation or endorsement. The author/publisher has used best efforts in preparation of this article. No representations or warranties for its contents, either expressed or implied, are offered or allowed and all parties disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for your particular purpose. The advice, strategies and recommendations presented herein may not be suitable for you, your situation or business. Consult with a professional adviser where and when appropriate. The author/publisher shall not be liable for any loss of profit or any other damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages. So by reading and using this information, you accept this risk.

© 2014 Heidi Thorne

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    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Amen to that. It just shows they're checked out and disengaged or don't know who's on first. I like your idea of non-magnetic business cards, I guess similar to those oil change decals on our car windows, huh?

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      I think businesses do it because they think they have to to be cool, just like people do. There is not enough time in the day to cultivate every social media niche adequately. I am very active on Facebook and Twitter, less so on Pinterest, and my Instagram just collects dust. Great hub!

    • heidithorne profile image
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      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Agreed, FlourishAnyway, they're checked out and often scared of NOT having a presence. So they're there, well, sort of. Actually, the non-magnetic biz cards are more like sticky notes, although there are "cling" type products which could also be considered if (like the oil change decals) are appropriate to the business objective. Thanks for chiming in and Happy Halloween!

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hi Mel Carriere! Yep, the "gotta be cool" factor does make people do silly things in business and online. Like you, I'm a member of the Twitterati and, because most of what I do is B2B work, am somewhat active on LinkedIn. There are definitely not enough hours in the day to handle ALL the networks. Pick and choose the best to use. Thanks for adding your experience and have a terrific day!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is an interesting and useful hub, as always, Heidi. It seems very unprofessional for a business to advertise a link to a dead social media account. Concentrating on effective accounts and staying active sounds like a much better idea. Thanks for sharing some more advice that applies to writers as well as businesses.

    • heidithorne profile image
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      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Happy Monday AliciaC! I agree it is unprofessional, but it happens way too often. Focus is so necessary on social media! Thanks so much for joining the conversation and have a beautiful week!

    • purl3agony profile image

      Donna Herron 2 years ago from USA

      Great hub! I wish I could gently suggest to my boss that she read this :) We are an office of two and there simply isn't enough hours in the day to post quality info on all the social media sites. I think having a great website and posting info about our activities on Facebook would be enough. Thanks for confirming my ideas! Voted up and pinned!

    • heidithorne profile image
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      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hi purl3agony! Yep, especially smaller organizations really need to pick and choose where to spend their precious time and resources. You're right, BEFORE having a great social media presence, the website is THE most important element to build! Hope you get to enjoy some time off during the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend. Cheers!

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      We can't be everything to everyone. Interesting article and good advice.

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hi poetryman6969! True that! Yet there are so many people who keep trying to be everywhere. Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

    • DonnaCosmato profile image

      Donna Cosmato 2 years ago from USA

      Great article and good reminder of how insidious social marketing can be at convincing you to invest your time. Thank you for discussing some tried and true traditional advertising methods that still work such as magnet cards.

    • heidithorne profile image
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      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      No kidding, Donna! I've definitely been down the social media rabbit hole. Now that I'm concentrating my efforts on Twitter, I'm enjoying it more and get better returns in terms of traffic and engagement. Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

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