When is social media a good (or bad) idea?

If your business is not yet leveraging social media to reach customers, employees or community stakeholders, that’s OK! Maybe your business doesn’t need it, but if you’re looking for a little guidance on whether you should make a splash, dip your toe in, or stay out of social media altogether, we’ve got some considerations for you.

What’s your end-goal with social media?

As with anything in business, it’s important to decide first and foremost what you want to get out of the endeavor. Are you looking to increase brand awareness? Consistently communicate with the customer base you already have? Gather more leads? Create more connections? Your overarching goal will help guide the platform(s) you choose to maintain an active presence on, the types content you post, how much you interact with your followers and more.

Do you have the time and staff?

While it has its perks, social media can turn into a black hole for time and energy that might be better spent developing other aspects of your business. The capacity for a solid presence depends on the size of the team you can dedicate to it.

If you have a small team of individuals available to contribute to your company’s digital and social media presence, it’s wise to focus your attention on no more than two or three social platforms. If you only have one or two individuals who can spend some time on digital and social, you may want to keep it to one platform.

Can you create the content?

It’s also important to factor in content creation. While it seems simple enough, creating a large amount of visual and written content for social media can quickly become overwhelming. Between pictures, videos, graphics and content calendars, it can be difficult to stay consistently active, not to mention consistent in your visuals. Outside of Twitter, text-only posts on Facebook and LinkedIn tend to receive little to no attention, so you’ll need to consider a way to produce and deliver visuals of an acceptable quality for your audience.

Which social media platforms will best reach your audience?

A common misconception about social media is that if you’re on one platform you should be on them all. Trying to follow this line of thinking can be overwhelming, and implementing it will likely overextend your limited time to manage accounts, leading to failure in the endeavor. Instead of trying to operate everywhere your audience might be, establish a consistent presence where your audience is most likely to seek out your content.

Focus on the places that make sense for your audience. If you’re a B2B company looking to make business connections it’s probably unlikely you’ll find success on Instagram, but you may have better luck on a platform like LinkedIn. When debating whether or not to join a potential social platform, start with the end goal in mind.

Are you willing to advertise?

If you have high hopes for your social presence, you should strongly consider spending money to boost or advertise your content. If you haven’t read my previous post on the change in Facebook’s organic reach, let me fill you in: organic (or unpaid) social media will only get you so far. Most social media platforms are designed so that you’re required to pay to reach your target audience effectively. Do your due diligence with research and decide upfront how much you’d be willing to spend on social media advertising, if you’re willing to spend anything.

If that all seems like a lot, that’s because it is! When considering implementing a social media plan, it’s important to step back and think about it logically and strategically. Be honest about what kind of presence you and your team can reasonably maintain and what the limits to your capacity are. If you don’t currently have the ability to handle social media management and planning in-house, you might consider adding a new member to your team, actively educating your current team or reaching out and working with an external team of experts.

Good luck, and happy socializing!

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