I have heard many different opinions regarding social media and its place in the business world. There are certainly those who are all for it, those who make it a point to steer clear, and those who think social media is unavoidable.
Being somewhat of a planner and a mild control freak, I don’t like to think that anything is unavoidable (other than death and taxes, of course). I do not think that blanket statements such as “All companies should be actively tweeting” are accurate, but I am not suggesting that social media is bad for business either. I guess I’m a social media “tween” so to speak as I tend to fall right smack dab in the middle.
I think the question of whether or not to engage in social media depends heavily on the appropriateness of the message, medium and company.
Social media can be an extremely valuable tool when used correctly, however, a company should really think about what type of social media will work best with its business model. Some factors to consider when looking into the social media world:
1) Who is your target audience?
2) What are the potential benefits to your company?
3) What are the potential drawbacks?
- Do these drawbacks outweigh the benefits?
4) How much control do you want to have over content?
5) How much feedback do you want?
6) What is the best form of communicating with my target audience/industry?
- Any of the other handful of social media platforms at my fingertips?
The answer to question number 6 will heavily rely on the answers to questions 1-5. You should also take into account the time and resources you have available for social media because it will take up both to maintain. I have found that it is best not to jump into anything too quickly, but to weigh all options against the pros and cons to find which platform is best best-suited for your company. There is no “right” answer. In some cases, the best approach may be no social media at all (which, by the way, does not ensure that your name will never be mentioned on one of the various social media platforms).
The important thing to remember is that, much like any other marketing platform, social media should be tailored to fit your company’s needs.