The Importance of Social Media

By Jason Eichner

I’m going to make a very simple, far-reaching statement: every business needs social media. I can’t name a single business or operation in the modern age that doesn’t need social media to ease development.

Businesses that do social media wrong tend to fail at it in two specific ways, and each is a misinterpretation of my above statement.

The Exception

“Every business needs social media…except mine”, or “Every business needs social media…except it doesn’t work for mine.

This is the most common way a business incorrectly use social media. Some people find that social media isn’t driving additional business to their website, and so give up on it too early.

Social media requires input before it can provide output. I’ve seen some companies put out a few tweets or Facebook posts, see no immediate gain, and give up on social media permanently. However, this isn’t how social media works. Social media isn’t like regular lead generation, where you put in time and get out sales – there are completely different rules for the social digital space.

When a company first opens their accounts and begins posting regularly, you can almost always guarantee they’ll see no leads at all from their efforts. At this stage, social media is negative-sum: you put in a lot, and get out little. Ultimately though the company gets followers, and maybe a share or a retweet. This is where the first real business can start cropping up, though still in small quantities. Somewhere around here, social media becomes a zero-sum engine, you get out what you put in, to an extent. Eventually social media can transform into something else, and this is where it comes into its own. Once the ball is rolling, it begins to grow – when the company has enough followers, engaging posts become shared so much that they are seen by a radically larger audience than their follower count would suggest. Popular business accounts at this stage can now expect to get out from each post more than they put in.

Social media has another benefit that some companies miss, however, and that is one of keeping up to date. Customers that are uncertain of whether a company is still active often now check the company’s Twitter account – if they’ve tweeted in the last month the customer can rest assured that they are still active, otherwise trust in the company may be lost.

You can’t escape that fate by simply deleting your social media accounts either – a business with no social media presence at all is now considered out of date and old-fashioned.