Why Your Business Shouldn’t Be on Social Media

Like, tweet, share, snap.

All words that have rapidly become part of our lives.

Businesses have flocked to Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and to a lesser extent in NZ; Twitter and Snapchat. They are attractive as it is free to establish a presence on them and there are huge amounts of people on them.

Facebook alone has 1.4 billion monthly active users.

So it must be good for business right?


What You Focus on Grows

I’ve spent millions of dollars of mine and other peoples money on marketing.

I get asked what works best A LOT.

Social media is very rarely on that list.

Why? Because other things work better and most people aren’t doing them right let alone tackling multiple social channels.

There are two elements that are always scarce inside a business – time and money. It doesn’t matter the size of the business, it’s impossible to do everything well. Unless your a Silicon Valley unicorn with a few hundred million in the bank then you need to focus on the things that work to grow.

Here’s a nice graph from McKinsey showing ROI per $1 spent on different marketing channels.


roi graph

Boring old email comes out on top by a mile.

If you’re not building a customer database and sending them something regularly you’re crazy.

Yep, flat out bonkers.

It’s the cheapest, simplest, highest leverage marketing channel there is and I’m yet to find an industry that can’t use it.

Does it make sense that spending time and effort on improving (or starting) email marketing, SEO and driving targeted traffic from paid ads could give you a better ROI?

If you’ve squeezed every ounce of performance from these channels then fill your boots on whatever social channel you like.

Social Media, What is it Good For

All that said social media can play a part in your business without a massive effort.

I frame it as a good customer service and engagement channel – any sales achieved from it are a bonus.

If you’re going to tackle social media then start with focusing on the right channel first. For consumer businesses this is likely Facebook or Instagram for B2B probably LinkedIn. Go where your customer persona is most likely to be.

These are the rules:

  • Post regularly – a half-dead social presence makes your business look half dead.
  • Don’t ‘sell’ too often – people like to buy but hate to be sold to
  • Be useful – if you’re helpful and knowledgeable about your industry then people will engage
  • Reply – it’s a public channel so anyone can engage with you. Make sure you reciprocate

Seems logical but I don’t actually see many businesses following best practices.

There are of course, a lot of good reasons why you should use social media in your business. With the right content, and a modest advertising budget, some businesses can do very well.

However, those are generally the businesses that have made a plan and know what their goals are with social media.

If you haven’t done the other stuff first then don’t bother.

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  • Derrick May 13, 2015   Reply →

    Wow, what an eye opener! I really was thinking in the other direction . We are about to launch an app designed for the recruitment sector. Basicly our app will find and train employees. Initially we are targeting the despatch sector, couriers, truck drivers, etc. if you have any suggestions how we can launch this thing and reach as many of these type of business we will greatly appreciate your input.

    • James Kemp May 13, 2015   Reply →

      Hi Derrick

      In the beginning you have to do things that don’t scale. If you create content, you have to promote it a lot. Cold email, calls, outreach etc.
      Sounds like you have 2 customer types – recruiters and employees.
      Recruiters are B2B and employees B2C.
      B2B generally requires a high touch sale – call, appointment, proposal etc
      B2C can be a more direct sign up.
      Without knowing more about what your products offers to both sides it’s difficult to be more specific.


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