Why Social Media Doesn’t Work

Courtesy of Flickr: Sybren A. Stüvel

We think social media is great. A lot of other people do too. So far we’ve been focused on helping those who are interested in putting effort into social media for their brand. So what about the people who are against (and I mean fiercely against) using social media for their business? We think there are 3 different camps with 3 different views on why social media isn’t working for their company. If you identify yourself as any one of these, keep reading! You never know when you’ll find a new piece of information!

The Haters

These people are really against social media.  They swear they’ll never use it, and grumble and mumble when other people talk about it.  Why does my business need social media – we’re doing perfectly fine with our traditional methods of advertising and managing.  Why should I post about the latest company happenings?  Why would consumers want to follow me anyways?

No offense, but they sound like my grandma.  Stuck in the past, not up-to-date with technology.  Times have changed, and people (especially business people) need to realize that social media has become the new mode of communication.

But they would be surprised to see how many potential relationships they’re letting fly by.  Did you know there are many users on social media that are all potential customers? (check out this cool infographic with all the stats)  Traditional methods of reaching out to the consumer isn’t enough – social media is in real-time, and it’s important nowadays to get information to your customers (who are using online media to research who they’ll buy products from) and to do so quickly, time-efficiently, and effectively.

The Fence-Sitters

This group of people has a love-hate relationship with social media.  These businesses use social media for their brands, but don’t really believe that it can do any magic.  They might be using Facebook and Twitter for their brands because everyone else is, but deep down inside, they don’t believe social media efforts are that important (or at least one of the most important factors to communicating with customers.)  So they put limitations on their social media management employees.  You can only do this much with social media.  Interacting with customers is for business-only purposes.

Really?  Do these businesses really want to set these rigid rules?  What will their customers think of them?

No consumer wants to see a business that “is only a business.”  We’ve said this a thousand times, but customers want to see that businesses have feelings too.  Social media is a great way for brands to show their fun side, and inform their followers.  It’s taking more than smarts for businesses to succeed nowadays – creativity and uniqueness are really important to catch the consumers’ eyes.

The Over-enthusiasts

We hear it all the time.  I devote myself to social media – I’m on all the platforms, I update my followers often.  I’ve got a great social media management tool…and I sat and waited…and nothing happened.

Well, what’d you expect?  Social media isn’t some fairy dust you sprinkle over your business and you become popular the next day!  It’s a lot more work than that!

The problem is two-fold.  Did you actually engage with customers, or did you just establish your presence on the social media networks?  If you did attempt to communicate with customers, are you posting and creating interesting content?  Most businesses get stumped at this step – they throw information at consumers and expect an increase in followers.  A lot of companies have big social media teams to make sure their brands get it right.  But you don’t need a huge team to be successful; take a look at our previous post to get some easy, helpful tips on how to garner more publicity.

For those of you that read this article and are ready to dismiss it…DON’T.  Take a stab at social media today and keep trying – the web holds a wealth of information that you cannot afford to miss out on.

Interview: Why Isn’t Social Media Taught in Business 101?

We had a chance this week to pull aside one of our interns and ask her a few questions about the internet and social media, and to get a fresh outlook on online networking for businesses.  We were surprised to hear some of Stephanie’s answers:

Social Defender: Thanks for taking some of your time for this interview.

Stephanie: No problem, it’s been a fun experience as well as a learning one so far, and I’m glad I get the chance to share about it.

SD: First question, you’re a young, college kid – how does social media play a part in your and your peers’ lives?

S: It’s SO important for us!  Everyone’s on Facebook and Twitter on campus – we wake up, check our Facebook, we get back from class and send out a tweet (some of us are even on social media in class!), and before we go to sleep, we have to get our friends’ updates.  It’s pretty bad actually.  I know a lot of college kids who have to deactivate their accounts or ask a friend to change their password for a while so they can study.

SD: So you would say social media is an important mode of communication for your age group?

S: Yes, definitely.

SD: Then what about businesses?  Do they need social media to communicate?

S: Of course – businesses are made up of people too, so it makes sense that they engage with their customers through online media.

SD: Tell us about the topic of social media in your classes…you’re a business major, right?  Social media had to have come up in your business classes, correct?

S:  Yes, I am a business major, but social media never came up in any of my “business 101” courses.  I don’t know if professors don’t think social media can’t play a part in the business-sphere, but even at my university, which I hate to brag but is one of the top universities in the US, professors barely mentioned online networking.  Maybe it’s because I haven’t taken upper division classes since I’m still an underclassmen, but social media is so important, it should at least be mentioned in the intro courses!

SD:  You’re our marketing intern here at Social Defender.  Tell us about your first experience when you started working with our company.

S: Well, I knew about the marketing aspects of my job, but I had no idea that businesses use social media!  Before this job, when I imagined social media, I thought of it as Farmville (which was really popular when I first got Facebook) and as a way to connect with your friends who went to different colleges.  I am honestly really grateful that I’m learning all of this – now I can throw around terms such as SEO and social media ROI and sound really smart in class (laughs).

SD: So you think that this is a problem, that your peers aren’t as updated on the latest business tactics as you are?

S: Of course I am – college kids are the next entrepreneurs.  I’m glad I have the experience and upper hand now, but kids should take the information they learn in college and apply it to their jobs once they enter the job market – that’s what an education is for!  So if graduates don’t have this background or don’t figure it out by the time they enter the job market, they’ll be at a big disadvantage in our competitive world.

SD:  Thanks so much for your input, Stephanie.  And thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.

S: No problem, my pleasure.

And there you have it.  Why aren’t colleges (and even high schools!) teaching kids about social media?  We think social media is more than a fad – it makes sense that communication follows our innovations and new technology.  Businesses thrive on communication – so why aren’t our future entrepreneurs learning about the newest, most effective way to engage with customers?

Tell us what you think – should schools teach social media management?  We’d love to hear your feedback!


Social Defender’s Big Event this Weekend

Social Defender has been selected to be featured at Tech Cocktail’s Chicago Mixer and Startup Showcase this Sunday, June 24th, and we are honored to have this opportunity.  We are getting ready to have a fantastic weekend of connecting with other startups and sharing ideas with everyone.

The media company Tech Cocktail describes themselves as a “literal cocktail” – it’s a social mixing of entrepreneurs and tech lovers who gather together to converse about the latest technology and new startups.  Founded in 2006, Tech Cocktail has expanded into a global event that attracts thousands of fans.  They host many different kind of events (mixers, conferences, showcases, to name a few) in many different cities (Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Barcelona, and more) to boost entrepreneurs and help them share their latest ideas and technology.

Sponsored by Motorola, Tech Cocktail is collaborating with TechWeek to host some of the greatest minds and startups in the Midwest this weekend.  Hosted in expo style, tech enthusiasts will be able to educate and connect with other convention goers, as well as amplify their own ideas.  There are expected to be over 200 attendees at this Sunday’s event.

Social Defender considers our attendance to this mixer a huge honor – we can’t express how fortunate we are to share our newest accomplishments with others.  We enjoy connecting with you all through the web, and we regret that we can’t bring you all to the Windy City to meet you in person (but we’ll be sure to update you on how the event goes)!  But for those of you in the Chicagoland area that will be attending Tech Cocktail, we’d love to put faces to names and have the opportunity to connect with you this weekend.  Social Defender is gearing up and getting ready to mingle with the brightest minds of the Midwest!

How to get Traffic on Brand Pages

We’ve all heard the questions Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How? probably many times throughout our schooling careers.  Ever get sick of them? (I definitely have, since these questions would be placed at the top of many of my research papers, along with many decorative red marks – ok, I’ll try not to take a trip down memory lane…)  However, these questions are necessary to ask if we want our content to contain relevant and helpful information for our readers.  By asking these questions, you’ll nail what consumers are looking for, and have room for other interesting blurbs.

Here they are, a list of our favorite questions and why they’re important for your brand page:

Who to Post: Well, this is an easy question- get your company and brand name out there!  Tell your followers who this page belongs to (whether it’s just the company name, or the actual names and faces behind it all).  Customers like to see that businesses are made up of actual people who they can connect to, not unemotional robots.

Why to Post:  Well, the data says it all.  So many people are using social media to communicate, that businesses would be making the mistake of not taking this opportunity to reach new customers.  The real question is “Why would any business not want to tap into the wealth of information found online?”

What to post: Post things that would add value to your company for customers.  Try to be life-changing, and not just a word ranting bore.  Don’t bombard your clients- tell them only necessary information and try to keep it to a minimum (no one likes reading long, monotonous paragraphs.)  Posting different types of media (videos, pictures, links, etc.) can also add some life to your brand pages.

Where to post:  It’s useful to try to be everywhere at once- not all consumers use all social networks.  Widen your reach by being present on different social networks, and keeping each one up-to-date (a single tool that allows you to update all your accounts simultaneously would be very time-efficient.)  But keep in mind- utilize all the social media networks that work best for your company.

When to post:  Yes, there are actually specific times and days to post that ensures that your content will reach more people.  Generally, you should post at times inconvenient to you- most of your customers have a workday too, so they’ll generally be online for non-business reasons after hours.  Our tip- having a scheduling tool is really helpful.  There are also different peak hours for the different media websites. Here’s a quick guide to posting times:

  • Facebook: 1-4pm ET, especially on Wednesdays and Sundays.  Avoid the eights- 8am-8pm is a bad time frame to garner likes and activity.
  • Twitter: Monday 1-3pm is the best time, where after 8pm on most days (3pm on Fridays) are the worst.
  • Tumblr: After 4pm and on Friday evenings seem to be when customers are online.

How to post:  Don’t try entirely to be a business.  As I mentioned before, consumers like to see that their favorite companies are backed and run by actual people.  When posting content, don’t just try to shove information down your customers’ throats.  Sure, the end goal is to increase sales, but try to do so in a fun way – some customers are attracted to a company because of their fun atmosphere.  If you want to relay information, make it easy to understand.  There’s no need to get super fancy, since there is much potential for your audience to get confused.  And lastly, you can seek the help of the actual social sites themselves- Facebook has a new promote button that guarantees your brand will reach more customers for a small fee.


Why B2B Companies Need Social Media

It makes sense that B2C companies can find invaluable wealth in social media.  They need to reach and keep customers up to date, and they need to attract potential customers.  These companies are spending their time and effort to be where customers are most reachable – on social media.  According to a Forrester Research study, 81 percent of adults are using social media – so it makes sense that B2C companies don’t want to miss out on opportunities presented by online networks.  The combination of B2B Companies and social media seems like a whole different story – businesses don’t find social media an impactful way to connect with other businesses.  However, B2B companies are also run by people, who can be swayed and convinced through online marketing.  B2C and B2B firms are actually very similar; their core goals and objectives are the same, regardless of what product is being sold.  All businesses seek to create awareness, promote, strengthen relationships with their clients, and of course, generate revenue.  If B2C companies can use social media to guide these objectives, why can’t B2B companies do the same?

So, what are some specific ways that social media can help a B2B company?  Start with LinkedIn, the social media website made for professionals.  Get connected with many other B2B professionals – who knows, it might come handy one day where you wouldn’t otherwise have insider connections.  The established social media platforms can also improve your SEO and generate leads.  Social media can help get your business name out there, which is an important goal for all businesses.  It’s also important for B2B firms to have closer relationships with their client – they’re dealing with more expensive and complex products, and the sales cycle is longer.  B2B companies need to be closer to their clients, and their experience would allow them to gather more marketplace insights on social media platforms.

B2B companies can also find a wealth of resources on social media by knowing their audience and how to communicate with them.