Is social media good for business?

If you’re a small to mid-size company, the answer is: it’s complicated. These days, it’s good to have a social presence. Consumers expect it. But it’s also important not to spend too much energy in ways that may not be working well for your business.

Recently, Facebook in particular has been making it difficult, if not impossible, for businesses to gain any traction unless they pay to play. Even if they have thousands of likes, only a handful may see a given post if it’s not promoted. But even knowing that, it’s hard for some companies to change their current social habits.

A hard habit to break

Social can be a hard habit to break for lots of reasons. It costs nothing to set up and start posting, tweeting or pinning away. It can even be a very kind and gentle place at first offering a nice bump of activity and engagement. And then there’s that addictive rush that comes when a post gets a burst of attention.

But it’s worth taking a step back to evaluate how social is treating your business. The social beast is a hungry one that demands a steady diet of fresh content. It’s all too easy to slip into an unhealthy pattern of spending too much time and energy feeding it with little results to show for it.

Digging for content

The problem of feeding the beast is especially tough for companies that don’t have a large portfolio of products or services. You can run out of relevant things to talk about pretty quickly. It’s no wonder there are so many inspirational quotes and smoothie recipes littering the social space.

Many businesses rely on content they dig up around the web, particularly when they don’t have the resources to write their own articles or blog posts. While this can help align your company with an admirable brand or way of thinking, mostly you’re just spending your own energy to promote someone else.

4 questions to ask

Wherever your company is at with social media, it’s smart to pause and think about how that relationship is treating you and what you can do to make it better. We use these four questions at Truth NYC to help clients start thinking in the right direction:

1. What are your goals for social media?

It’s important to understand what you’re trying to get out of your social efforts. Your objectives should be realistic and they should drive your social strategy. For instance, driving sales is more difficult than continuing to engage with current customers. It also probably means relying more on offers and promotions than “feel good” kinds of posts.

2. What kinds of posts are working for you?

By understanding what your audience likes, you can hone in on developing the kind of content they want from your company. Just remember to keep some balance. You may lose their interest if you overdo it with one type of content.

3. Are you in the right social spaces to reach your audience?

This can help you focus your efforts. For instance, if your audience is mostly professionals, you may do better to target LinkedIn over places like Instagram. You may even want to shed a few social channels that aren’t of much value to your company.

4. How often are you posting? Is it too much?

If you’re not getting much benefit out of social media, you may be tempted to double down on your efforts. However, it may be best to gradually pull back instead. There’s no shame in gradually reducing posts and spending your efforts in more fruitful places.