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5 reasons (some) companies fear Social Media

on November 29, 2011 | Social Media | Comments (3)

Social media has been embraced by millions of companies around the world. But amongst the digital converts there are a number who actively avoid, and fear, engagement with social media for a number of different reasons. Sometimes these fears are unfounded and other times they are not.

Fear number 1 : People ‘might’ say bad things about us.

Chances are people have already been saying bad things about you for a while. Ever heard of a feedback survey which scored 100% for every question? Highly unlikely.

There are really only two options here: bury your head in the sand and pretend nothing is being said or, use social media to actively listed to what people are saying about you and participate in the conversation. Consumers like brands who occasionally talk to them, rather than at them.

Fear number 2: Someone will say something bad and it will go ‘viral’

It’s hard to guess what will go ‘viral’ at the best of times and if the winning formula was so easy then many people would be doing it. The reality is it’s hard to predict what content will gain traction and go viral so its not as a big a worry for most companies.

One of the most useful features of social media is the ability to disseminate and share information instantaneous with a large number of people. Whilst negative content travels fast, if not faster than good, the social media space if forgiving and ever changing. Today’s viral content will be long forgotten in a few days. Don’t believe me? Check out your Twitter stream to see how fast the content is changing.

Fear number 3: There’s limited control.

Actually, there’s probably more. A skilled community manager will be able to steer (almost) any conversation in the direction you desire. Not being present in social media conversations is not having control. And a well built online community will eventually start to regulate your space for you —  without a skilled manager having to guide the flock back to your promised land.

Fear number 4: We don’t have time to do social media.

This fear might be justified in some circumstances. There’s nothing more frustrating than social media accounts that have been enthusiastically set up and then abandoned. Although, some forms of social media take less time to maintain than others. A Facebook page seems to be most realistic option for most companies, but be sure to do some research to find out if your target audience use Facebook. Twitter requires a higher level of contribution to actively participate in conversations and keep up-to-date with trending topics. Videos and blogs require a serious commitment to plan, create and publish interesting content which will keep readers coming back.

Fear number 5: It’s too difficult to measure ROI, so we just won’t bother.

This is a subject still hotly debated in the digital world. What does ROI mean in social media terms? “Likes”, follows, comments and subscriptions don’t necessarily equal sales or valuable conversations. A number of recent improvements have been made to social media platforms and Google analytics to measure the way fans engage with pages. If you’re not sure where to begin, start by measuring something straight-forward, like followers or “likes” and then drill down later on this data to examine insights and other engagement metrics.

Developing any online community takes time and requires a commitment to ongoing resources and content generation, without both there is a real fear the page will stagnate and fail to appeal to the target audience. Before over emphasising risk, start by ensuring there is a social media strategy and resources committed to growing an online community.


clarecrook :

  • These 5 reasons are exactly what I am dealing with in my business, especially number 5.

    Being a "one-stop-shop" for design, print, marketing and social media, each time I get to the SEO part of my sales-pitch, I'm hearing the same things over and over – "How many likes will I get?"

    Its not about the likes or the follows or the +1's, its about getting people out in digital land to engage with you. They are the ones that will buy, and recomend to their followings. Its all about engagement.

    Great article. And great to hear I'm not the only one suffering!

    • Thanks Daniel. By the sound of it you're not only a one-stop-shop, you're also (expected to be) a fortune teller! You might be tempted to take a crystal ball to future sales pitches. You're right, engagement will eventually = 'likes'. Not the other way around.

  • I think this is really helpful for businesses worried about using social media. It's good to also remember that, regardless of your online presence, people may still talk and/or write about your company, for example about their experiences etc. We've written a similar blog about common misconceptions about social media – http://bit.ly/seOe4L











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