Is Social Media Useless?

A recent article in the online edition of the UK’s Telegraph reported that “Social media is useless” for small business. The reason being that a survey conducted by the Forum of Private Business found that of those using social network sites, 52% of business owners believed SM to be “useless” or of little value. So is it? Useless that is…

Um no, it’s not. Here’s why: Social media is the great leveller. Big or small, you can have a presence. Is that the case with more traditional media? Can your local cafe run a TV advertising campaign? Guess they can if they sell enough soy lattes; but chances are they will be looking for more cost-effective marketing strategies. Enter social media.

A small business can encourage repeat visits through a quirky loyalty promotion (Foursquare anyone?), gain exposure through a great viral campaign, or just make it easier to get in touch by having contact details listed on various social networking sites. Not finding value in any of the aforementioned options baffles me.Small Business 2 Is Social Media Useless?

You don’t even have a website?

The other, perhaps even more surprising finding of the study was that one in five of the business owners claim not to have a company website. To me this could be due to one of two things:

1) A negative attitude  towards all things internet. Or 2) Laziness.

It is hard to side with anyone that claims social media is useless when I suspect they haven’t even had a decent crack at marketing their business on one of the many social platforms. Maybe the problem is that  their understanding of SM is limited to only their personal Facebook profile or what they see their kids doing on the family PC. Anyway, I guess it makes for an interesting headline – appealing especially to the naysayers out there.

What do you think?

Is social media useless for small, medium or big business, or is it the efforts of the owners themselves that are in fact what is useless?

3 Responses to “Is Social Media Useless?”

  1. Anonymous →
    October 19, 2010 at 10:55 am #

    Or perhaps just the owners themselves who are useless ? ;)

  2. Brandon Connell
    October 28, 2010 at 7:22 pm #

    Its usually both #1 and #2 you mentioned. Anyone who says social media is useless has no clue. It’s increased my business beyond a measurable amount.

  3. Dirk Flail, the local SEO guy
    March 2, 2011 at 7:47 am #

    I think that social media is good for small business (like garage sales, homemade cookies, etc.). The use of social media should correlate with the products/services a business owner offers. A company that earns well and can pay to get a website will appear more credible with its business website.