Is Social Media Bad for Business?

December 30, 2011By

An article on AMEX’s Open Forum got me thinking today.

Lighted Fountain

Lighted Fountain courtesy of David Paul Ohmer

Is social medida bad for business?

From Why Social Media is Killing Your Business:

Too many people are launching social media efforts instead of using good old-fashioned networking. (Remember, when we used to meet people face to face and shake hands?) Going completely digital and bypassing face time is detrimental to your business for a number of reasons.

I think the author, Mike Michalowicz, makes a good case. He brings up the point that people are using social media in a shallow way. Social media, for the most part, is easy to use. It’s easy to get on Twitter and start a conversation with people. It’s easy to spend hours on Facebook looking at profile information of our friends, family, and past acquaintances. Maybe it is detrimental in some ways to use social media in this way.

But is saying that social media is bad for business jumping the gun and flushing everything down the toilet?

Is Social Media Bad for Business?

Now, to be fair, I don’t think Mike Michalowicz is saying that social media is all bad. He did write this article for the Open Forum, and writing on a popular blog or forum is something I consider social media.

With that said, I don’t think social media is bad for business. I think there is a balance that needs to be met with how to use social media from a business standpoint, from a relationship building standpoint, and using social tools to improve the way a business earns profit.

There are certainly productivity pitfalls out there. If a person uses time using social for entertainment more than they use it for business purposes then they likely won’t get much in return except a few good stories and interesting tidbits. And that might be fine depending on what your goals are with social media.

For a business, though, social needs to be a measured way to generate profit. If you can’t measure efforts in social back to profit then Mike Michalowicz is probably correct, social media is bad for business.

We are very early in the stages of the Internet. People spending time online is relatively new. Many people remember the times when it took a few minutes just to access the Internet. People are figuring out the best way to use the Internet in the most efficient way for their lives.

The Internet and social media offer some great things. Never before have people had access to information and people as right now in history. And the good news is that things will probably get easier as time goes on. We’ll have more access to people and information in the future.

This is good for business.

But the focus needs to be the same as it always has been. Focus on developing long-term relationships with customers. Focus on what it took back in the good old days of face-to-face meetings. Think about how you would interact with someone when you were meeting them in person and telling them about your business and how it could help them improve their lives.

Use social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Blogging to foster long-term, profitable relationships with your customers. Focus on providing them value with each social media outlet you spend time with.

Providing value and improving a customer relationship is a timeless trait of successful businesses. Social media can increase your chances of succeeding. Use the technology today to your advantage. Don’t fall into the productivity trap mentioned in the article.

Social media doesn’t have to kill your business.

Social media can be used to greatly improve your business.