Facebook and other social media are great tools to promote a business. And many companies strengthened their brands by building huge communities on Facebook, acquiring a large number of followers on Twitter and Instagram. Examples are Samsung, McDonald’s, Netflix, Pizza Hut, Nike, Coca-Cola, Starbucks and many more.
However, does this mean that you should be present on social media in any case? Yes, if your customers are social-media-users, too. No, if they don’t use social media.
The logic behind this answer is straightforward and takes just some basic knowledge in communication theory (and practice). Even the simplest communication model teaches you that communication happens and succeeds, when a receiver gets and understands a message from a sender in a certain code through a certain channel. Communication fails if one of these parameters leaks – no sender means no message means no communication; no receiver means nobody, who gets and understands the message; wrong code means confusion means communication breakdown. And: Wrong channel means communication failure.
A channel is adversely choosen, if it doesn’t connect the sender with the receiver. For instance you can’t hit me by e-mail, if I don’t check my mail box. In this case a phone call would be a better option, because I always have my cell phone on and with me.
The same is true for social media. If a social media platform, say Facebook, doesn’t connect your business with your (potential) customers, then don’t use it! For instance you are steel producer and you deliver tons of steel to large enterprises in the heavy industry. Do you believe that you get a single contract by using Facebook? For sure you won’t. The same is true, if you run an investment bank and you do wealth management for high end private banking clients. These clients won’t show up on social media and if they do, then most probably for leisure or hobby, only, but rather not for business purposes. So again, social media turns out to be a waist of time for you and your business.
So the bottom line of my note is this: Promote your business by using social media channels, if – and only if! – your (potential) customers use social media, too. But forgo Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, if your (potential) customers refuse to use it.