Social media offers the promise of cheap, highly targeted marketing communications that can turn on the taps for any small business. But will it?

The truth is that social media is often overrated as a marketing tool especially for small business owners. Some reasons:

  1. If you simply post content to your company Facebook or LinkedIn page, hardly anyone will see it, even if you have thousands of followers. Social networks choke the viewership to ensure that you spend money with them to reach your full audience.
  2. To get thousands of followers in the first place requires – you guessed it – that you spend money on promoting your posts.
  3. Assuming that you do decide to dump money into promoting posts, odds are that the likes and followers you will attract won’t translate into paying customers.
  4. “But what about the ability to hyper-target your audience?”, I hear you say. This is a big attraction to social media, but don’t be mistaken! Unless your target niche is a well-defined and passionate group, like the local birding club, you are most likely going to struggle to get much interest.

The sad truth is that no matter how fantastic and targeted your social media activity is, it is hardly a blip in people’s busy lives. Be honest, when last did you engage with an ad on Facebook?

Don’t believe the hype. Apart from a few outliers, you are well advised not to rely only on social media for your marketing activity. Ultimately there are no silver bullets in marketing. Always combine multiple approaches to convey your message.