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This is a question I get often get asked at networking events, by prospective clients, and even current ones. Do I need to use social media? Should I even bother with it?

The short answer is that it depends on your marketing objectives and how much time you’re willing to invest.

Never before in the history of marketing have there been more available channels to promote yourself, your brand, and your services for free. From Instagram to TikTok, Facebook to SnapChat, you can spend all day creating content for an audience.

According to Pew Research, 90% of adults from 18-29 and 82% of adults from 30-49 use at least one social media site. (This is based off US residents, but arguably Canada would have similar results).

But just because something doesn’t have an upfront cost, doesn’t mean that there isn’t a trade-off. Every minute you spend posting something on Facebook is a minute you’re not spending on another aspect of your business – and that does come at a cost. Time you spend creating content, learning a new system, responding to comments, is time not spent responding to emails, working with clients, or shipping your products.

Social media is just one marketing tool that can be used to reach your audience. Other important online pieces include your website, email marketing, and Google AdWords. Social media is not a replacement for these pieces, but an addition to this suite.

Often I hear from people that they are not, “seeing results” from social media. When I dive a bit deeper this translates to:

  • Not having a content strategy for what to post (and what not to post)
  • Technology or other challenges around not knowing how to use the platform(s) effectively
  • Not spending enough time managing their social media channels each week
  • Expecting instant results each time a piece of content is posted

Social media only works if you’re ready and willing to invest the time AND money into it, just like you would an effective website, AdWords campaign, or print ad.

If you get most of your business through in-person meetings, networking events, cold calling, or print campaigns, you might not need to add social media to your to-do list. If you don’t have a system to create compelling content on a regular basis, hold off on starting up another social media channel until you do. If your target market is not on Instagram, then maybe your brand doesn’t need to be either.

Get you social media set up properly to work for your small business.

However, one big learning lesson that has impacted many businesses right now – if you’re a business that has relied on only in-person ways to promote your product, the Coronavirus pandemic has likely had a major impact on how you’re able to secure new business. Having your brand online allows you to future proof many of the ways you find clients. As demographics shift between platforms, you may find your target demographic is now on social media. In person meetings are a wonderful way to conduct business, but we don’t know when we will be able to resume those, and what they are going to look like in the future.

In short – do you need to have a social media presence? The better question to ask is, “Are you committed to showing up on social media to serve a purpose every day for your audience?” If the answer is YES, then everything else can be figured out.

If you’re looking for a starting point to get organized on social media – grab a copy of my FREE 12-month Content Calendar. You’ll find writing prompts, ideas, holidays and events included for 5 days a week of content. The first step to success is creating a plan, start making your social media plan today.