I hate to be the one to say it but social media is not the answer to all of your business problems. Even though, some people will tell you that all you have to do is get a Facebook account and hoards of new customers will come running through your door, I’m going to argue the opposite. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of social media, but it’s important to remember that social media is just another tool in your arsenal. And like any of your other tools, social media has its strengths and weaknesses.
In my mind, social media is a great tool for customer retention and building brand favorability, not for acquiring new customers. I stumbled upon some data today that agrees with me. 2008-to-2010 trends show higher portions of social media marketing budgets being spent on customer retention than customer acquisition.
The general shallow nature of social media makes it hard for me to believe that a facebook “like” or a “follow” on twitter could influence a someone enough to walk into a store that they have never thought about going into before.
As Malcolm Gladwell’s article Small Change points out, social media rarely sparks physical action in the really world at the same magnitude that it does online. Although someone is willing to “like” your company in the zero-barrier-to-entry world of Facebook that does not mean that they are willing to change their behavior in the real world.
Social media is new access point to talk to consumers, not an access point to new consumers.
More resources on the subject: