Why Do I Need Social Media?


Guess what?

You don’t.

I know, I know – it seems a little odd coming from the Social Media Marketing Institute, but I’ve been in so many meetings where I’ve sat across a table from people with their arms folded asking me the title question of this post when the answer is simple.

You don’t.

Nobody needs Twitter to do more business. You don’t have to have a blog to be an expert and you don’t need Facebook to stay in touch with people. Frankly, if you’re not interested in it and don’t see the point you’re likely not going to have much success anyway because you’ve declared it to be useless before you even used it.

So here’s my alternative: instead of asking why you need social media, ask why you’re asking about it. Is it because you’re looking for new ways to reach and communicate with consumers or because it’s the new toy and you just HAVE to have it? You wouldn’t buy advertising on a whim, or hire a publicist without forethought because those things cost money – social media is free, right?

Wrong. It costs time, commitment, and if you’re planning on hiring someone halfway decent to execute it on your behalf, money.

The point I’m trying to make isn’t a new one. In fact, it’s been cried out from the tops of digital soapboxes for years. We’ve said it on this very blog countless times and you can find variations on the theme strewn around the blogosphere like buoys in the ocean. The point is this:

Social media is part of an overall plan that you utilize because its capabilities extend beyond your business’ current reach. Want a deeper level of engagement or relationship with your consumer? Social media can help. Want to humanize your brand? Social media can help. Want to organize like-minded people to action on a grassroots level? Social media can help. Want to relay targeted but useful information to reach new consumers and retain current consumers? Social media can help.

Maybe the questions isn’t “why do I need social media?”

Maybe it should be “how can I improve and grow my business?” Or “What are our core strengths and weaknesses?” Or “What opportunities are we NOT taking advantage of?”

Any one of those questions will lead you to a much more satisfying answer for your business.

Photo Credit: Horla Varlan