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The Great Social Media Debate

By Prashant Pinge | Small Business

The social media debate is blazing the corridors of marketing. I’ve seen plenty of articles which say that investing in social media is a waste of time. On the other hand, there are numerous counter arguments that say social media is a must have for any business today. Each side presents arguments and counter arguments to support their versions. So what’s the reality? Is social media really as useful as some claim or is it simply a fad that will soon run out of steam? Before we answer that, let’s at least set one thing straight. I don’t think anyone would dispute that social media is immensely popular today.

I’ve written a few posts wherein I mention that social media has failed to deliver on many of its promises. And I stand by that. But let me also point out that a big reason for this has been that many businesses have jumped on the social media bandwagon without any thought. They have treated it as a magical pill that will make all their marketing woes disappear in an instant. Social media is a tool like any other. The outcome of using social media will depend upon how businesses wield that tool. Simply adopting a plug and play approach can only lead to disastrous consequences. So business should adopt a proper strategy when it comes to social media.

For those who advocate social media as something every business should have, let me caution them by saying that some industries are probably more naturally geared up for success than others. Hence, I wouldn’t say that it’s a panacea for everyone’s marketing problems. It becomes necessary to analyze the dynamics of one’s business, understand one’s customers, assess how social media can add value to the customer experience, and how it can be integrated into the overall marketing strategy. Once there is clarity, then an informed decision can be made about how to exactly ensure that social media can truly benefit the business. Otherwise, it is simply a me-too ploy that will fail every time.

In short, social media is a tool. The outcome will always depend upon its relevance to the business and how well it manages to use it within its overarching marketing strategy.

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