Top 4 Reasons Why Companies Are Scared of Social Media

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laptopBusinesses that have become active in social media have quickly learned that an effective social media strategy can benefit just about every company, regardless of industry, size, products or services.

But while many businesses are starting to embrace the power of social media and have willingly adopted social media strategies as part of their marketing campaigns, there are still many companies that are hesitant to take the plunge. And worse, there are companies who jump into social media because everyone else is doing it but quickly get in over their heads because they lack a deliberate and appropriate plan for effectively using the various social media outlets.

In this first of a three-post series, we will explore why some companies are fighting the social media phenomenon. My next post will outline how you can convince your company or a client that it’s time to embrace social media, and I’ll wrap up by providing a set of tips for any small business ready to get started in social media.

So, let’s start by taking a look at some of the reasons why companies are hiding from social media.

Lack of Understanding

Despite its acceptance, there is still a great deal of confusion about social media, especially when it comes to business use. This is often compounded for established businesses with traditional (i.e. old school) decision-makers who have difficulty seeing the value of the Web, even in general terms.

Many companies also see social media as outlets meant strictly for personal use, and don’t understand how web sites used by teenagers and college students can actually function as an effective marketing tool for a business.

Concerns about Brand Management

Social media campaigns can be viewed as risky to some companies, especially if the business currently doesn’t interact with its customers on a personal level. Some companies worry that stepping up on a social media platform will cost them control of their brand and open them up to complaints and negative publicity. They may also worry that they will be unable to meet the needs of their customers if they did interact with them individually.

Lack of Time and Personnel

While social media strategies can be successful for little financial investment, time and someone “in-the-know” are required for an effective social media campaign. Many business owners simply don’t have the time to learn what they need to know to get involved in social media themselves. And if they do not already have a staff member well-versed in social media who can add a social media focus to their daily work, they may be stuck trying to arrange the logistics before they even reach the starting block.

Belief that It’s a Passing Fad

The number of business owners who state that social media is just a fad often surprises me. These business owners claim that they have no desire to invest any energy in a trend that will be on its way out in the near future. This fear factor is usually precipitated by the lack of understanding listed above, and is common among the same “old school” business owners who are overwhelmed by the vast number of unknowns that come with this new strategy.

If one (or all) of these reasons is relevant to your company or a client who you believe could truly benefit from social media marketing, what can you do to get them over the hurdle? My next post will outline some ways to convince the company that the benefits of social media far outweigh the dangers…and get them excited to start a new social media strategy in their business.

Image credit: amr_safey

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  • Johnny

    It is a fad. Look at all of to connect with friends, not for business reasons), and now twitter(just plain stupid). It always cracks me up when a company has an ad in a legitimate medium (tv, newspaper, m the companies that jumped onto Myspace (got too personal and strange), and then Youtube(too many new videos and competition unless you are a music video company), and then facebook(majority of people like catching up with friends, not reading about business info. The list just keeps growing. The problem with social sites is that they have around a 2 year max before the next great thing happens. However, when a company does take the leap, it takes a lot of time and sometimes money, so they don’t want to release the previous fads. They just keep adding them. Who honestly follows Pepsi on Twitter? Give me a break. I have better things to do… like read sitepoint…

    Fact is, most of these sites can’t, or don’t turn a profit, or a large enough one to make shareholders and investors money. Therefore they will dissapear. Read: FAD