If a business isn’t social, it has no business on social media.

Social group of friendsLet’s say you’re not a very social person. Antisocial even.

When you go to a local bar, you don’t talk to anyone. And people rarely talk to you because, well, you give off a vibe that you’re not interested in listening to them.

It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. Doesn’t even mean you don’t like people. It just means you’re not social. So people leave you alone.

Now let’s say you do have one friend, and that friend suggests you try a different bar. It seems this second bar is a really, really social place. Your friend thinks it might change things for you.

So you go to the second bar, and you don’t talk to anyone. They get that same vibe of yours and leave you alone.

The point being, in spite of his or her good intentions, your friend should have known that a change in bars wouldn’t make any difference.

If you’re not a social person, being in a “really, really social place” won’t make a difference.

I see the same story playing out with companies and social media. All the time.

If a company doesn’t have a culture that is naturally social, it doesn’t matter whether they’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube or anywhere else.

A company that isn’t social won’t get into conversations with their customers and prospects. And their customers and prospects get the same “stay away” vibe.

You can tell which companies these are, because they use their social media platforms as broadcast channels. They’re not there to talk or listen to their friends or followers. They are there simply to tell them about their latest product launch, event or offer.

People figure this out and stop following them, or unfriend them.

Then the company turns around and says, “Social media doesn’t work! It’s a waste of money!”

Social media isn’t the problem here. It’s the antisocial companies that are the problem.

I was reading recently that Nestle is moving all the websites for its instant coffee brand, Nescafe, over to Tumblr.

Their thinking is that that Tumblr is a really, really social place, compared to a tradition website platform.

Therefore, their thinking goes, they’ll get a lot more social traction happening with their younger customers and prospects.

Hmmm…we’ll see.

If the transition from traditional platform over to the Tumblr platform takes place with no change in the social culture of the company itself, I bet it won’t make any difference at all.

They’ll look like some guy in his fifties dropping into a teenage party, hoping young people will suddenly think he’s really cool.

As always, problems like these represent an opportunity.

When a company asks me for help with social media, the first thing I talk about is the social culture within their own company. Not every company likes me asking that question, and sometimes I don’t get the gig.

But when I do get the gig, it gets really interesting. Before I even start on what they might do with social media, I get to talk with them about ways to loosen up internally and develop a more open and social culture that makes for a better fit with social media and, more broadly, social marketing as a whole.

I’m writing about this because I keep coming across posts and articles that tell me social media is dead.

That’s nonsense.

Social media is only dead to those companies that don’t understand it.

In fact, it’s the companies that don’t understand social media that are dead, or getting there.

The future of marketing is social and mobile. And all those companies that whine about social media had better get with the program.

Or they’ll find themselves in the corner of that bar, nursing their fifth drink, and wondering why nobody likes them.


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About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach.

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4 thoughts on “If a business isn’t social, it has no business on social media.

  1. Thank you, Nick! You make such a great point. I work with solopreneurs and find we often need to start with the question, “Who are you?” An introvert who’s great at one-on-one, but terrified of being in front of people, needs a different marketing plan than an extrovert. There are so many ways to successfully market a business online, and recognizing company culture, or individual personality at the start is key.

  2. Facebook is only “pay for play” now for business pages. I don’t care what your biz culture is. Only 1 to 5% of business pages show up organically in news feeds. How do we get around that?

    And it looks like Google is abandoning Google+.

    What SM outlets do you recommend that can actually offer some traction?

    • Donna, hi

      I think you exaggerate a little. ; ) I have a Facebook business page for my coffee website. Of the total who like the page, between 10% and 15% get to see my updates. Not great, but better than 1% or 5%. The reach is impacted by the number of people who like the update, share it and comment on it. Beyond that, yes, it’s pay to play.

      As for Google+, it hasn’t been abandoned. And that’s direct from the Twitter stream of Larry Page. For sure, there are some questions about the future of Google+, but there is no need to discount it quite yet.


  3. I beg to differ. Sometime social media is dead to certain industries and individuals.

    Okay some anti-social companies do just need to loosen up and get with the program. But other companies are never going to be a social gadflies due to the services or products they offer.

    People usually don’t want to have lively conversations with people who run…nursing homes, insurance agencies or funeral homes. And how often would you read ‘burning and itching’ tweets from your proctologist?

    Okay, I can see a plumber yakking it up on Facebook about bathroom remodeling but what if they specialize in septic tank cleaning?

    Or what about the introverts, who might find a lot of social media exchanges mentally tiring and find that it zaps all their energy?

    Or businesses that are required to have a high level of discretion or confidentiality? Having a Chatty Cathy on the office twitter account is a quick way to a lawsuit and lost business.

    So in my mind, there will always be businesses that will never have a strong social media presence. Just because a communication channel exists, doesn’t always mean you should use it.

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