This article was published 15 years ago

Social networks don’t work for businesses

The new money-making trend on the Internet is getting your business on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

My Twitter feed is constantly pegged with messages advertising services for businesses to get on social networks. They advertise why its important your business should be on Twitter because your business can interact with customers. They link to articles that explain why you should pay hundreds of dollars so you can hear presentations from people with fake titles like “social media expert”.

Maybe these groups should explore the depths of the Internet as more studies are being reported that social networks don’t work for businesses.

The most recent study comes from Citibank/GfK Roper as they interviewed 500 small businesses across the United States. The findings:

  • 76% haven’t found social networks like Facebook, Twitter and the rest in generating business leads
  • 86% aren’t using social networking sites
  • 42% rely on their website to generate business leads

Those that disagree with the findings will note that this survey was tied to bigger survey about how business are dealing with the recession. This is something they can’t argue: this is the second study that confirms that social networks are used to interact with friends and not to interact with a corporation.

Many more findings will come out and say the same thing.

While the latest survey says 21% of small businesses are using social networks to promote their brand. Those that are using tme are doing it wrong.

However, some are using it correctly.

The cable-giant Comcast has an excellent model in using social networks (well, a social network). @Comcastcares is an excellent example of using social networks correctly and should be a model that others should copy.

The rest just use them to promote their brand, which can become annoying and damage your image. Trying posting something negative about a product. Chances are a competitor will respond.

Post about how awful AT&T service is on Twitter and you’ll probably get a response from Sprint, begging you to switch from AT&T. “Save$240 a year when switch from AT&T” reads the response/ad.

The same applies when asking a tech-related question, especially when finding a new webhosting provider.

People use social networks to interact with friends. They don’t want to be bothered with ads. If companies don’t understand that social networks are for interacting and not for advertising, your image will suffer.