4 Common Excuses from Social Media Skeptics

Yes, Oprah’s on Twitter and so’s your 50-year old neighbor but that doesn’t mean everyone is on planet Social Media. Once you get out of the social media bubble and if you’re willing to listen to some professionals in the B2B space, you’ll more likely than not, come up against pockets of resistance to the new media. I have tremendous respect for folks who think before latching on to the latest latest fad and and in a previous post, I gave 5 reasons why social media skeptics may be onto something. But, there is a difference between healthy skepticism and unwillingess to change/adapt to a new environment.

Here are 4 typical pushbacks that I’ve come across that are a result of ignorance rather than pragmatism:

#1 “Our customers don’t do social media” I have heard this excuse so many times, even from organizers of social media events, who have confessed that they don’t see the value of social media for their customers. So finally, I asked one of them, “If your customers don’t read blogs or tweet, what channels do they use? Have you asked where they’re getting their information” and the answer is often a resounding “No”. Many professionals who play the “New media doesn’t apply to our customers” card haven’t even talked to their customers because leading research shows that social media is increasing in use among B2B marketers. Many purchase decision-makers pay attention to non-traditional media such as blogs and now, Twitter, thanks to big name celebrities. How much social media influences their decision-making is something the skeptics need to look into rather than hiding behind this excuse.

#2 “We’ve tried it but didn’t get any response” There’s a sense of “build it and they will come” attitude that’s very destructive for social media implementation because poor execution and lack of promotion is often blamed on the media. Companies spend a lot of time encouraging their employees to blog and tweet but don’t really spend any time promoting their efforts to the customers. “Tell our customer, what we’re doing? What a crazy concept!” Social media is new and will take some time for your customer base to adopt. That’s no different from email, not everyone was on it but you need to promote it and do it well for it to be successful.

#3  “There’s no clear ROI” That’s another common excuse that I’ve heard over and over again. Many companies still struggle with the ROI dilemma, but if social media doesn’t have clear returns, neither do many of traditional alternatives that your company currently uses. Just because you can measure it, doesn’t mean it’s working. Social media metrics should be tied to clear business objectives and keep in mind, setting up a new channel will take time. Marketers who expect results overnight are setting themselves up for failure. Given that even the most traditional and established media struggle with the question of attribution, we need to give social media due time to get to its full potential.

#4 “It’s a fad”  Skeptics can keep hoping that the social media fad will blow over but hype aside, social media gives you the the ability to engage directly with your customers and that’s very powerful. Social sharing features provide the ability to make your marketing more impactful and empower your customers, champions to do the marketing for you and that’s not something you want to wish away. 

I am too much of a pragmatist to buy into all that jazz about how “social media is so wonderful and everyone on the planet should be on Twitter” but that being said, social media is inevitable. Engaging with our customers isn’t new, it’s not rocket-science, and it’s a no-brainer. So if social media tools enable us to do a better job at it, you either learn to do it and do it right, or else risk being irrelevant to your customers. While it’s not perfect, social media is revolutionizing the way we do business and communication, sooner companies learn how to navigate it the better off they’ll be in the long-run.


18 responses to “4 Common Excuses from Social Media Skeptics

  1. Your blog post covering The 4 Common Excuses From Social Media Skeptics were key points. It’s interesting that when someone doesn’t choose to adopt a strategy or isn’t willing to develop new skills that they’ll make the excuses rather than research it to see if it’s viable.

    Some of the same companies that use at least one of the four common excuses would do market research to consider another type of advertising campaign or perhaps a new product line and would consider it to be due dilligence.

    Perhaps it simply comes down to what they are comfortable with and they are no longer as innovative as they used to be since it’s harder to get big ideas past the board room or it would create an increased amount of delegation without any additional incentive.

    Doing social media as some put it isn’t doing anything for any company unless there’s an established strategy including the goals and the implementation strategy to reach them. Before those can be established it’s a great idea to be checking out the demographics to see if the people you want to reach in your industry are there. You need that hungary crowd!

    The best quote you made was: “Given that even the most traditional and established media struggle with the question of attribution, we need to give social media due time to get to its full potential.” and that resonates with me. Chris I appreciate your great Insight!

    • Thanks for the comment, James! I agree, it’s not easy to get out of your comfort zone and that kills innovation. I am not suggesting blindly rushing into social media but holding out just because of fear isn’t an option for businesses any more.



  2. So funny. Here’s my answers..

    #1 “our customers don’t do social media”
    Answer: The will…and you can probably play catch-up later. Everybody loves a good “come from behind” story.

    #2 “we’ve tried it but didn’t get any response”
    Answer: Hmmm…then you might want to avoid that “flyer on the windshield” campaign you’ve got planned. After all, that’s how you treated “people” online. Maybe we’ll have better results with the auto-dialer campaign we have planned for next month.

    #3 “there’s no clear ROI.” (oh boy.. this is my favorite)
    Answer: Nope. If you need one, I can’t help you. Scratch that. If you need one, I will not help you.

    #4 “it’s a fad” (ok… hang on…let me catch my breath…)
    Answer: I still say computers and the internet are a fad…I just can’t figure out why everyone keeps using them…constantly…all day long…for everything. I’m not the crazy one….everyone else is.


    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to have a little fun with a favorite topic of mine. This was actually a good time.

    See you around.

    • Hi there! As I already tweeted, thank you for the GREAT comment!! You’re welcome to be a guest blogger on my blog , any time 🙂

  3. All excellent points! I wholeheartedly agree — social media is far from perfect, but it adds a human element to business communications and enables us to better engage our customers.

    Also, great response @medxcentral.

    • Thanks for stopping by! Very well said, humanizing customer contact has long been the elusive goal for businesses. Now that social media/web 2.0 tools are enabling the human element, it’s time to leverage them.

  4. Pingback: 4 Common Excuses from Social Media Skeptics: marketingmystic.wordpress.com (Via @MiaD) Great read! - Twitoaster

  5. All and all – it doesnt matter what you personally think of social media.
    The fact is that it is another new way for marketers to both promote themselves, and keep in touch with their prospects and customers.
    saying “I dont like it so I won’t do it”, or even “I don’t think it’ll work so I wont do it” is simply foolish these days, when we all saw time after time the power of Twitter, FB, Stumble etc.

    Very good post tho, I’ve enjoyed it, and it’s comments.

    • Thanks for the comment, glad you enjoyed the post. Social media can be a powerful ally in driving business/marketing objectives, hard to believe that companies are still willing to walk away from that instead of exploring it.

      Agree, great comments make blogging worthwhile 🙂

  6. It seems easier for many to rubbish SM than take the time to figure out whether the various platforms available are a good fit for their business. It is undeniable that there is a lot of “noise” out there, particularly on Twitter, but it is equally undeniable that the rules have changed with regard to marketing.

    Whether twitter is still here in 2 years is a moot point – there will be online media of some description so why not figure out whether what is available can work for you now?

    At the risk of being provocative, the answer often seems to be that it is easier to nay-say than take to the time and effort to carry out this evaluation. There is a learning curve on SM, as there is with ANY marketing tool. In this “get today” world it seems that folks want immediate results without putting in the effort – therefore it is easier to say: “Doesn’t work”, “it’s a fad”, “where’s the ROI” than really work through the tools and figure out their application. Alternatively they go online and simply blast out sales messages and then are surprised that doesn’t work!

    It MAY be valid to decide it doesn’t fit your business, but only after you have been through that evaluation – not before you have even looked into it.

    • Hi Jerry,
      Great comment! Given that social media has the potential to make your marketing more powerful and can directly impact your customers/bottom line, it’s shocking that there are still folks out there who are willing to risk ignoring it in the hopes that it will go away.
      Based on the overwhelming response I’ve received, changing entrenched culture and moving folks out of their comfort zone is challenging. But my favorite quote is by Gen Shinseki who said, “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”

  7. Indeed the most interesting comment is about Social Media being a fad. This is undoubtedly coming from marketers that have been in the business for many years and still see print media as the most effective way to advertise. Their tried and true methods are being encroached upon and they need to recognize that this whole internet thing is not a fad. Regardless if Twitter is a fad something will evolve that will continue to keep Social Media a viable tool for businesses to use.

    • Hiya Dennis! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
      Very well said. Skeptics are getting too hung up on the tools/sites and missing the point, which is regardless of whether Twitter or other social sites die tomorrrow, the need for the human ie. social element won’t go away any time soon.

  8. Hmm weird, theres a whole section thats not shown when using firfox.

  9. Mia, great chatting with you during the #MTBCevent here in dallas. The great one I heard today about social media as a fad was the response from the Speaker. Is conversation a fad? well then I guess not. Great post.

    Mike D. Merrill
    Chief Bacon Maker and Marketing Strategist
    Bacon Marketing

    • Hi Mike,
      It was great tweeting with you too! Glad you liked the post. Look forward to more conversations with you in future.

  10. Ignore Social Media at your own peril.

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