Is Social Media Worth It?

Now there’s a provocative question!

I read recently that Social Media as a premise is one of the cheapest forms of marketing available, but frankly if you take into account the time either you or the team need to engage with social media, my own view (yes I know me again) is that to say so is complete bunkum!

Ok I here you say ,”LinkedIn is great for us freelancers”,and of course there are networking groups which I agree is great if you are a consultant and have developed a reputation as an expert in that relevant field , making money from public speaking , expos, and selling books but I really don’t think it works that well for small businesses without a great deal of time or money.

A business owner should be concentrating on finance, strategy, growth, rather than writing blogs and engaging on Twitter and Facebook, so one can imagine a marketing department “bigging” up Social Media and pleading for more cash to bolster their already bloated team so they can spend more time on Facebook.

Not only do the marketing team need more people to laze around on Facebook (sorry for that dig, but I have had such bad experiences where countless hours have been wasted by staff on personal stuff whilst at work)  but also in any well run company they need to monitor such efforts. Indeed exactly what is the return on investment one would get from promotion and engaging with Facebook or Twitter? How many sales has the team generated by spending their days on Social Media? How much time is actually being spent on business vs personal activities? The lines are so blurred that even those  who spend time on personal activities  tell you that “the approach to social media is build up engagement, a following, and then point them in the direction of the sale”.  How can one measure the brand value generated.? All this takes time and time is money.

Well before I progress, allow me to show my hand and say that I for one have always felt that other than for customer service (returns, delivery inquiries, sign ups for discount coupons for larger brands, as examples where it can work really well) Social Media is a complete waste of time and money if you’re trying to increase new direct sales! – Well, … I’ve rather nailed my standard to the mast there I know. Let’s face it, Facebook and Twitter are full of people who want to chat with friends and very few who want to look at or buy products.


Moving on from my own opinions, it’s interesting to read that Nate Elliott of Forrester Research concluded in 2013 following a deal of research into social media that Facebook creates less business value than any other digital marketing opportunity! So there you have it – well perhaps…


Nate said ‘We asked 395 executives from the US, the UK, and Canada how satisfied they were with the business value they get from 13 different online marketing sites and tactics’. Regards facebook Nate said: you’d expect a site boasting the largest audience and perhaps the biggest collection of data to fare well, but we found that Facebook offered less value than anything else on our list”. Indeed the least valuable tactic within Facebook appears to be those paid ads onto which Facebook has shifted its focus.

Below is an Interesting Infographic on  email vs socialmedia marketing. They conclude that email marketing still rules over Social Media. What do you think?

Image courtesy of HostPapa

avatar Name: James Briggs
About: James is a Digital Marketing Consultant with over 12 years of design, development, search engine optimisation and project managment experience previously fullfilling a number of senior roles for two of the South's most well established and successful digital marketing agencies before setting up WebSafe Solutions Ltd in 2009. In his own words..."I've planned, designed and developed countless websites and am proud to have helped hundreds of clients to get the very best from their digital marketing campaigns. Some would say I have an unusual blend of knowledge, skill and experience and for my sins I'm an absolute perfectionist!"
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