Why social media IS important, but not THAT important

Social media has been heralded as the next big step for marketing, and is expected to forever change how marketing is conducted. While social media is important, one must realise that by nature marketers often exaggerate the impact of their ideas. While social media is important, it is not THAT important. In fact, it’s just an extension of what we already know and do in marketing.

Social media describes any type of social activity which is created and maintained online. Social media includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and any other web application which allows an exchange of ideas, information, pictures, video, or other content. This extends to content sharing sites such as Reddit and Tumblr.

Why does social media exist? Social media provides us humans a way to communicate and socialise without physical limitations. Social media is created for us to learn and play together without actually being in the same physical space. We can share experiences, moments, and have conversations all in one space. The most important takeaway here, however, is that social media is created for humans.

Social Media

So why is social media important for businesses? Many businesses get along without a social media presence just fine, and swear by their brick-and-mortar marketing models. While billboard, in-store, television, radio, and print marketing have been around quite a while, many businesses are still new to social media marketing. Missing this form of marketing, however, is a big deal- because it translates to one marketing channel which has been completely ignored. Social media should be seen as another way to engage customers- in fact it may be a way which is much more effective than other traditional channels in a few aspects.

Imagine for a minute that your business is a person. Your brand identity and personality define what that person would be like. You have a face, you provide services, and you dress appropriately for what you do. The physical side of your business is that person. When customers walk into your store, they see how cheerful your staff is, how valuable your services are, and they see how the store is dressed and match that against their expectations. When they walk out of the store, they remember that interaction and may recommend you to some friends. With any luck, you will get to meet their other friends depending on how much they like you, and if you really develop a relationship, you could meet them very often.

Back before the internet became commonplace, you may send letters or call friends before meeting. Many people would use word-of-mouth to communicate, and if for example you wanted to meet them you would arrange a time and place physically. While going through your life, you’d temporarily forget about them until it was necessary to remember them again.


Nowadays, however, people use social media to arrange for such things. Create an event on facebook, tweet a status to your followers, instagram your experiences and pinterest what you would like to do next. If you were a person without social media accounts, you may miss out on social activities your friends participate in. You won’t hear about what they have been doing, and you won’t be able to share what you have been doing either. Essentially, you would be missing a whole online segment. Nowadays, someone without social media would find it very hard to find and keep friends outside their immediate psychical realities.

For businesses, this is exactly the same. Having a brick-and-mortar store is like a person standing in the middle of the street looking for people they know. Sure, you’ll get to meet lots of new people and the interactions you have physically would be much more engaging and meaningful than exchanging messages online, but you’d be missing out on all your other friends who have social media accounts. This is why social media is so important, even for small businesses. Unless you’re happy with being completely reliant on impulse buying and loyal customers, this is not a very good strategy. While there are other marketing techniques, these mass-media communication channels are often expensive and not very effective at targeting certain people. They merely work by the sheer number of people who see it.


At the same time, social media is not anything magical or mystical. It is a tool
designed for humans to connect, and if used as such will generate appropriate results. Just by creating a social media page does not automatically make everyone fall in love with you. It won’t cause millions of customers to flood to meet you, nor will it make you that much more likeable. If you want to succeed at social media, you must manage it properly, just like any other person. The great thing about social media, however, is that it was created with humans in mind. By utilising it, you are not only showing off your brand and business, but humanising your company as well.

To maximise your potential, create and maintain an active social media account. Use it as if you were a person. Connect with customers and converse with them. Use it to find out more about them, just as they use it to find out more about you. Use it to show them aspects of your personality and identity which they would otherwise not see in-person. Do that, and you will meet new customers and develop greater relationships. Ignore social media, and you won’t know what you’re missing out on.

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