Come on! You have to! Everybody’s doing it. … Right?

Peer pressure can be a powerful thing, even in the business world. With so much being talked, blogged, and reported about social media, it can be hard to determine if your business should jump into the social media pool. Here are a few things to consider before going off the deep end:

The Purpose of Social Media

Well, the name pretty much says it all. It’s a communications vehicle through which people engage and share information. This is an important concept as the oldest and most effective form of advertising is word of mouth – which platforms like Facebook and Twitter replicate through the Internet.

What is the nature of your business?

Ask yourself, “Does the nature of my services/products require me to actively engage with my customers on a regular basis?” Better yet, “Do my clients WANT to engage with me on a regular basis?” If you’re a CPA and mainly see the bulk of your clients once a year during tax season, you probably don’t NEED social media to keep your business thriving.

Can I invest the time and resources?

Social media is centered on relationship building

Social media is centered on relationship building, and it requires a regular commitment to make it worth both your and your customers’ time. You need to be able to respond to questions and comments in a reasonable amount of time. If you don’t have time to login and engage, it has the same impact as ignoring a customer who walks into your office to ask a question.

Can I handle criticism?

People can get really nasty on the Internet, justified or not, as they feel like they can hide behind a cloak of anonymity. However, you have to always keep a cool head and respond like a professional because once you click send, your comment is out there for the whole world to see; and there’s no taking it back.

Most Importantly

Most importantly consider how you obtain most of your clients and referrals. First put your money and energy first into the vehicles that are producing qualified customers for you, then decide if you want to get your feet wet in social media. But when you set up that Pinterest or Twitter account, make sure to have a game plan and have realistic expectations on what you hope to accomplish through your social media activities.