Social Media Sucks for Businesses and Here’s Why

by · May 16, 201250 comments

Let’s just get straight to the point… social media sucks. Plain and simple. For years it’s been “business as usual” and then suddenly everyone is bouncing around words like “social”, “engage”, “community” and all kinds of other blather. Some of the biggest companies in the world such as Ford, Starbucks, Dell, American Express and many others have fallen for the trap. I’m here to warn you before you do anything stupid. Social media sucks and here’s a few reasons why …

  1. Social media shifts the limelight from brands to the customers. It was fine when brands were the stars. They spoke and customers listened. Now customers are the ones who speak and expect to be heard. Social networks like Twitter and Facebook allow them to easily share their opinions. Ecommerce sites even encourage the most vocal folks to leave customer reviews directly next to each product. Of course it’s all bad when you allow a negative review to slip by.
  2. Social media forces companies to learn new tools. Never mind that it’s easier than ever to measure customer sentiment, track sales conversions, identify qualified sales leads and decrease customer service costs. The phone email and fax are the only toolset you need. In fact, the growth of smart phone owners last year increased by 10% to a total of 46% of American adults making it even easier to cold call folks wherever they may be, right? Besides, what could any respectable sales person do with social media besides tweet about their lunch and play Farmville? (hint)
  3. Social media has changed the direction of marketing and sales from outbound to inbound. Companies are becoming more like publishers and distributers of content.  An average of 60% of B2B respondents to a recent content marketing survey say they intend to increase their content marketing budgets over the next 12 months.
  4. Social media provides lots of ways for customers to get information. Why can’t customers simply trust corporate web sites or call their helpful sales reps?  Instead they actively share buying experiences and solicit opinions from friends and followers. Remember the increase in smartphone ownership I mentioned previously? Well it looks like some folks are using their smartphone for a bit more than just phone calls and Angry Birds.
  5. Social media forces companies to be more human. No more do layers of automated customer support systems, grinning celebrity endorsements, slick promotional campaigns and PR spin guard me from facing my customer at the end of the day. They know that behind every business is a group of human beings just like them. They expect a reasonable touch of empathy in their interaction with a brand. Traditional marketing only takes you so far without that empathy. Even great companies have felt the sting of forgetting this key ingredient. Communications, customer service, sales, product development and marketing are all places where empathy should exist. Brands need to be walking in a pair of their customer’s shoes at all times if they hope to keep pace with the today’s connected customer.

Well there you have it. A handful of reasons why social media sucks for businesses. As you might have noticed by now I’m being facetious, but there are still plenty of business owners and C-level folks who think of social media as a flash in the pan or all fun and games. The bottom line is that it’s a reality. Applying social media to business takes effort, time, commitment and empathy. To those that continue to dismiss social media before doing their due diligence, social media is going to continue to suck.

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About Adam Helweh

Adam Helweh

Adam is CEO of Secret Sushi Creative Inc, a strategic design, digital and social media marketing agency. He specializes in the convergence of design and technology to provide businesses with more intelligent and interactive ways to connect with customers and grow. His clients have included Edelman, Broadcom, Stanford Federal Credit Union, the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, Bunchball and others. He's also the co-host of the "SoLoMo Show", a weekly digital marketing podcast, and he has shared the stage with professionals from companies including Facebook, Virgin Airlines, Paypal, Dell and 24 Hour Fitness.

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Comments & Reactions

Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • Raad Afyouni

    Great article but the headline does not have the same tone as the body text in essence. Social media forcing companies to be more human? How is that bad? That’s a great shift if you ask me.

  • andreacook

    I don’t like this, I LOVE IT. Well said Adam! 

    • Adam Helweh

      Always nice when folks use the word “love” to describe how they feel about anything you do. Thanks for that @twitter-15489387:disqus 

  • Jennalyns

    Loved this. Can I have that graphic as a Tshirt?

    • Adam Helweh

      Had I know there would be a demand I might have created it in a better format. Alas, it is only a low quality web image. Maybe if enough people ask we can create a nicer version for shirts in the future. What you say? 

  • Derek Overbey

    You big jokester Adam! I’m glad you didn’t really go off the deep end. Love the fact that you have drank the kool aid.

    • Adam Helweh

      Did I worry you Derek? Did I have you fooled initially? :)

      • Derek Overbey

        Anyone else maybe but not you! You get it too much! :-)

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  • Betty

    You nailed it, Adam! For companies that refuse to grow, social media does indeed suck!

    • Adam Helweh

      And you nailed it with your comment @029eef868380bb57ccd364b00358e104:disqus ! Thanks.

  • basilbart

    Great post! It helps to make business popular in the world and it is the best
    method to grow business in all over the world.


  • Muhammad Ayaz

    Nice post social media has certainly revolutionized the modern day marketing style and businesses grow more rapidly if they used the proper strategy.

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  • Matt Powers

    Some companies may still find social media to ‘suck’ or inconvenient, but its a new way of doing business and here to stay for all the reasons above.  Business that haven’t embraced this change are soon to fall off.  LOVE THIS POST

    • Adam Helweh

      Agreed Matt. There are still the few businesses that might not find the return needed to justify the time/tech/resource investment just yet, but soon it will happen. Due diligence is needed to determine that. It’s only a matter of time.

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  • Anita Loomba

    Great post! You’ve really defined how social media has changed marketing. Businesses need to embrace it or else they’ll get left behind – especially with the trend of SoLoMo (social, local & mobile) opportunities.

    • Adam Helweh

      Thanks Anita. You like SoLoMo? Then check out my podcast a Would love to hear how you like it.

      • Anita Loomba

         I will definitely check it out, thanks for sharing!

  • Perrine V. Crampton

    Adam, great post! Thank you for the wonderful links to supporting material too. :-)

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  • Marc Ensign

    I have to be honest…I made it through the first one or two and went right down to the comments to give you a verbal smack-down. After seeing how much everyone agreed I figured I was either missing something or your entire reader base are a bunch of drones. Glad I finished reading it.

    • Adam Helweh

      So what you’re saying Marc is that I had you until you read the end? :)

      • Marc Ensign

        There are people out there that actually think that way…glad you’re not one of them :)

        • Adam Helweh

          Thanks Marc. I just think it’s awesome that I fooled you. Was the point. 

  • 40deuce

    I totally agree. I don’t see why any company would be interested in using social media =)

    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

  • Blane Russell

    I read the article and arguments point out many facts about smartphone users and that businesses can go without social media, but it doesn’t convince how it is necessarily bad for business.

    • Adam Helweh

      You obviously did not read the post then.

  • Wing Banners

    I don’t think so. It could be but once you’ve done the right way it’s awesome. 

  • raimonnemar

    I want it said I was never fooled. How anyone could think this article is actually dissing social for business can only be attributed to great writing.

  • Awais Akhtar

    Adam! Bro you had me there till the second heading! I have to admit I’ve been fooled that far :P ! While I was going through the third heading it occurred to me “WAIT A MINUTE” all this actually supports Social Media :D 

    Haha.. Over all a great article for all the Social Media Managers, experts and analysts :) 

    • Adam Helweh

      I love hearing how you and others have reacted to this post. Makes me grin. Glad you liked it.

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  • Jessica Quest

    Social media stopped sucking for businesses the moment came out lol. I mean, my business uses it as a tool. Only network I find value in besides Twitter.

  • Jason Cruz

    Social media DOES suck.

    For the company unwilling to make more business, that is :)

    • Bigcountry988

      So hitting the LIKE button of facebroke makes a business more profitable? Hope you’re not wasting money on student loans.

      • Adam Helweh

        Sounds like you never attempted to read the post. 

  • Nonya Business

    You are right.  Social Media does suck.  Otherwise, why does google get all of it’s B2B accounts from direct mail?  Kind of ironic that they don’t just rock the social media thing.  

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    Hi Adam!

    Good one.

    Social media is all about everyday lives, behavior, relationship…its all about the human not brands! Social media takes time and effort as what advertising is to the brand. In social media is been invaded by advertising and becomes a brand not a place for socializing.

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  • Payal chauhan

    Yes, this post is raising a important point and its that social media sucks for business. Social media continuously interfering in companies plans. By flipkart best offers