Social Media is Over-Rated

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Social media is one of those buzz words you hear in marketing textbooks and on blogs these days, but I think it is over-rated.

Don’t get me wrong, it has it’s place–so many people spend a large portion of their online activity on social media sites–but does that mean EVERYONE should be advertising there?

There’s a massive push for all companies to advertise on social media sites, particularly Facebook.  What if your customer’s don’t use facebook?  What if it’s B2B?  What if you’re marketing to people who don’t use smartphones at all?  What if you sell large quantities of legal size paper?  There is a place for social media, but it’s not as important to EVERY company as some might suggest.

I propose a list of DO’s and DON’T's for social media.

DON’T use social media:

-If you don’t know why you are using it, who you are targeting, or why they should care.

-When you don’t have any success metrics or goals for tracking the return on investment.

-If you aren’t a mass-market company/product


DO use social media:

-If you have a solid message and strategy for implementing it

-If you are on a small budget and know exactly who you are targeting, and the type of content they want to see

-If you want to inform your existing customers about sales/coupons

-If you want to create community

-If you KNOW how to track your message and how well it’s being received.


  1. on 10.12.2013
    at 1:11 PM

    So, John, I think what you are saying is that companies should not feel obligated to join the social media bandwagon, especially if they are not ready or not cut out for it. It can be more detrimental than positive if used inappropriately or insufficiently.

    • John Green
      on 20.12.2013
      at 8:35 PM

      Hi Sarah, and yes. A solid plan and adaptability is what sets the good from the excellent. People, especially Millenials, can be ‘turned off’ so easily if you don’t have a clear message on your social media platforms. I was mostly attacking Facebook in this post, but the same principals apply across the board. People might not notice if you’re faking it or just playing along, but they WILL notice if you know what you’re doing.

  2. on 17.12.2013
    at 11:34 PM

    I think social media in general is a key when marketing in the digital world. But I think the problem is when companies dive into the wrong media platforms and it just doesn’t make sense for them to be apart. This happens a lot with social networking sites. Why does Kraft Macaroni and Cheese need a Twitter and Facebook page? I have no clue.

    • John Green
      on 20.12.2013
      at 8:29 PM

      Hi Evan! I completely agree; the issue is not really social media–it’s that companies don’t know what their customers want. It all goes back to finding out who your customers are, and how to best communicate with them.

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