If you follow my posts, you know that I am not an advocate of wasting resources on social media advertising. Social media marketing works with some businesses. Not many, but it does benefit some.So how can you determine if you should invest in social media marketing?

We should get clear about what I am referring to as social media. Primarily, that is a reference to Facebook. Candidates for social media might also add Twitter and Google+ to their portfolio. Linkedin, not so much. Linkedin will serve you best if Facebook is not right for you.

Should you launch a Facebook page? If you have a business with customers who want interact with each other, you might benefit from the huge time investment required to properly participate with Facebook. A daycare center is a good example. The parents like to interact and exchange ideas about activities or curricula. If your center starts a new program, social media is a great place to make an announcement. The bonding of your customers creates a bond for your business. If your customers are happy, Facebook will benefit you. If not, the entire social experiment could backfire.

Few businesses have customers who want to interact with each other. If your business manufactures parts for industrial use, you will not find supply chain managers “liking” you on Facebook. They are too busy for that and generally do not want public exposure of their sources.

Linkedin is an entirely different platform with different participants. If your business could benefit from connections with professionals of similar fields of interest, join Linkedin.

Before you fall for the trap of “Get 10,000 Likes on Facebook”, think about whether you want that. Ask yourself, do your customers want a ‘gathering place’? If so, do they want to swap information because of common interests or are they looking for a means to resolve complaints? Facebook is often used for that purpose. If you want improve your service, do it. You don’t need Facebook; you need to be responsive. Keep the laundry in the laundry room.

What percentage of businesses have customers who want to, and have time to interact? Few. I would estimate fewer than 5% of businesses would actually benefit from bothering with Facebook.

Do I have a Facebook page for my business? Yes. I have it so I can understand both how it works and what it produces. I know how it works. I also know it produces nothing.

Think about it. Who wants to post “my business is failing and I need your advice” for all the world to see? For me, it’s not going to work, ever.

If there is no measurable return on investment, why do it? Don’t buy that line that “you just need to be there”. You don’t.

Chris Reich, TeachU