What If a Brand’s Customers Don’t Use Social Media?

social mediaIn a recent blog post, Neil Cavanagh asked an intriguing question: should brands use social media even if their customers don’t?

Given the focus on social media and how it is becoming an integral part of a brand’s marketing and sales activities, it is definitely going against the grain to think about the idea of social media not being used.

One of the major challenges faced by digital marketers is the assumption that everyone has embraced digital – be it Websites, blogs, social media or content marketing.

The idea, for example, that one in seven people in America do not use the Internet or email sounds preposterous….but it’s true.

In the same way, we assume most brands are using social media and many of the customers are using it as well. After all, social media has become ubiquitous, right?

But what if a brand’s customers have little or no use for social media?

What should brands do if, for example, their customers get their information from reading newspapers, TV or the radio (aka traditional media). Does this mean brands should ignore social media?

It’s an intriguing proposition but I think it would be folly for brands to not embrace social media even if their customers aren’t using it…yet.

Instead, brands need to be exploring social media and dipping their toes in the water by using social media networks  their customers might use down the road.

It could mean  a brand’s tweets do nothing but gather dust but, in the process, a brand is gaining valuable experience and insight. This will ensure it is prepared when and/or if their customers eventually come around to the wonders of social media.

Another consideration for brands that have customers who don’t use social media is making sure their use of Twitter, Facebook, et al doesn’t take  valuable resources away from marketing and sales tools that are currently resonating with consumers.

If, for example, radio ads are performing well to drive awareness and sales, a brand needs to make sure its campaigns are as creative and effective as possible. The same goes for newspapers, direct mail, billboards, trade shows, etc.

At the same time, social media should be part of the mix, even if it plays a small role.

The bottom line: For brands and consumers, there really is no escaping social media. In some way, shape or form, it will be one of the ways that brands connect with consumers and visa versa. Even if a brand’s customers aren’t using it now, there is a good possibility they will down the road.

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