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30 top objections to social media and how to respond

February 4th, 2010 | 122 Comments | Posted in Public Relations, Social Media


We have all heard of the objections in using social media.  That’s great and all, but how do you respond to these objections.  Direct Marketing Observations listed the top 45 objections.   There were some repeats so I revised the list, expanded it, and included comments on how to respond to each objection.   Comment below or @ me on Twitter and let’s continue to evolve this list to help others start engaging.  No more excuses!

  1. Why should I? I don’t need to. Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean I have to.
    • Getting involved in social media allows you to be more engaged with your current and potential clients.  The word “transparency” was probably 2009′s most cliched word used to describe social media, but it’s true.  Social media allows companies to have a voice and to show the public that your company is willing to listen and garner unsolicited feedback.  Social media also allows your company to provide that extra customer service option outside of the traditional email and phone outlets.
  2. Fear of change; I’m going to stick to what works for our business; we’ve been fine without it
    • I won’t quote the 100′s of statistics and studies that prove social media isn’t just a fad.  Instead, the best way to argue against this is to consider it.  If you don’t give social media a chance, aren’t you afraid of the missed opportunity in lead generation or cost savings social media can offer?  The business/marketing world continues to evolve and many companies are re-inventing themselves as innovative by their usage of social media.  Think Ford.  The fact that fortune 50 companies are embracing social media should be enough to warrant consideration.
  3. It costs too much
    • Contrary to popular belief, social media is NOT free.  There is time investment involved and you will not see the impact social media will have on your company right away.  However, it’s important to consider that revenue should be viewed as equally as cost savings.  It can save a company money by reducing customer service outlets as well as reducing the cost of marketing campaigns.  For those relying heavily on direct mail, try testing a social media campaign where you only invest time/money spreading the word online.
  4. I’m in no hurry
    • Fair enough, but maybe your competitors are.  It’s about missed opportunities.  Look at all the Fortune 500 companies (Walmart, Dell, Bank of America, General Motors, to name a few) that lost out on their name on Twitter before it exploded into a phenomenon.
  5. I have no desire
  6. It will require too many resources within our company
    • Just like any other marketing campaign, social media will require resources.  In order to debunk this objection, you have to look at the reasons why social media benefits your company – missed opportunity, cost savings, lead generation, etc.  Focus your social media strategy on what you want to accomplish through goals, objectives, and success metrics.
  7. I’m worried about the legal ramifications/regulatory issues
    • This objection can be overcome by drafting a social media policy that clearly outlines the responsibility of using social media as it relates to legal and regulatory issues.
  8. It’s too risky; we’re better off doing nothing
    • The only risk that I see is the risk of doing nothing.  Do you really want to risk letting your competitors take over the opportunities you are missing?  Do you not care what customers (and competitors) are saying about you online?  Monitor and engage to offset that risk.
  9. You can’t measure it; social media results are not easily visible to non-users
  10. We give up too much to the customer; privacy issues
    • This is a valid objection as I understand that in some industries, there are client privileges or at least want to avoid showing favoritism.  The key point to remember is that you are voluntarily participating in social media meaning you can control what you put out to the public.   If you are in the position where revealing certain aspects of your company is against the rules, then develop a social media policy.  Clearly state the roles and responsibilities for those participating in social media on behalf AND outside of the company.  The latter is extremely important because it requires a level of trust with your employees.
  11. We won’t make any money/no ROI potential; it will take too long to pay off
    • I’ll be the first to say, from personal experience, that social media will not have an immediate financial impact, but it will have an immediate impact on brand recognition.  Social media takes time and energy, but what successful venture doesn’t require time and energy?  Don’t just think about the revenue that is generated, but also the cost savings involved.  Look at the traffic your website is getting due to your social media efforts.  Are you noticing more positive mentions?  It’s all part of the benefits of social media.
  12. We can’t control the message
    • Social media is the voice of the customer and a channel that is influenced by the customer.  By taking part in social media, you can start to monitor conversations about your brand and competitors.  People will say whatever they want about your company whether you like it or not, but isn’t it better to know what they are saying rather than standing on the sidelines and not knowing?  It feels like a common sense business practice to monitor, engage, and understand the situation.  In reality, social media actually gives you MORE control over the message.  An example: a customer starts badmouthing your company because of outdated pricing information on a website.  [Scenario 1]-not participating in social media results in you never knowing so this bad testimonial spreads (which you don’t know about).  [Scenario 2]-by participating in social media, you can reach out to the dissatisfied customer, ask where they got the information, correct the issue with IT due to this customer’s feedback, and explain the situation to the customer.  More likely than not, that customer will thank you for the correction, correcting any negative misconceptions about the company.
  13. We want to control the message
    • What you can control is your engagement with the public and how you respond to comments.  What you can’t control is what is being said about your company.  Participating in social media gives you more control.
  14. It will take too long to implement
    • Social media does not take long to implement, however, it’s important to spend time creating a social media strategy to understand goals, objectives, success metrics, and plan of action.  Social media is a time investment and you will not see results overnight.  It takes time and commitment.  If you tackle social media half-assed, you are wasting your time.
  15. It’s just a blog, Twitter and Facebook- What’s that going to do?
    • Social media does the following: SEO, increase in traffic, lead generation, increased customer service satisfaction, brand management, customer engagement, acts as a focus group, cost savings, on and on and on and on…
  16. Our customers are not on social networks/don’t use social media; Not our target market
    • This is just a bad excuse.  You will be surprised to see how many of your customers and potential customers are using social media.  You know what they say about assumptions right?  The most useful social networking sites are meant for the general audience.
  17. It’s too complicated; we don’t know the first thing about social media
  18. We can’t control our employees using it
    • Believe it or not, your employees are using social media.  So no, you can’t control whether your employees use it outside of work.  What you can control, however, is allowing your employees to use social media in the workplace and setting strict guidelines for writing about the company’s products, service, clients, etc.  If you are concerned about employee usage, I recommend that you develop a social media policy that outlines usage terms and responsibilities of using social media.
  19. We’re B2B so there is no reason for us to engage consumers
    • The great thing about social media?  It doesn’t discriminate.  Social media works just as great for B2B as it does for B2c.  In some cases, B2B is all the more reason to participate in social media.  Read Brian Solis’ post on B2B and B2C Engagement by the Numbers.
  20. Don’t want to acknowledge negatives
    • With the global acceptance of social media across all types of businesses and industries, negative comments will happen whether you want it to or not.  The power of social media is in the public, i.e., the users.  It gives your customers and potential customers a voice they didn’t have before.  Negative comments is inevitable so instead of ignoring it, embrace this opportunity to reach out as needed.  The missed opportunity is to let it happen behind your back.  You will be surprised to find out that many negative comments are based on inaccurate information.  In addition this type of feedback can lead to improved business processes or product/service enhancements.  The power to influence is extremely powerful.  You don’t have to respond to every negative mention, but at least follow the conversation.
  21. Don’t have time to adapt to the technology
    • If you don’t adapt to new technology, you will become obsolete or fall behind your competitors to the point of extinction.  Embracing social media is viewed as an innovative new approach to marketing, PR, customer service, R&D, etc.  If you hear this particular objection, perhaps it’s time to start thinking about joining a new company.
  22. There is too much meaningless discussions online; no trust
    • Very true, but luckily there is a filter for all that noise.  You can monitor from whom you want to listen and what you want to listen to whether it is your brand, related keywords, competitors or a select group of followers.  The great thing about social media is the ability to engage with your audience.  Spark a conversation by asking a simple question or join a Twitter chat where other users tweet about similar tastes.  If you are reactive to the conversations that are happening online, you will only see meaningless tweets.  Instead, be proactive and spark those conversations.  There are more than enough users willing to discuss subjects that matter to you.
  23. Lack of expertise
    • Social media continues to develop and everyone is still learning.   My advice is to experience social media yourself because nothing beats experience.  You can read all the articles you want and listen to all these “experts” talk about social media, but these should be used as guidelines only.  Your own experience will determine how you use and benefit from social media, no one else.
  24. We already do social networking, we have a facebook fan page.
    • That’s a great 5th step, but what are you doing with that fan page?  Social media not just about setting up a fan page or setting up an account; it is so much more than that.  Develop a social media strategy to understand your goals, objectives, and how you are going to measure your success.  You can’t just create a fan page or Twitter account, snap your fingers, and poof, you do social networking.   In order to really “do social networking”, provide useful links to industry related articles, don’t sell your product/service, engage and participate in conversations, don’t sell, offer any help whether they are your current clients or prospects, and listen.
  25. We’re waiting for it to mature
    • If you want to risk doing nothing and waiting for your competitors to jump ahead, fair enough.  How do you define a site being “mature” anyway?  Check out these social media statistics.
  26. We tried it and it didn’t work.
    • Trying is good until I ask these type of questions:  how long did you “try” social media?  Did you have a strategy in place?  What did the strategy consist of?  How did you measure success? What were your goals and objectives?  What gave you the conclusion that social media did not work?  What results from social media would you have considered a success?  What process did you go through when participating in social media?
  27. It doesn’t fit the company’s brand.
    • The most useful social networking sites are meant for the general public with no preference to any type of brand or industry.  Social media is not a fad and is starting to become a best practice for PR, marketing, customer service, business development etc.   What is important to consider is your company culture.  I truly believe that your company culture is reflected in whatever social media participation you do.  Whether you’re in a bland industry or not, your brand will come out shining.
  28. We can’t convince upper management/management doesn’t support it

  29. I suffer from information overload so I don’t need anymore.
    • Social media can certainly be overwhelming at first especially if you believe in any of these objections.  Don’t just jump into social media and think you are ready.  Take it in stride.  Set goals and monthly expectations.  Information overload will only continue to grow and you do not want to fall behind.  It’s also inevitable.  Technology continues to change and improve the way we obtain information.
  30. We’ll stick with traditional media

    • Traditional media outlets are also using social media.  In early 2009, CNN purchased a Twitter account that had nearly 1MM followers at that time (it now has almost tripled that amount of followers).

Comment below or @ me on Twitter and let’s continue to evolve this list to help others start engaging.  No more excuses!

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