Social Media Sucks for Businesses and Here's Why
Social Media Sucks for Businesses and Here’s Why
Social Media Sucks for Businesses and Here’s Why

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 the Author

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.
  • SYates

    C-Level People? Social Media is tantamount to the way Prince Charles, via his royal lineage(s) and via his standoffish demeanor, views the “Commoners.” To paraphrase, it must be among “them” in order to listen, and more than that, it’s important to understand the “Commoner” because “they” are immensely intrigued with royalty… they don’t understand it. That said, arguably, one might say social media is tantamount to the work of a national secret service. In so far as marketing and advertising delivers honest value for both the buyer and the seller, there is nothing new under the sun. Time is money is location, location, location.
    It does suffice mentioning I am not at all nuts about royalty, and royalists hardly impress anyone for the sake of any other than… o, say… truly seeing themselves as more necessary for selling to the buyers what the buyers should want… even what the buyers should need.
    Social Media, yo!? An example of falling victum to a professional Tragedy of the Commons? Using the term “C-Level” as a term reference at all for any number of individuals is… well… socially media-less. Never mind the term was coined by a professional marketing and / or advertising pro as just one example from the mirage of gratuitously superfluous mantra locking the individual narrative, collectively, in a chokehold.

  • 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

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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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  • 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.  

  • 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.

      • Sounds like you never attempted to read the post. 

  • 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.

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  • 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 :) 

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

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

    • You obviously did not read the post then.

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

    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

  • 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.

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

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

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

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

  • 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.

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  • 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

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

  • 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.


  • Betty

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

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

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  • 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.

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

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

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

    • 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? 

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

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

  • 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.


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