Your business doesn’t need social media. Here’s why

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It appears we have entered the late stages of social media adaptation. Each business and organization wants to be in the social media marketing “game”. Social media today is not a question of IF, but a question of HOW MUCH. It does not matter if you’re an online shop for toys or a hedge fund investor – you have to have your social media presence and rock at it as well!

As a strategist, this both irks me and sends shivers down my spine. It irks me because social media does not represent a strategy in and of itself, and it sends shivers down my spine because business owners are following a market (and a cultural) impulse without realizing what they are getting themselves into.

Today, social media is displaying the symptoms of market saturation and many late-adopters are getting cluelessly into the game that’s been actively going for more than a decade.

Facebook has started losing its youth appeal as early as 2013 and today is recognized as the “social network for boomers”. Instagram has lost all its validity with its out-of-touch influencer and #wonderlust culture and has recently become a jumbled mess. LinkedIn is basically “Facebook for work stuff” and is littered with random posts like Chinese children bouncing basketballs (this should signify teamwork by the way).

Despite the increasing “uncoolness” of social networks, these companies are not what they used to be in terms of reach, engagement and return on investment. Organic reach can comfortably be pronounced as dead and social media’s greedy “ads upon ads upon ads” strategy will make sure that your ad will is less likely to be seen. If engagement with the social platforms themselves is in decline overall, what makes business owners think that it is a good idea to invest into a social media strategy / marketing by default?

Don’t get me wrong, having a social media marketing strategy is not a terrible idea in and of itself, but businesses and organizations have to be able to connect the dots between their industry, brand identity and most importantly, their audience. The problem is, they usually don’t.

To prove my point, let’s reflect about how many abandoned and social media business profiles / pages are in the world right now? Millions? Tens of millions? To be honest, one is already one too many because for a small business, investing time and resources in social media can be a matter of life and death. This circles back to my initial point that businesses aren’t aware of what they are getting into. Owners initially consider social media to be easy and a secure investment. (Un)fortunately, they get disillusioned very quickly.

To close off, here are some strategic questions you can ask yourself to determine whether you should invest in a social media strategy:

  • How do customers usually hear about your business?
  • How are your (potential) customers using social media, and what do they use it for?
  • Are you offering mass-market products or services that are accessible and easy to understand or are they complex, expensive, technical and/or highly-specialized?
  • Is your product or service unique and highly personalized? Does it depend on forming close relationships with clients?
  • How would your sales funnel look like within your social media strategy? How will you generate and convert qualified leads with social media?
  • What are the marketing or sales channels that currently work for you? Would they perform better if you invested more resources in them instead of developing new ones?

I am a brand consultant leading organizations and individuals to their hearts. You can connect with me here:

If you are a startup, chances are your website is a nightmare

Is this you?

In the hurry to launch or because of the lack of resources you decided to pluck “a sure winner” from an endless field of identical website templates. Or maybe you chose to use the Bootstrap or Foundation frameworks: it’s quick and easy! If you are one of the smart ones maybe you hired a designer guru or better yet a rockstar agency. Let me guess… This is the website you ended up with:

generic-website-template

Congratulations. You have a website like everybody else!

Besides being damaging to creativity and diversity of visual web culture today, it is even more damaging to your brand and how you differentiate on the global market. It is highly illogical for me to see companies go for identical cookie cutter designs, especially in a time when business owners should recognize the value of branding more than ever before… In an environment where new competition emerges by the thousands every day.

You might think you are using a proven recipe for success, but this “success” comes with a price. At the very least you miss out on the opportunity to make a lasting impression your customers will remember you by, and at the very worst you lack the needed identity to differentiate from the clutter and you never succeed to engage them in the first place.

Templates,  are meant to be modified, adapted and customized, yet we became afraid of them. What was meant to be a flexible guideline, today has turned into a design canon. “But it allows for a consistent user experience on the web. People learned to know what to expect, and that’s good” – someone would say.

Don’t listen to them. Get a good design team on your side and I am certain they will be able to provide you with a user experience which goes beyond what a website is “supposed to feel like”. If you don’t have the resources for a good creative team, make the effort to do the research yourself. You know very well that startups require many sacrifices.

I came across some examples on the web suggesting how to avoid this design trap. They can help, but to me, they don’t address the issue deeply enough. This is where brand discovery comes into play.

It could not only help you break the limits of this website mold, but it can also give you valuable insights which can lead to future exponential success.

Here are 5 ways how brand discovery can help you escape the web design singularity nightmare:

Each of these following questions is designed to inspire insight. First I recommend that you screen them quickly, then come back to the areas where you think there is more to explore.

  1. Identify your industry

    The biggest problem I see in the adoption of the cookie cutter mentality is to use this design template regardless of your industry and the nature of your business.

    Take for example a digital creative agency, a cloud computing service, and a food delivery startup. Do these businesses have the same customers, employees, operations model or business objectives? What makes us think they should they have the exact same website design? What industry are you in? The creative filed? Technology? The internet? What are the current issues your industry is working on and how do you contribute to solving them? What kind of attributes is a company in your field expected to posses? What kind of problems do you solve for your customer? Is your brand image close to your industry’s standards?

  2. Be crystal clear about your position in the market

    Positioning is about differentiating yourself further within your industry. It’s about discovering your startup’s unique place and value.

    How do you compare relative to your competitors and what is your competitive advantage? What value do you offer that can’t be replaced by anybody else?  Do you sell premium products/services or are they easily available for the masses? How would that shape the way you design your website?  Is your offering simple to understand or it is more complex and technical? If it’s simple, then a few lines of text and a call to action is all you need. If it’s complex, you might need diagrams, infographics or demo videos to explain your product or service.

  3. Target your target group

    This is marketing 101, and it’s about understanding who is your website addressing to. Making a significant effort in this area could drastically change your website’s content, and as a result, it will be better received by the people visiting it.

    What do you know about the people you want to attract? Are they mostly male or female, young or old? Are they employees or business owners? What do they expect from a kind of product or a service you offer? What attracts them and what do they usually want to talk about? What do they aspire to achieve? How does your product or service help realize your customer’s dreams? What do you know about their values? A website providing cutting-edge risk management insight for Wall Street VPs should look and sound differently than a business which provides Miami city tours.

  4. Decide what your site is supposed to do

    Think about how you can use your website to elevate your business efforts. Websites have come a long way from simple brochure-like designs with plain info about your business. There are many strategies and web technologies which you can implement to make that much-needed extra sale.

    Think about your marketing strategy. Would your business be better off if you only collected e-mail subscriptions or maybe it would be smarter to streamline it with your social media for a quicker response? Maybe both? Have you considered creating an online platform for users to connect with your brand? Then you should start thinking about designing a user forum and feature user-generated content which your customers are the most passionate about. Maybe you can attract leads by publishing useful articles with a lot of useful information and resources. Then you might be better off if you rearranged the content of your website with the latest articles from your writing team.

  5.  Dive even deeper in your brand

    This simple effort always pays off. No matter how well you’ve worked on your initial branding, it’s always smart to re-visit the process and compare your brand with newly acquired data and experiences.

    For example: How do your strategy statements sound today? Are you satisfied with your brand manifesto? Are you achieving the good in the world you hoped to achieve in the beginning?  How does your site communicate and help achieve your vision? What is your customer’s feedback lately? If you asked them, what would be the one thing that your company consistently provides for them? Service? Speed? Durability? Is your site designed to illustrate and guarantee this promise? Do you communicate with your audience in an authentic voice or does it still sound stiff, generic and devoid of emotion?

Remember, any change in business has to be approached strategically. It’s not wise to be different just to be different.

These questions provide you with a direction which builds upon the already existing strengths of your business and it exploits your natural position on the market. Use them to discover and re-discover what your startup is all about. Recapture the world-changing momentum of your early days to seize the imagination and hearts of your audience. Be and express yourself!

At the end day, what would brands be without emotions anyway?


I am a brand strategist, designer and content manager. My philosophy is that brands are intrinsically human, and can’t ultimately be treated with classic business and marketing strategies. To have a truly successful brand companies have to understand the human brain and listen to the human heart.

Connect with me here:

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