getFound SEM

30 top objections to social media and how to respond

We have all heard of the objections in using social media.  That’s great and all, but how do you respond to these objections. 

  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 clichéd 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
    • We 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
    • No one is forcing anyone to use social media, but there are very convincing reasons

Social media is more than just a fad, and for many companies, it is becoming a bigger, more integral part of their overall marketing mix.  Social media presents numerous opportunities for businesses that might otherwise cost a company thousands (if not millions) of dollars in marketing and advertising spend.  According to eMarketer, in 2010 social media spend for B2B industries is projected to increase 60 percent over last year. But, what does this have to do with you and why should your business use social media?

  • The cost to enter and participate in the social space is minimal. Compared to other forms of marketing, such as print, broadcast and even online advertising, the cost to market your business and your brand in social media is relatively low.  The greatest cost will be time spent and human resources, but your investment will go a long way (see other reasons below) – talk about cost effective marketing!
  • You can boost corporate and executive thought leadership. Focus on sharing industry expertise, insight and knowledge so that people view you and your company as a resource first and foremost.  This develops a company’s trustworthiness.
  • Opportunities for providing customer service and feedback abound. Maintaining and improving client relations, and courting and conversing with potential customers create many opportunities to improve your company’s customer service reputation, and also allows for increased engagement with your stakeholders.
  • You can dramatically increase traffic to your company website. Your presence on search engines will increase.  For example, a Google search for “Marketwire” results in page-one ranking for our YouTube channel and Twitter account.  This presence is an inevitable way of increasing traffic to your website.
  • You can better manage and monitor your brand. In social media, everyone has a voice.  If your customers are not talking about your brand, you don’t exist.  Whether you choose to listen to the conversations about you and your company is up to you, but realize that people are indeed talking about you.   Seize the opportunity.  Positive comments should be rewarded with gratitude.  Negative comments will happen on occasion and should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.  You will be surprised how often a perceived negative comment was a simple misunderstanding, how enthusiastic folks in the social space become when they learn that companies are listening to them, and how eager they are to rectify adverse situations.  If you don’t monitor what is being said about your brand on social media networks, you will miss these opportunities.
  • Social media is a great place for (free!) competitive research. It is critical in business to know your competitive landscape. Social media allows you to easily monitor what your competitors are doing and what other people are saying about them.  Did they recently redesign their website?  Did they launch a new product?  What do others think?
  • You can generate leads and better develop your business. If your current and potential customers are online, you need to be there, too. Social media participation requires equal investments of time, strategy and patience, and generating leads through your social media efforts can be the ultimate payoff.  But remember to be true to the spirit of social media and act honestly and transparently.  Don’t use social networks as one-way marketing and advertising channels. Instead, talk to people and engage them and leads will begin to trickle into your sales funnel.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. It’s too risky; we’re better off doing nothing
    • The only risk 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.
  4. You can’t measure it; social media results are not easily visible to non-users
    • We all love the term ROI.  Social media ROI involves more in depth analysis than traditional stats. 

  1. We give up too much to the customer; privacy issues
    • This is a valid objection as 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.
  2. We won’t make any money/no ROI potential; it will take too long to pay off
    • 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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…
  7. 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.
  8. It’s too complicated; we don’t know the first thing about social media
    • There are many tutorials available on the web that will help you get started in the world of social media. 
  9. 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.
  10. 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. 
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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 statistics
  • Facebook claims that 50% of active users log into the site each day. This would mean at least 175m users every 24 hours… A considerable increase from the previous 120m.
  • Twitter now has 75m user accounts, but only around 15m are active users on a regular basis. It’s still a fair increase from the estimated 6-10m global users from a few months ago.
  • LinkedIn has over 50m members worldwide. This means an increase of around 1m members month-on-month since July/August last year.
  • Facebook currently has in excess of 350 million active users on global basis. Six months ago, this was 250m… meaning around a 40% increase of users in less than half a year.
  • Flickr now hosts more than 4bn images. A massive jump from the previous 3.6bn I wrote about.
  • More than 35m Facebook users update their status each day. This is 5m more than towards the end of July, 2009.
  • Wikipedia currently has in excess of 14m articles, meaning that it’s 85,000 contributors have written nearly a million new posts in six months.
  • Photo uploads to Facebook have increased by more than 100%. Currently, there are around 2.5bn uploads to the site each month – this was around a billion last time I covered this.
  • There are more than 70 translations available on Facebook. Last time around, this was only 50.
  • Back in 2009, the average user had 120 friends within Facebook. This is now around 130.
  • Mobile is even bigger than before for Facebook, with more than 65m users accessing the site through mobile-based devices. In six months, this is over 100% increase. (Previously 30m). As before, it’s no secret that users who access Facebook through mobile devices are almost 50% more active than those who don’t.There are more than 3.5bn pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, etc.) shared each week on Facebook.
  • There are now 11m LinkedIn users across Europe.
  • Towards the end of last year, the average number of tweets per day was over 27.3 million.
  • The average number of tweets per hour was around 1.3m.
  • More than 700,000 local businesses have active Pages on Facebook.
  • Purpose-built Facebook pages have created more than 5.3bn fans.
  • 15% of bloggers spend 10 or more hours each week blogging, according to Technorati's new State of the Blogosphere.
  • At the current rate, Twitter will process almost 10bn tweets in a single year.
  • About 70% of Facebook users are outside the USA.
  • India is currently the fastest-growing country to use LinkedIn, with around 3m total users.
  • More than 250 Facebook applications have over a million combined users each month.
  • 70% of bloggers are organically talking about brands on their blog.
  • 38% of bloggers post brand or product reviews.
  • More than 80,000 websites have implemented Facebook Connect since December 2008 and more than 60m Facebook users engage with it across these external sites each month.


  1. We tried it and it didn’t work.
    • Trying is good until you 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?
  2. 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.
  3. We can’t convince upper management/management doesn’t support it
    • If it comes time to present your case to upper management, you will likely encounter more than a couple of these objections. 

How to sell social media to your boss

  1. Think like your boss and align your reasons with company objectives – Whether it’s customer service oriented, revenue/cost reduction, or reputation management, you have to think of what senior management wants to get out of placing extra resources in social media.  Explain and present the anticipated costs involved, manpower needed, and time investment required.  A way of turning around the “how much are you generating” attack is to respond with “this is how much we can save the company”.  Revenue generation and cost reduction should be viewed as equivalents.
  2. Create a social media strategy and offer to implement in phases - This is the biggest mistake I made when presenting.  I didn’t have a clear cut strategy for implementation and execution.  I also went all out instead of keeping it simple especially for a company that was new to social media.  Make sure you spend some time to break down your strategy that includes company objectives, social media objectives, implementation, execution, and analytics.   Managing social media implementation in phases is less overwhelming and you will be able to see the impact more clearly.
  3. Keep IT involvement at a minimum – Your IT/tech department is most likely overworked with numerous other requests within your company.  One of the biggest selling points is to keep IT involvement at a minimum.  For a small businesses that hire IT consultants, this is an even better reason why you need to sell social media as a marketing campaign first with little tech involvement required.  Be sure you have a couple IT people on your social media bandwagon and to show your boss that these people are willing to help with the necessary enhancements required.  If no one in IT is willing to help with any issues and your boss asks the “what if” question, you’ll be at a loss for words.  Be proactive.
  4. Find “the one” who also believes in social media to CYA – This is a tricky one.  If you’re in a small business, you are most likely the biggest and possibly only believer in social media.  However for larger corporations there will be at least a couple that aligns your beliefs with theirs.  Find that person and network to use them as support.  It’s all about leverage and Covering Your Ass.
  5. Show and tell – Show your boss what is being said about your company.  Tell them about case studies and statistics - Examples are a must; stats help too.  Think about your college days when you were in (insert your major) class.  How much did it help to see a real life example of what the heck your professor was talking about? There are a ton of case studies out there that prove social media works from a sales perspective and to a brand management and culture perspective.
  6. Set expectations for your boss in terms of timing and what kind of reporting/analytics to expect.  Define success metrics.  This is the second biggest mistake I made; I oversold.  Social media is not immediate and the dollars generated from your social media efforts will take even longer.  You need to find your voice in the social media world and develop a foundation.  It takes time and commitment.  Half-assing it will take you back a few steps.
  7. Explain the reasons why businesses should use social media – Get to the point of why social media works: brand management, SEO benefit, lead generation/cost reduction.  You want to mix in tangible results with intangible results.  Explaining the tangible results, e.g., bottom line revenue, cost reduction, should be proceeded with expectations to your boss about timing.  Social media takes time and commitment.
  1. 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.
  2. 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).