Do all organizations need a social media presence?

A social media presence aids in growth, but is not the backbone of a brand or organization.

All brands working towards a measurable growth in their number of consumers require a social media presence. The online exposure provided by a social media account brings brands onto the screens and into the homes of thousands of people who have access to the various media platforms available. A 2014 publication by business blog known as the socialmediaexaminer.com — a sponsor for a major annual social media conference as well as an ongoing blog educating about the effective use of social media platforms — published its sixth consecutive report regarding the “state” of social media marketing. In this report 92% of professional marketers agreed that social media was “important for their business,” indicating it helped generate higher rates of exposure, and more than 50% reporting it has definitively improved their sales.

This exposure argument lends weight to those in favour of the benefits of social media. It makes the case that social media platforms aid in engaging their audiences, and that this is the best way to ensure consumer behaviour translates into profitability online. What this over-simplified argument fails to note is that engagement is not always positive, and only positive emotional engagement with a brand will render concrete sales. When a social media account is managed correctly, potential consumers trust and become inspired by its presence, which then results in their motivation to purchase from a represented brand and creating sales which benefit its organization.

The tendency for emotional engagement to translate into measurable profits is highlighted by Robert Passikoff, the founder of Brand Keys Inc. (and a contributor to forbes.com) in his article “Defining Brand Engagement.” Mr. Passikoff says that attention or awareness of a brand does not innately lead to a “positive end;” instead this engagement must demonstrate a brand meets certain expectations for its consumers. When a brand meets this ideal in a sincere or relatable way, it generates positive feelings that make the consumer feel they have made the right choice by investing their resources into that particular product or service.

To be engaged simply means that one’s resources (in the form of time, attention, money) are being directed towards a specific matter. For a positive engagement that makes the correct impression, only brands whose social media presence displays their content, product or events in an emotionally appealing way can develop the consumer engagement necessary to turn attention into a measurable, profitable growth. While maintaining a social media presence is a useful tool for organizations aiming to increase their number of clients, it is not entirely necessary for a business to sustain itself. It should be considered a tool for increasing business, rather than the deciding factor in its survival.