Recently I read a great article on about why small businesses needed to use social media and it has some great info – check out the link at the end of my post. I honestly believe that small businesses really do need to be using social media but there are 3 reasons to stop BEFORE you start.

1) You don’t know your company’s story. Social media works best when you use it to tell your company’s story. What if you don’t know what the story is? You sell XYZ and that’s wonderful. Guess what? So does the guy across town or the next county over.

If you are going to get on social media for your business you better know what makes it special. Why buy from you?

Sit down and really think about why you opened your business to begin with (other than the obvious) and what unique features, benefits, and advantages you have to offer. What do you love about what you do? What do your customers love about you? All those things make your business what it is and that is your story.

Your story will factor into your social media plans including which outlets to use and what kind of content to provide. Before you make the leap however consider the other reasons to stop before you start.

2) You don’t know your customer. Sure you even know some (most) of your customers by name but do you know what social media they are using or when they are online?

Does your customer only want to know when you run a special or do they also want to see your new merchandise? Do they care only about price or if they knew your other benefits would that make them loyal even when you aren’t the least expensive?

Talk to your customers, ask them what they like on social media. Scouting out what competing businesses are doing in social media is educational, however even in similar industries the customers can be very different.  Once you know your story and your customer you still may not be ready for social media.

3) You think social media will fix your business. Social media is super awesome and can help your small business in so many ways, however it will not fix what is broken. If your business is struggling because you can’t control costs, or has high employee turnover, or has inefficient processes, or your storefront windows are covered in dust or any other number of other issues – social media won’t fix it.

Its like bringing more prospective customers to a car lot where none of the salespeople knows how to sell a car – they still are unlikely to sell cars. Take the time to stop before you start on social media and fix whatever may be broken.

The other hurdles like making time or finding content or learning the basics? Those shouldn’t stop you from starting in social media, there are plenty of solutions for those I’ll be tackling in future blogs. One more reason to stop before you start? If you don’t buy in to what social media can do for you. I’ll let the article that inspired my post help give you plenty of reasons to buy in – read here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ted-rubin/so-why-should-small-busin_b_6391172.html