59 Ask the Expert Does your business really need social media? Des Maclaughlin, MD at Mac-D Consulting, struggles for the “like” button have very mixed feelings about social media. On the one hand I think the power of online reviews has undoubtedly improved many companyies service levels. While I don’t use Twitter, which seems far too dangerous for someone as opinionated as myself, I will admit to occasionally posting something on Facebook, although I am considering deleting my account as I, like many other, have concerns about how my data is used. My concern, however, is that for some it seems social media has become a drug which they constantly crave. Maybe I’m just from the wrong generation and too old to understand the importance of how many likes your latest upload gets. The power of social media for many businesses however is undeniable. I often use the likes of TripAdvisor, Bookings.com, Square Meal and Open Table when stuck for a hotel or a restaurant to book, knowing that, despite some very misguided reviews, I will largely get a good sense of the what to expect. Social media is what many booking www.conference-news.co.uk websites are built around and it is why they are so successful. It also explains why Trip Advisor won’t stop emailing me since I left a review. Never again! If your business is attracting hundreds of reviews which are largely positive, or you have tens of thousands of followers on Twitter to influence, then social media becomes a very attractive marketing tool. What I’m not convinced about however is the number of mid-size and smaller agents who spend valuable time tweeting or posting pretty mundane stuff to a few hundred followers (or less.) What benefit do they get from this? None, I’d suggest. There is an art to using social media effectively and if you are not skilled in it then don’t bother going there. Dull posts, over self-promotion, constant re-tweets and poor spelling are more likely to work against a business than for it. Remember too, anything that appears on the internet stays on the internet. My advice to agents would be to forget social media and use this time instead to personally engage with your customers. This is likely to have a far more positive effect and generate more business. Feel free to call me a luddite, but not before properly evaluating what social media has really achieved for your business. I suspect it won’t amount to much other than company time and money.