Social Media is a Waste of Time

Social media tweeting more than a yellow warbler

Are you tweeting more than a yellow warbler?

If your business is tweeting more than a Yellow Warbler but you’re not getting any more sales or leads, you may well be thinking that social media is a waste of time and resources. What’s the real value for all the hours spent tweeting, posting or pinning when surely you could be doing something more productive?



Social media is a waste of time

Social Media – The Magic Numbers

So, just how big is the social media scene and how much time do we really spend on it?

  • In the UK there are 38 million active social media users.
  • The average amount of time spent on social media per day is 1 hour and 29 minutes (Clicky Media)
  • Globally, there are over 7,000 Tweets per second and 3.3 million Facebook posts every minute (Smart Insights)
  • There are 2.6 billion smartphone users globally and almost 80% of all social media time is spent on a smartphone (Simply Measured)

Therefore, you would assume that if so many people are using social media, surely there has to be some benefits?


What are some of the benefits of social media?

Use images on your social media posts

Use images on your social media posts

  • Social media achieves global reach (fine if your product or service has international appeal but as a builder in Blackpool, does your business really want to converse with consumers in California?).
  • Companies looking to generate localised engagement and brand awareness can use social media to target groups and communities by using geographical hashtags and “Twitter Hours”.
  • You can use social media to dangle your corporate carrot by giving your audience a taster of what you can deliver. Drive social media users to your website by posting a link, picture or blog. That’s great for your SEO!
  • Through shares, likes, retweets and replies, your activity extends beyond your current reach, attracting new followers and potential clients.
  • Technically speaking social media is free (but your time isn’t).


Is your social media strategy right?

If social media isn’t producing the expected results it may be time to consider your social media strategy and the goals associated with it. If the strategy and its goals are haphazard, the message can easily become lost.


Social media is a waste of time if you do this …

There are a number of common pitfalls that businesses fall into when using social media.

  • Focussing on having a high number of likes or followers does not directly create revenue, yet this “number vanity” seems to be a fixation for many businesses.
  • Posting blind without an evaluation of what works and what doesn’t is like shooting in the dark. You wouldn’t spend time and money running an Adwords campaign without looking at the results, so why should social media be any different?
  • Concentrating entirely on social media can actually become very anti-social. Face to face meetings create personal relationships that are likely to be remembered a long time after that ‘ever so clever’ Tweet you were so proud of.
  • Getting too personal on a business social media account can be professionally damaging. Think carefully as to what image you want to convey (including your personal profiles).


Five steps to not wasting your time on social media

  1. Have a plan and define your objectives. Consider whether you want increased brand awareness, leads or actual sales. Focus on that area and how will you measure success.
  2. Create and use original content where possible, post at the times when your followers are most active and engage with relevant users.
  3. Write something interesting for your target audience, not for SEO purposes. However, where appropriate, do include keywords where they are relevant to the content.
  4. Post images, videos and links to improve engagement; Tweets with an image receive 150% more retweets than those without (Hubspot).
  5. Research and choose your social media platforms wisely. You don’t need to have a presence on every single social media platform; if you’re targeting the over 50’s market then Instagram would almost certainly be a waste of time.


Social media can be an effective route to market but unless managed properly, it can also be a complete waste of time. Which category you fall into depends on how smart you are about using it!


Right Direction Marketing is an SEO and digital consultancy based in Preston, Lancashire and we help businesses improve their online performance. If you’d like a no-obligation chat on how we can help your business online, including using social media without wasting your time, please contact us or call us on 01772 774505.


Hi Colin

Thank you for your interesting comments.

Shared risk is an interesting concept, I wonder how many ‘social media gurus’ would disappear off the face of the earth if that really took off?

My belief is that social media is only one part of your marketing strategy, if the other parts aren’t working well, no amount of Tweeting can save you!

I’m glad that you found this article of interest and maybe we’ll find time to meet up over a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon to chat some more?


Very interesting and poignant article. As you rightly point out socialmedia is free but your time as a small business owner isn’t. Given that the key selling point for social media is its zero cash cost, it seems counter intuitive to then pay someone to manage your social media but this seems to be the way the market is going. Problem is, social media then goes the way of printed media with lots of salesman telling businesses their media plan will grow their business, without any risk to the media provding company. I worked in Facilities Managment for a long time and as that market matured the concept of ‘shared risk’ between supplier and client became prevalent… perhaps that’s the direction the marketing industry should consider.

Colin Burbidge

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