I’m a big believer in the benefit of social media advertising. I think it’s a powerful way to humanize your brand and connect with the right audience and is a key part of the marketing mix. That being said, it’s not right for every business. Here are the situations where I would not recommend social media marketing.

Your website isn’t mobile

More than half of Facebook’s users access the site via mobile only, and social networks like Instagram and Snapchat don’t even have desktop options. Before you spend money on social media advertising, make sure your site looks great on a smartphone. Most of your traffic from social media will come from mobile, and sending people to a site that provides a frustrating experience will only hurt your brand.

You don’t have the resources to interact with the community

If you aren’t able to commit the time and attention it takes to manage an online community, then you should not venture into organic or paid social media marketing. When you initiate your business’s social media presence, you are opening another avenue of customer service. Expect customer and potential customers to ask questions, give reviews, request assistance and more on your social media channels. And expect them to be frustrated if they are ignored.

You don’t have a solid organic presence

Before you start a paid social media campaign, make sure your organic social media presence is accurate and consistent. Paid social media campaigns are connected to your business’s social media account with your organic posts. If the information on your account is outdated, or you haven’t posted in months, this could provide a negative experience for your audience. Posting one-to-three times a week is enough to keep your account fresh and set your business up for a paid campaign.

You don’t have the data to support your desired target

The targeting on social media is really powerful, especially on Facebook. You can target by demographics, interests, behaviors, website behavior, customer list, and more. With all these options, it’s possible to hone in on a pretty specific audience. However, the more specific you want to get, the more you need to rely on data outside the social media platform. For example, if you want to use Facebook to reach people who are interested in buying a car, you can do that through the audience segments available on Facebook. But if you want to reach people who have a lease on a car that’s expiring in nine months, you’ll need your own customer data to support that.

Your creative is inflexible

Tight restrictions on your ad images and copy can result in poor performance of social media ad campaigns. Social media is a two-way marketing platform—you have to react to your audience’s responses, and that includes being flexible with your creative. Don’t take a “set it and forget it” attitude with social media campaigns—pay attention to how your audience is engaging with your ad creative, and adjust accordingly. If your business is under heavy restrictions from a corporate ownership, or if your creative team is unwilling or unable to experiment, social media might not be the best advertising avenue for you.

Social media can work for any company, but some foundational aspects of a marketing strategy need to be in place first in order to be successful in the social media space. Let us know if you need help with any of those elements.