Chris Silver Smith‘s comprehensive column on Is Social Media Worthwhile For Local Businesses? at Search Engine Land runs down the dis/advantages on why you should (not) get involved in social media if you have a local shop or business. Here is a brief summary of his article:
- Facebook and Google is where the people (potential customers) are.
- Google refers (potential) customers to your site
- Indirect benefits
- SEO ranking may improve due to increased social signals
- Proactive Online Reputation Management (ORM)
- Just making yourself available on those platforms
- Social media users may not intend to purchase
- Referral traffic from social media may be low
- Content you put on your Facebook page may be owned by them. Better to spend time/energy on your own web presence
Just because you may not see direct or immediate benefits fresh out-of-the-box when you begin using social media does not mean that you are not getting some benefit. Over time, the slow accrual of SEO benefit alone may make it a necessity for you, while proactive reputation management and consumer engagement may also be compelling reasons to be present and active.
My 2 cents you cannot afford not to be where your customers are. You have to be present on the major social media platform. the trick is to organize and manage it effectively so you would not waste your time and resources on it.