Is social media a waste of time for business?
That is the question which will be grappled with by an expert panel at a big debate tomorrow.
No longer just for banal lifestyle updates, social media has been embraced by businesses large and small, with digital marketing agencies keen to harness its new-found reach.
But are businesses making the most of social media and reaching their demographic?
Or even worse are firms harming their brand by getting their platform wrong?
The Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce debate, which is being supported by The Argus, will investigate how effectively businesses in Brighton and Hove use social media for marketing and communicating.
Just because Facebook and Twitter are free and easy to use, does not necessarily make them the most effective – nor does it make them effective at all.
Chaired by Steve Bustin, of Vada Media, businesses can join the discussion on the merits of selfies at work or whether tweeting is just for birds.
Panellists include Nick Barlow, marketing manager of Small Batch Coffee Company, which has gone from a small wholesale roastery to a five-shop Brigh-ton and Hove institution in a few years.
Nick will discuss how Twitter is a free and effective way to research and communicate with new coffee shops, roasters and bloggers.
He said: “Social media has been an integral part of the growth of Small Batch both in terms of customer base and brand identity and I deal with it every day.”
Adrian Swinscoe, of RARE Business, will explain how blogging has been central to the marketing and business development consultancy over the last five years.
Social media has given Adrian a platform for sharing his thoughts and build credibility and trust with new clients.
Daren Howarth, of carbon management consultancy CLevel, will downplay the idea of social media as a magic wand for free advertising.
He will argue too many businesses are sold on the idea of social media as the latest marketing tool – when in fact it is about communicating values.
Denise Buchan, of online recruitment agency Classic Consulting, will say a good social media presence is no substitute for knowing the community.
She said: “All of our vacancies are posted on social media, however, the way we have achieved success is by being at the heart of the community.
“All of us here have huge amounts of local knowledge and experience and a real drive to help local candidates.”
To book tickets for the free event go to www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-big-debate-is-social-media-a-waste-of-time-for-business-tickets-10538317391