You’re an entrepreneur, so there’s a good chance you’re not much for conventional wisdom.

You’ve gone against the grain a hundred times, and you’re used to beating the odds. You know that conventional wisdom often paves a straight, safe route to reasonable success—but you have no interest in doing what everyone else is doing.

The thing is, conventional wisdom on the Internet has been telling you for years that all entrepreneurs need social media marketing. “If you’re not on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and everything else under the Silicon Valley sun, prepare to get passed up by the digital world!”

But is the conventional wisdom, in this case, correct? Or are those internal doubts of yours onto something?

Let’s find out if the conventional wisdom applies for you—or whether you need to switch strategies:

The Arguments: Pros and Cons of Social Media Marketing

It’s easy to claim that social media is either definitively good or a complete waste of time. But the truth is, results will vary. There’s no right or wrong answer here. Each unique business has its own unique market. In some cases, social media’s good for accessing that market.

In other cases, not so much.

So let’s take a look at the pros and cons to social media marketing and see which benefits (or complaints) jive with you:

If the “cons” resonated with you far more than the “pros,” it may be time to face the truth:

No, Social Media Marketing Isn’t Working for Everyone

If you’ve given social media marketing a try—or three—and haven’t seen any results, it may be for one of the following reasons:

Your Company Simply Doesn’t Lend Itself to Social Media

The digital world is full of case studies of social media success, with companies from Cadbury to American Express finding creative ways to utilize these platforms even though nothing about their respective companies screams “social media!”

Even so, as a small business owner yourself, it’s only intuitive that one type of company has a broader range of social media appeal than others. If you run Cadbury, you have delicious candies to sell. Everyone likes that. But if you run a business repairing water pumps for factories, then is your audience even on social media?

You, the Owner, Don’t Jive with Social Media

Far be it from us to suggest that simply because you’ve never run social media, you’ll never be able to. That’s hogwash. “I’m just not the Facebook type” is not an excuse to avoid social media marketing. (For an interesting case study on one such entrepreneur, check out “When Social Media Marketing Doesn’t Work For You”.)

That said, there are occasions when your time as an entrepreneur can be better spent on activities that don’t include updating your Facebook account or upgrading your LinkedIn membership.

Sometimes, it’s simply better to focus on your strengths. And even more powerful: it’s important to recognize where most of your new clients and customers do come from. And if the overwhelming majority of them don’t find you on social media, maybe there’s no rush to set up your Twitter account.

You're Not Actually Being Social

If you're trying to sell water pump repairs geared at manufacturing plants, you'll probably fail on Facebook. It's not the right place to promote your products, and people will glaze over your messaging. If you use social media just for the sake of being social-- to make connections, share what you do, and educate your audience-- than social can play a role in building your company. But if you don't have the time or energy to create a fun and whacky Facebook page that's a bit tangential, then you probably don't need social for success.

What You Need to Make Social Media Marketing Work

We’re big believers in social media marketing here, so we don’t advocate throwing in the towel. But if, despite struggling with social media, you still want to make your social media marketing work for you, you would do well to follow a few rules:

You don’t have to pay an expensive P.R. firm to handle your social media—heck, it might be good to run it yourself for a while just to learn the ropes. But what you do need is a willingness to try out social media out for yourself before you decide it’s not for you.

Digital Alternatives to Social Media Marketing

Of course, just because social media isn’t an ideal fit with your marketing strategy doesn’t mean you can’t branch out a bit. Here are some digital alternatives to social media marketing that you may not yet be using:

What Has Social Done for You?

Remember: just because you don’t believe you’re the right kind of entrepreneur for social media doesn’t mean you can’t still do great things in the digital age. But it will take persistence, adaptation, and a willingness to try new things if your company is going to get noticed on a larger stage.

Your Turn: What social media strategies have (or haven't) worked for you? Please share in the comments.