The Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Media Marketing
Social media has fundamentally changed the way businesses interact with customers and the public at large. What started as an innovative way to approach the marketplace has become an essential tool for marketing, public relations, and customer service. But as easy as social media has made it to connect with customers, it does come with a few drawbacks.
Unlike other forms of marketing, in which marketers retain control of the messaging, there’s no control on social media. This can be great if people love you or your business, but it can be a disaster if they don’t. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow anyone and everyone to share their opinions, which makes for interesting conversation, but can be dangerous for marketers.
Keep reading for an overview of social media marketing advantages and disadvantages, along with how you can manage your accounts in a way that benefits your business.
Social media marketing advantages
If you’re trying to promote a business, social media can be a huge help. For one thing, your current and potential customers are already there. Facebook alone has 1.13 billion daily active users, and that’s only one of the many platforms you can use for advertising purposes.
In addition to Facebook, Twitter has 313 million monthly active users, Instagram has 500 million, and Pinterest has about 110 million. Although you don’t need to utilize every single platform, creating accounts on just one or two can give you exposure to millions of people around the world.
Free to create
One of the biggest advantages of social media marketing is that it is entirely free to start. None of the largest platforms have signup fees of any sort, so the only investment you’ll need to make is in the form of time.
That being said, there are paid advertising options on most social media platforms. These can be a great tool for growing your following and reaching more users, but are by no means mandatory for businesses.
Perhaps the most unique advantage of social media is the ability to get help from your followers. People love to share things with their networks, from photos and recipes to interesting articles and hot deals.
Unlike other forms of Internet marketing, like your site and paid advertisements, content on social media is often shared. However wide your reach, your followers can share with their followers, who then share with their followers, giving you a wider reach (with lower cost) than a traditional marketing campaign.
Increases brand loyalty
In addition to increasing the reach of your brand, social media also allows you to increase brand loyalty. And a study conducted by The Social Habit shows that 53% of Americans who follow brands on social media are more likely to remain loyal to those brands.
Social media is more than a sales pitch. Instead, it facilitates two-way communication that allows you to build meaningful relationships with current and potential customers. This makes them more confident in their decision to trust your business, and it encourages them to choose your brand in the future.
Uncovers valuable insights
You can also use social media to gain valuable information about your customers that will help you make smarter business decisions. For example, social listening allows you to discover how people feel about your company and brand. With social listening, you can uncover conversations about your business and answer questions about your offerings.
What do people like about your business? How can you improve your products and services to better meet the needs of your target audience? Understanding the answers to these questions can your business stand out from the competition and reach more people.
Social media marketing disadvantages
Of course, social media marketing isn’t without its flaws. Just as quickly as users can share your content on social media, they can choose to share an unflattering story about you or your business.
Social media users have free rein to post whatever they want. This means that satisfied customers can leave glowing reviews on your pages, but it also means that unhappy ones can leave angry rants about your business.
Some of this negative feedback could come from within your own organization. Disgruntled employees have been known to vent on social media about work and their bosses, which makes the entire company look bad.
Potential for embarrassment
It’s easy to get caught up in social media and post whatever comes to mind, which can have huge consequences for any business.
Take, for example, when DiGiorno Pizza noticed that “#WhyIStayed” was trending on Twitter, and jumped on board with a tweet that read “#WhyIStayed You had pizza.” This doesn’t sound awful until you consider that the hashtag was being used to discuss why victims of domestic violence stay in abusive relationships.
For companies with a large audience, mistakes like this don’t go unnoticed. Thanks to social media users’ quick reactions and tendency to share, the tweet was all over major media outlets within hours.
It takes a lot of time and effort to maintain an interactive social media presence. If you have a small team or limited resources, it is sometimes difficult to devote the needed resources to social media.
People have to monitor each social network, respond to questions and feedback, and post valuable updates. While some people may view this as a drawback, investing time into social media can help your business create lasting relationships with customers that will keep them coming back for years to come.
How to successfully manage your social media strategy
As a marketer, you should approach social media as a valuable marketing tool—but one with potential consequences. It can be tough to strike a balance between professional and personal, but well-organized social accounts can be very beneficial to your business.
So how can you create an effective social media strategy?
Set concrete goals
What’s the point of being on social media? What do you expect to get out of posting on sites like Facebook and Twitter? Create a set of goals for your strategy and make sure every subsequent activity brings you closer to meeting it.
Thanks to the analytic options on popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, it is easy to measure how successful you are in reaching these goals. Use these features to your advantage, and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Create a social team
It’s okay to put one person in charge of your social strategy, but that person should not be responsible for every single tweet and status update. So who else should participate?
Put a team together to execute your social media strategy, and give each person a clear set of tasks. If possible, try to designate one task to each team member. For instance, make one person responsible for curating content and put another in charge of responding to negative feedback.
You might get a lot of shares and retweets by posting videos of puppies acting cute, but is that really going to reinforce your company’s image? Create a content strategy that matches not only your social media goals, but your company’s brand and mission.
Make sure that every member of your social team is familiar with these goals. This ensures that you only post content that best resonates with followers, and creates a sense of consistency.
Social media can be a personal, cost-effective addition to any marketing strategy, but it takes time to perfect. If you need help developing your brand or company’s social strategy, feel free to contact us! Our dedicated team has all the expertise it takes to help you grow your business using social media.
Ready to start your social media marketing and campaign? Call 888.449.3239 or contact us online today to learn more about how WebpageFX can help with your Internet marketing challenges.