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“Your business doesn’t have a Facebook page yet!?” “How come you aren’t tweeting for your company more?” These types of pesky remarks are as annoying as they are misleading.

Yes, there is tremendous value in Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms, but they are not for every business. It is your job to evaluate the fit of social media marketing and determine whether or not it offers relevant value to your organization.

And, if it does, which social media platforms do you wish to pursue? Not every platform is equal.

To help answer these questions, here are 10 pros and cons of social media marketing that you can use to determine whether it makes sense to jump on the social media bandwagon or not.

Pro #1: It Costs Almost Nothing

Creating a social media account for your business is free. Posting social media content as your business to customers is free. Engaging with audiences, replying to comments, participating in industry groups — all free. There are no costs associated with social media marketing, unless you want to pay for sponsored content to reach audiences beyond your followers.

As a free platform, there is nothing to lose, at least from a monetary standpoint. It also means you have a lot to gain! ROI is always strong because the investment is so low.

Con #1: It Does Cost Time

To get the most out of social media marketing, you need to post regularly and consistently interact with customer comments and messages. This is not easy! You can’t post just anything and expect results. The content needs to be engaging, relevant and useful to audiences, otherwise they’ll see it as useless spam cluttering their newsfeed. How do you know what content is engaging and relevant? Research! And that research requires additional time.

If you can’t commit the time, your page will struggle to build followers and you may disenchant customers with slow response times to their comments and questions.

Pro #2: Connect With Anyone

Social media platforms are widely used and immensely popular. No matter what the scope of your business is, your target audience gathers on social media platforms. It is an opportunity to reach millions of people with your messages! If you choose to invest in paid social media marketing, you’ll unlock deep audience insights that will help you find the precise individuals that benefit from your products and offer the most value to your company.

Marketing is about reaching people with relevant offers. Social media marketing achieves this goal easily!

Con #2: Noisy

While it is great to reach a wide range of audiences on social media, getting those audiences to actually notice and pay attention to your content is a challenge all in its own. Social media is overloaded with content from people and businesses. Getting your voice heard about all this noise is near-impossible, especially since many users come to the platform to engage with friends and family, not companies.

If you aren’t posting something truly amazing, it is very difficult to have your messages heard.

Pro #3: Interaction

Social media sites are one of the rare channels where customers can interact directly with businesses and vice-versa. These meaningful interactions can carry more long-term value than hundreds of indirect, broad messages. It makes customers feel heard and important, rather than just another number. These feelings will cause them to stay brand loyal for longer and even broadcast your business to their own feeds, thereby bringing your company in contact with more audiences.

Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms are built on interactions. Continuously engaging with past, present and future customers creates a more compelling experience.

Con #3: Negative Sentiment

Not all of your social media interactions are going to be positive ones. Complaints and negative feedback are also common. Customers love to let you know when you’ve screwed up! Hearing criticisms and addressing complaints is constructive and helpful for your business, but it can be extremely damaging if the issue isn’t handled correctly. One negative interaction has the chance to spread these feelings of malcontent and may severely damage your following and brand image.

When you’re engaging with audiences, whether positive or negative, remember that everything is in the open. Be extremely careful with how you frame responses.

Pro #4: Getting The Word Out

People check social media often. Some users check it over five times in a single day! This means it is one of the fastest delivery methods if you need to get the word out about something very quickly. It may be an event or flash sale, but it could also be a product defect that you need customers to be aware of. Plus, the ability to quickly share social media content means that your post will quickly reach all ears.

If you need to reach your customer base quickly, social media offers unbeatable speed.

Con #4: Long-Term Returns

Building your social media audience can take an incredibly long time. Many of the aforementioned benefits rely on having customers to reach and engage with interesting content. But, if you haven’t built your audience yet, then realizing those benefits is not easy. Social media marketing is really a long-term strategy. You may not see much value in the strategy for months, even years to come.

If you don’t have the time to wait around for your social media audience to grow, then you may want to look elsewhere.

Pro #5: Versatile

There are many different social media platforms and each has its own specialty. For instance, Instagram users love visual and aesthetic content, while LinkedIn is built for professionals and networking. This means that you can be very versatile with the types of content or audiences you approach.

There is a social media platform out there that meshes with your company and its customers, you just need to find it!

Con #5: Platform Overload

Having plenty of options is not always a good thing. It’s easy for marketers to choose the wrong platform to invest their time and money on. Or, they may feel that the need to be present on many different social media sites at the same time. This means more research, more content creation, more time and more money.

Any social media service you decide to spend your time and money on should provide direct value to your business. Don’t hop on every social media site because someone swears it is the next Facebook.

Conclusions

While social media is an amazing marketing channel with plenty to offer businesses, it is not without its drawbacks. Businesses should carefully evaluate these pros and cons and decide whether or not social media makes sense for their company. Google voice search is a new marketing presence in the modern era you should consider this platform as well

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