Social media is a straightforward and tricky marketing channel at the same time.
On one side, SMM platforms are great for keeping in touch with your target audience, sharing interesting content, analyzing trends, and launching perfectly targeted ads.
On the other hand, social networks make businesses more vulnerable, since the public’s response to a particular strategy is not always predictable.
Should you use social media for your business today? A quick spoiler: Yes.
The benefits outweigh the disadvantages. But let’s analyze the pros and cons of social media for a business to make a clear decision.
Let’s start with an overview of the main advantages of social networking and social media marketing for brands.
So, one of the most obvious benefits of social media for business is that you can reach and stay connected to your target audience 24/7. What is more, half of the world’s population are active users of social networks, so the sky’s the limit in this case.
All you need to do is choose the right social media site and strategy, set up your advertising company properly, and start attracting users from almost every corner of the planet.
Why almost? Certain social networks are actually banned in certain countries. You also need to take this into account when developing your strategy. For example, here is a list of countries where Facebook is banned.
In those locations where Facebook is allowed, this social network as well as other platforms (Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest) give you very, very flexible options for setting up the most targeted advertising campaigns. It has never been so easy to come up with accurate buyer personas and instantly show them your product or service.
SMM advertising settings allow you to target users based on their gender, age, education, profession, family status, lifestyle, online behavior, interest in competing goods, and many other parameters.
What’s more, this type of advertising is much more affordable than traditional Google ads.
Besides the fact that you can create branded content that has the potential to go viral, you can also take advantage of user-generated content (UGC). The biggest benefits are that users create content without your participation, saving you time, and user-generated content acts as a very strong social proof.
For example, you can ask your customers to create a UGC as part of a testimonial, as a condition for entering a contest, or in exchange for a bonus.
Plus, the user-generated content may be perfectly linked to a branded hashtag, this way you achieve two goals at once – get user-generated content and improve your brand awareness.
That’s how Apple updates its Instagram profile with exclusive users’ photos as part of the contest #ShotonIphone.
As for the advanced benefits of social media, the latter does more than make your brand more recognizable. Social networks also allow you to find out what your users really think of you with the help of social media monitoring tools.
In addition to all the advantages of social media marketing listed above, social networks are a real goldmine for researching trends and hot topics for discussion.
You can find the most trending hashtags for Instagram and Twitter with Hashtagify as well as discover trendy topics for your SMM posts using Google Trends. Analyze the provided data and come up with your own ideas to engage your audience and make them participate in your discussion.
Social media is an innovative and convenient way to connect with a brand without having to call a support team or write an email. 42% of users expect a response from the business on a social network within an hour.
The greatest way to automate customer support is to use special customer support tools, particularly, to introduce a chatbot. This innovative technology will allow you not only to provide instant replies to users but also to share an appealing presentation about your company and share special offers, etc.
Use the tailor-made chatbot templates for your business niche to pass the process of creation and setup. No coding and technical skills are required.
Each of the popular social platforms is unique and opens up new perspectives for you. Even if you’re new to social media marketing, it’s recommended to work with several social networks at once.
You can get social media marketing benefits and use the best functionality of each of them by adapting and repurposing your content.
This is how it works:
One of the greatest benefits of social media is that they have practically no restrictions on creativity and testing new approaches.
But what are the disadvantages of using social media? Perhaps, the greatest social media cons are the opportunity to find out too much about human nature, and that social media user may not be as kind as you want them to be. And that’s not all.
There are other social media disadvantages you as a business owner should know about:
There is always a risk of getting negative customer testimonials and responses because it is impossible to satisfy everyone. In the case of social networks, each negative review becomes visible to all your subscribers, including your current and potential customers.
However, there is a way to turn this flaw into one of the hidden advantages of social networking by showing a personalized approach, a quick response to a complaint, and a real solution to the customer’s problem. This will strengthen your reputation in the eyes of your followers.
Honda’s reply is a great example of how to react to bad comments, strengthening brand authority.
The amount of content consumed on social networks is constantly growing. Consequently, users get tired and bored quickly, and always require something new. In order to constantly engage your users and attract new subscribers, you will have to come up with something new almost every day.
Be prepared for the fact that you have to shoot videos, go live, come up with jokes, develop interesting and profitable promotions, generate leads through various advertising channels, and so on. In other words, you have to dance on stage in front of your users day after day.
Don’t know how to diversify your business profiles? Take a look at these 105 exciting ideas of content that will help you fill up your SMM calendar.
For example, you are unlikely to be able to sell bio weight loss supplements on Instagram since hashtags like #weightloss are not allowed. The same goes for the dating business.
And by the way, check out the list of prohibited hashtags on Instagram and Facebook – some of them are directly related to business.
In addition, certain types of businesses must take the pros and cons of social media into account before launching advertising campaigns.
For example, you might be able to attract users to a bridal salon profile, but you probably won’t be able to keep them after they buy a dress and get married. In this case, you will not have a subscriber base – and at best, there will be just a stream of new users who will come, buy, and leave.
The next social media con is that you cannot reach certain segments of users.
For example, if you sell tomato seeds to retirees, they expect you to send them a printed catalog by mail, instead of an advertising campaign on Facebook.
As we said, one of the advantages of social media marketing is that popular social media gives you the flexibility to customize your ad settings. And in general, advertising on social networks is quite inexpensive, but only if you set up your advertising campaign correctly.
In the event of a mistake with the target audience, region, or language of the advertising campaign, there are big risks that waste your social media ads budget and get zero ROI.
You shouldn’t expect instant social media payoffs. What is more, it will be quite difficult to attract the first few hundred subscribers, since according to social media psychology, it is more comfortable for users to subscribe to an already popular profile. A large number of subscribers is a kind of “quality guarantee” in social networks.
Social media promotion will take a lot of time and effort. You may have to hire an SMM specialist who will deal with this task exclusively, or outsource your social media promotion to a marketing agency.
One of the controversial points is that social media is a goldmine of valuable information about business strategies.
Unfortunately, not only you but also your competitors can observe what you do to attract and retain customers, what ideas you develop and try, how you collect testimonials, and what tools you use for advertising.
In general, there is nothing wrong with this because you can analyze the actions of your competitors while remaining in the shadows as well. However, it will feel unfair if you come up with a truly mind-blowing strategy, and your competitors just copy it.
There are a lot of social media marketing benefits, but there are also some drawbacks. That is why the key to successful social media promotion is the skill to overcome pitfalls and multiply the benefits.
Our social media marketing team knows how to deal with modern users to attract their attention to brands within different niches. Get in touch with us to get more SMM insights and realize them in your future strategy!