When social media networking site such as Six Degrees was first created in 1997, very few people noticed it.
The importance of social media, both as a channel and a networking site, came to be known only when Myspace or Facebook was created and begun used by a not-so-large yet significant number of users, back then in 2003 and 2004 respectively.
One of the key goals of such social media site creators was to have people make friends and communicate with them, even when they could be distances apart.
Today, if you conduct a survey and ask people, many would confess that they never thought social media would grow up to such an enhanced level so as to be creating an immense opportunity for businesses.
Ask about anything from politics to entertainment and from entertainment to sports — it’s all there, not just being discussed but seen as gaining momentum, the moment anytime a good content is being posted on such social media sites. So, why leave out business?
Upon constant engagement with the users on any of the popular social media sites, you can expect to enjoy a pretty good market share of your brand. But, you need to keep in mind and ask yourself the following questions before you begin to take a plunge.
The Questions You Must Ask Yourself Before You Make Use of Social Media For Business
- Which are the social media sites worth advertising?
- Which site would be best for my kind of product? Should I consider all or some?
- When is the right time to conduct ad campaigns for my brand?
Some entrepreneurs who are on social media but didn’t have their luck in business have this to say — We spent a lot on advertising and had hired a team to manage social media sites, but haven’t been successful.
I guess we shouldn’t be taking social media quite seriously. Yet, on the other hand, there are quite a few business tycoons who are quite positive about social media and make a mention that without social media, they wouldn’t have been enjoying huge chunks of the market share. They say — after all, it depends on how smartly you use them to you advantage.
No matter what, social media has got both advantages and disadvantages. But, before we could arrive at any conclusion — of using or not using — let’s look at the pros and cons of the same.
The Pros of Social Media
Better Chances of Having Your Voice Heard
With more than 2.23 billion monthly active users on Facebook and 1 billion or more than 1 billion for other social media channels such as YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest etc.
You have better chances of making your words about a brand reach faster and on a larger scale. Granted that not all of such active users will turn out to be the users of your brand, but so be it.
Not that being in the social media space will serve all your purposes of Ecommerce transactions, but they definitely occupy a second place in the entire scheme of online selling of goods.
Better Than Traditional Sources of Product Marketing
As what you would be spending on advertising through traditional sources such as print, electronic, radio, directories, direct emailing et al.
You possibly would spend lesser online and when it’s about online advertising, social media can be worked through at a much lesser cost than what you would spend on search engine marketing.
With a good content, video or image of a brand, you can boost your brand in both organic and sponsored ways. After all, all that appears online can be seen through one click of a mouse and without walking a mile.
It’s a Pull Marketing Strategy, Not Push
Compare social media marketing with any traditional marketing method such as outbound telecalling or door-door selling, social media marketing aka online marketing wins hands down.
In here, you are not pushing the customer to compulsively buy your products, but pulling your customers to buy only when they are thoroughly convinced about any brand. Too many customers get bothered by telecallers if the sole purpose is to sell a product.
By contrast, you are only informing or educating the customer about your brand and that’s it. Of course, this would apply to customers who are internet savvy and educated enough to make sense out of all that information that you provide on your products.
Better Market Penetration At Lesser Expenditure
Come to think of an international market presence for your brand and you have to undertake massive recruitments, just to make sure your products reach everywhere wherever your products can follow customers? demand and your competitors are having a share of the market.
Additionally, you also incurred a travelling costs for those managers and employees who undertook travel to capture the markets.
Hence, social media marketing is definitely a very cost-effective option when all you need to do is boost your brand’s image by making use of different SMM (Social Media Marketing) strategies such as chatbots, content marketing, community-building, brand-advocating etc.
Faster Access to Customer’s Buying Behavior
Compare online marketing research with the traditional source of gathering customer information and you need to rely on public libraries, government-owned research organizations and several private agencies who would provide the information in print and only those of whom you are already aware.
This is ofcourse not the case when you are making use of social media when all you need is a few tools to analyze your customers before and after sales.
For e.g. Facebook Analytics is known as a robust tool for marketers to explore users’ thoughts on a brand. Enough of pros isn’t it?
Despite all the advantages, social media has to provide, it’s not free of risks. So, let’s dive into the cons of social media, being aware of which can help you stay alert and attentive when marketing your brand.
The Cons of Social Media
Inevitable Risk of Social Media Trolling
One of the biggest risks of having a social media presence is to being trolled. This usually happens when somebody wants to pick a quarrel with you and for doing so may post unwarranted messages or off-topic messages that may harm the brand and an organization’s image in the eyes of others.
Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are excellent examples of trolling where every other day somebody gets trolled for sharing something.
As a business owner, one may get criticized for posting a bad video; content; or images that may not really be of bad quality but just that it may not appeal to someone’s views or that someone wants to get an upper hand out of defamation.
It can get really silly, wicked, abusive and at times also self-suicidal, if one does not know how to deal with trolls and especially when the identity of the harasser is unknown to the corporate personality aka the harassed. In some cases, one may even need to close down his or her business account.
In order to get rid of such trolling, Cinderly — a newly launched fashion app for girls — came up with an idea to have its users pledge for no-trolling activity to get a good deal on its products.
Some people are also thinking of using AI (Artificial Intelligence) to track and monitor conversations on social media sites and the finest example is that of Google alumni Bindu Reddy and Arvind Sundararajan who have together launched a new social media app called Candid.
Miscellaneous (Information Leaks, Hacking or Piracy Issues)
Another great disadvantage of popularising your brand on social media is the risk of being exposed to hackers or crucial information being leaked out in some way or the other to cause monetary harm to you as a person or your company.
Some people from competitive organizations too may pose as customers and try to get the latest idea on any product putting you at a loss.
You may often be accused of piracy, if you haven’t taken enough care to check your video content and if it’s unique in itself.
For such reasons and maybe more, it’s important that you must have strict online policies and procedures in place for the use of your business page on social media.
Having a clear-cut marketing strategy, before you take a plunge in social media would also be better in order to safeguard yourself from any kind of attacks.
The Bottom Line
Clearly, the pros of using the social media to one’s business gains are far more than the cons of social media.
Through a continuous presence in social media and a regular monitoring of your customers? data, you may emerge as the winner, despite the intense competition you may face from your competitors.
Maria is an enthusiast writer that covers the industries like, SEO writing, content writing, online marketing, and business development. Maria is a vice president of marketing and strategic insights for Solvoguru, which offers high-impact and performance-driven marketing and advertising solutions that help achieve optimum results. Visit solvoguru.com for more information.