What are Social Media Pros and Cons
Time to read: 6 Minutes
Ah, social media, the nexus of connection in today’s world. Dying to know what your third-grade teacher is up to? Hit that search box. Curious about the music tastes of that cashier from the gas station? Just a click away. Want to keep track of what those beloved customers really want from your brand, it clearly pays to stay connected. But, there are social media pros and cons. You just need to know how what they are and how to manage them.
One of the many cool things about social media is that businesses of any size can afford to market themselves with it. Social media engagement, on the most basic level, is a must when it comes to expanding the brand. But before you upload that adorable shot from company brunch, it’s worth taking another look at the bigger picture.
Pro: Social Media Measures the Whims of the Web
The digital world is a constantly shifting sea of trends, personal opinions, and ideas spreading at the speed of light. This changing landscape can work in your favor if you take advantage of what’s in-the-now.
Experimenting with the right content, at the right time, can give your brand a huge boost via personalization – or, if you’re lucky, going viral. Fortune favors the bold, right?
Con: Social Media a Big Time Commitment
According to Social Media Examiner, 64% of marketers are spending 6 hours on social media weekly – and 41% are spending 11 hours or more. Seem excessive? It’s not. Anybody can throw up a lazy call-to-action as a status update, but how many people are going to care enough to personally engage?
The truth is simple: social media engagement is only quick-and-easy if it isn’t done well. Staying on top of the trends takes a lot of time. Strategies and platforms can be made irrelevant quickly, and one of the worst things you can do is seem so-last-year.
Moving onto more social media pros and cons….
Pro: Social Media is Great for Making New Contacts
The days of impersonal corporate campaigns are over: in the world of social media, personality is king. Giving your business an authentic and unique voice encourages brand loyalty, and sets you apart from those other, non-hip competitors.
Customers like to feel as if they know your brand in the same way that they know their friends. A personal response to some not-so-great feedback, or even quick response time to direct messages, can turn ambivalent customers into life-long fans.
Con: Social Media is a Public Forum with No Privacy
Social media is a transparent shower curtain, for better or for worse. While LinkedBookTweetGram are all great places to give your customers the warm-fuzzies of friendship, it also provides a wide open space for feedback. This can be, as you may imagine, a double-edged sword.
According to BrightLocal, 88% of consumers will read less than 10 reviews before deciding how they feel about the business. Hopefully, most of the feedback is positive. If it’s not, rejoice, for not all is lost: 1 in 3 people, on average, will delete their negative review if the company responds.
Pro: Social Media Data Offers A Different Perspective
Social media provides a ton of opportunities for customer engagement. Instant messaging or personal opinions solicited via simple ‘likes’. Vibrant comment sections and ‘share’ features. Each and every one of these yield tons and tons of real-time data. This uniquely personal perspective provides valuable feedback on what’s working for the customer. And it works for you – both in marketing and in the product itself, and what’s not.
Watching portions of the market react to your social media campaigns gives you some amazing insight. Coolest of all, while you’re getting to know all the ins-and-outs of your customers’ preferences, they’re generating buzz about your brand.
Con: It’s Hard to Measure ROI
Unfortunately, ROI is notoriously hard to track in this context. Social media trends are constantly in flux. Social media engagement is probably not the only strategy in your business’ marketing toolbox. Fact is, it’s just plain difficult to prove how engagement with social media directly leads to profit, especially when other multi-channel strategies are in effect.
Big Lesson of Social Media Pros and Cons: It Pays to Be Human
Ultimately, humans are social creatures. So this means we want to buy from a person. And generally from people we like. But to buy from people we like, we need to know them. Social media allows us to know customers and also to engage directly with them.
The downside is that when it comes repping your brand in a public social media forum, one big mistake can have an instant tanking effect on your reputation.
For example: someone posted a negative comment about your business. In your response, it’s important to be personal. But not too personal. Don’t threaten to key their car. Or you may find yourself an overnight viral sensation for all the wrong reasons.
On the other hand, the potential to joyfully reap rewards such as customer loyalty, heaps of useful data, and increased brand awareness and reputation may well be worth the effort – and the risk. If you’re looking to engage directly with your customers, gain the most intimate insights, and supercharge your image, then it’s worth upping your social media game and making it a part of every marketing campaign.
But this task, really is to manage the social media pros and cons. And you’ll agree that it’s worth your time and dime.
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