When social media started to come to the forefront in 2008, many people believed it would be a fad. After awhile the novelty of connecting with friends and family from the past became old. Then businesses started to use social media to promote their offerings. Now consumers are starting to be less than completely satisfied with their overall experience on social media sites. Consider the good, bad and ugly of social media when you hone your next online marketing campaign.
The Advantages of Social Media
There are distinctive advantages of using social media to promote your small business. Social media provides unique opportunities other online platforms cannot deliver. Savvy businesses can boost their bottom line by taking advantage of time. Knowing how to use social media sites can give your business the exposure and following you want. Benefits to take advantage of include:
– the ability to establish a separate social media account specifically designed for your business rather than using your personal one – after all, most of your customers really don’t want to know you had too many martinis last night;
– a chance to interact with customers and business associates to find out what they are thinking and what they really want from your business;
– social media platforms make it easy to post photos, videos and content as well as link to various pages from your website and more;
– adding social media buttons to your web content encourages visitors to share your articles and helps your business get recognized by more potential customers;
– social media is an inexpensive way to market your business and can actually help to reduce your marketing budget; and
– using social media can help to improve your organic search engine results and boost your overall website ranking over time.
The Disadvantages of Social Media
While clearly there are many good reasons to use social media, it is also important to keep in mind the disadvantages. Certain circumstances arise on social media that typically do not occur elsewhere on the Web. Social media pitfalls include:
– sometimes people get sucked up into the vortex of social media and spend too much time on it when they should be focusing on business development and other essential tasks;
– while social media can validate your business’ abilities, it is also a place where customers can complain about your company and other people will see what they say;
– your branding efforts should be focused and consistent but sometimes our responses on social media are not in accordance with the reputation we want to establish; and
– it is easy to waste time on social media and money, especially if your employees are part of the social media marketing campaign.
The Ugly Aspects of Social Media
Ask any teenager about the ugly aspects of social media and they will tell you about the trolls, gossipers and liars that turn up on their pages. The same holds true for businesses. There are also other aspects of social media that consumers consider ugly such as;
– the American Customer Satisfaction Index recently revealed website satisfaction with social media was just 68 out of 100, which means consumers are questioning certain aspects of social media sites;
– some social media sites are rapidly diminishing in popularity and you need to take the time to research which social media sites are worth pursuing;
– consumers are anxious about using social media and expressing honesty on these sites because they are fearful about their privacy and personal details being compromised;
– some of your connections might start to post questionable content yet disconnecting from them can lead to a negative backlash toward your business;
– relentless pop-up ads and advertising boxes on social media sites are frustrating users and making them turn away from certain sites; and
– people can be mean, thoughtless and just plain idiotic on your social media pages, requiring constant monitoring to maintain a professional business image.
Now that you know the good, bad and ugly of social media, you can develop a streamlined marketing campaign that appeals to your target market. Keep in mind you can’t make everyone happy and your goal is to establish a positive business brand. Anything that distracts from that goal should be eliminated from your marketing plan.
[box type=”shadow”]Main Takeaway: Consumers are becomingly increasing frustrated with social media for good reason. Knowing how to use social media to your advantage boosts your business image while you connect with customers and other businesses. Discover the pitfalls of social media, such as wasting time and negative interactions, and how to avoid them.[/box]