The Pro’s & Con’s of Social Media

Here we consider and evaluate the pros and cons of social media for small & medium sized businesses.
To do, or not to do, that is the question…

There are Pros and Cons of Social Media for a Small Business. We insist on pointing out to our clients both sides of the story…

Social media platforms can be a useful investment for your business, but there are numerous aspects to consider.

 

While, on the surface, it may seem like a no brainer, you can cause damage to your business if you don’t do it right. In addition, no two businesses are alike, and you need to think very carefully about your own particular situation.  Do not surmise that just because your competitor has 5,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook, you can simply start a Facebook page and do likewise.

 

With that in mind, let’s assess some of the pros and cons of social media for your business.

Done correctly, and with proper management, social media can be extremely positive for your business…

 

  1. Many of your potential customers and clients use social media. It can never be a bad idea to be seen where you know your customers congregate.
  2. Some of your customers (existing and also new ones) may expect your business to have a Facebook presence, so it’s probably a good idea to be on it.
  3. Social media can be more affordable than traditional advertising. Your company can widen its reach at a lower relative cost.
  4. You should get decent feedback from customers. If you monitor your feedback, you can evaluate the good and the not so good opinions about your business.
  5. Well done social media can elevate you above your competitors. All things being equal, if they don’t do it, or do it poorly, you will merely by default rise above them.
  6. Social media gives you another opportunity to interact with your customers and impress them with your products, services and your levels of customer service.
  7. Social media has an element of uniqueness in that it can convey information and news about your business very quickly, instantaneously even! Are you announcing a special offer? Have you got some new product or service to tell your customers about? Tweeting this and publishing a nicely crafted post on Facebook is without doubt the fastest way to convey this to your customers and potential niche market.
  8. Encourage and drive traffic & visitors to your website and/or your shop, premises, showroom etc.
  9. Maximize the influence of other marketing approaches you employ, such as printed media, directories, direct mail, email marketing, radio and TV.
  10. SEO signals and benefits. Posting on social media is now factored into Googles search algorithm, and can help you rank higher in the SERPS. (search engine results page)

Don’t expect miracles overnight, and remember that time, just like money, is a valuable resource…

 

  1. You must manage and publish to social media regularly and consistently. It is better not to use social media at all than to have a twitter and facebook pages with no fresh content posted for 4 or 5 months. It reflects really badly on your business and creates a seriously counterproductive environment. ‘Use it or lose it’ There is no middle ground here.
  2. Good Social media content requires time, effort and also the skills and knowledge of how to utilize the tools built into twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc. That means either a learning curve or using someone within your business who is comfortable and familiar with settings, options, profiles and so on. If you don’t want to do the former, nor have the latter, you may want to consider using a third party such as Thisworks to manage your social media campaigns.
  3. You have to forfeit a degree of privacy and data. There is a whole debate about this, and you will have to decide yourself if you feel it worthwhile.
  4. Social media is generally a slow burner’ and should be considered a long term investment.
  5. There is (the very real) possibility of negative publicity, negative feedback and even rogue practices such as your competitors conspiring to tarnish your reputation. This has to be balanced and evaluated against the potential positive upsides.
  6. Over expectation and over estimating the returns from social media are, in our opinion, one of the biggest pitfalls of the whole social networking medium. Many of our clients have approached us, to ask us to integrate twitter and Facebook feeds on to their website home page, enthusiastically believing it will produce buying customers in their droves, only to become disappointed and disillusioned when the stampede to their door doesn’t materialise. They then wane in their posting activity and the whole thing begins to spiral into neglect and decline. You have to have REALISTIC expectations, and manage accordingly.

Social media means investing, just like any other aspect of your business…

 

There are realistically three options for how to run your social media, and each will have a ‘cost’ to your business, even the ‘DIY’ option which you may think is the cheapest way to do it.

 

Option #1,

You adopt the ‘DIY’ approach, and set out to manage and run everything yourself. “Why pay for someone to do this, when I can do it myself surely?”

That seems an attractive choice, and keeps costs to… well nothing.

But time is money in business, and in our humble experience, most business owners struggle to get things done within their average working day, never mind adding several hours per month on to their ‘to do list’ job sheet now you have to think up, create, design and post lovely well crafted social media posts.

For the inexperienced or novice social media manager, this is the fast track to failure. Trust us, we know. We’ve seen it time and time again.

 

Option#2

Is a hybrid, where you use someone within your organisation, who you feel has the required time within their job scope, to undertake the creation, design and posting. The ideas, campaigns and news can originate from anyone within the business, and they funnel this to the social media manager, who collates and decides what is useful to post.

This method can work very well, especially if the delegated employee is already familiar with the social media platforms you are using. The skill here is to ensure the content is worthwhile, and the motivation level remains high for your social media manager. If it declines into halfhearted posting of nondescript waffle, you need someone new. Fast.

 

Option #3

Is where you employ a third party company to manage your social media. This will obviously require an extra financial investment, and you need to weigh up if you feel the extra cost is worth it.

Contact us for an initial informal chat, more information & advice, or a free evaluation and no obligation quotation | Call us on 01925 498858 or email us…