For most businesses the answer is a resounding yes, but there are businesses out there that may not benefit from a comprehensive social media presence. In this article Meemo Digital looks at the pros and cons of using social media for your business, and why it is something you should consider.
Social media is a broad area, even if your business would benefit from a presence on some channels, such as Twitter, or Facebook, it does not necessarily mean it is beneficial to have a presence on all channels that are available to use.
Pros of using Social Media for your Business:
It’s where your audience are located
It is crucial that every business considers the audience they are targeting. Your aim may be to maximise revenue from current customers and/or attract new clients to the business. If social media is where your target audience is based then your company should consider a presence on social networks. Businesses often forget to consider their target audience, but it is important to take a step back and analyse the end objectives of your marketing efforts.
It can open up new paths
In my article – The Digital Journey I discuss how making it easy for people to discover your business is a big benefit. Social media can provide more channels for people to discover your business. It can help expose your business to new audiences. It can provide an easy way for people to discover your business if they are looking for the products or services that you provide.
Engage with your customers
Social media provides an excellent way to keep in touch with your customers. It allows your business to keep up with changing markets and keep your customers informed. It can also provide a quick and easy way to keep your audience informed about new products and services you offer. It allows you to keep communication lines open and get feedback that can help with continual improvement for your business.
Keep up with the competition
Businesses often wonder about the benefits of social media for their business, and if the time and money needed to maintain them will deliver a return on investment. There are obvious factors to take into account, but one factor that many businesses neglect to consider is what the competition is doing. If your audience is on social media there will more than likely be direct competitors targeting your existing customer base and audience. Do you need to have a presence on social media to compete in your market?
Anything that lets you form connections with your audience gives your business the opportunity to create relationships that can encourage loyalty to your brand. If people feel connected to your business they are more likely to consider you if they need the products and services you supply, even if that is at some point in the future. Customers that feel loyal to your brand are much more likely to make repeat purchases. It is a lot easier and more cost effective to keep existing customers than attract new ones to your business.
Targeted local marketing
If your main area of promotion is based around your immediate geographical area then social media is a great opportunity to target a local audience. Your marketing efforts can be highly tuned to raise brand awareness in specific local audiences, maximising the return on your marketing efforts.
On the other hand, social media can provide an easy channel to target a much wider audience than many traditional forms of marketing efforts. The world really is your oyster when it comes to social media. It can provide a very cost effective means to connect with people and businesses across the globe.
Cost effective marketing
Social networks are free to use for basic purposes, and there are opportunities for paid advertising on many of the channels that can provide highly targeted advertising to your audience. Social media can provide a very high return on investment depending on your industry, audience and competition.
Build your brand
An active and professional presence on social media can provide opportunities beyond simple sales. Businesses can connect with their employees, and even attract future talent to their organisation if they can demonstrate they are a good place to work. It allows your business to connect within the local community and raise awareness of their products and services.
Identify new opportunities
The engagement from social media helps your business keep up to date with developments within your market. You can keep track of the latest news and advancements that may help you identify new opportunities. You can use it to carry out market research, for example with surveys that can assist with developing new products or services.
A joined up digital marketing strategy
If you get it right then social media can help support the rest of your digital marketing efforts. If you can generate content that is useful, interesting and engaging then it is more likely to get shared across multiple social channels. This can play a big part in helping your SEO efforts for your website, which takes account of the links generated across the internet. It isn’t a simple matter of quantity, but also the quality of the resources that link to your assets plays a big part in determining how your content ranks in search engine results pages, (SERPS).
Cons of using Social Media for your Business:
Your audience doesn’t live there
Within some industries the business isn’t played out on social media. It could be a very closed market and the contacts you work with are not using social media to make deals. If this is the case then the chances of your business achieving any sort of worthwhile return on investment for the time and effort involved in setting up and maintaining social media accounts is negligible.
You don’t want any close contact with your audience
If you work in an industry where you are really not popular with your audience then social media may not be appropriate. This is not necessarily because you are rubbish at what you do, but because what you do is unpopular. Social media may make it a little too easy for that lack of popularity to be highlighted, and could act as a target for negativity towards your business.
It does not deliver a return on investment
Whilst setting up the accounts is free, keeping them up to date with engaging, relevant content is not. It can cost in time and money to maintain your accounts. It could be that there are better ways to target your marketing efforts depending on your business.
You don’t keep your social media accounts updated or respond to queries.
If you are not prepared to keep your accounts updated then social media may not be suitable for your business. There is nothing worse for a business than a query that gets unanswered because you are not monitoring your social media accounts. It can result in bad feeling amongst your audience if their questions go unanswered.
If you would like any help deciding if social media can help your business to grow, and how you can get started, get in touch.