Social media marketing for your business: The good, the bad and the ugly.
Marketing has revolutionized drastically since social media appeared on the scene in 1997. Social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and blog sites are just a few new ways for people and businesses to communicate, advertise and share information in creative ways. This modern tool, like many other communication technology, has a good, a bad and an ugly side that we must evaluate and understand before choosing it as an online medium
One of the main advantages of social media marketing (SMM) is the fact that it is a cost-effective method. Most platforms out there are free to join and use. For little or no financial investment at all, a business can reach a substantially big target audience. You can also pay for social media advertisements or launch a full SMM campaign, this will allow your business to reach its targeted audience via smart technology and ‘geo-targeting’.
Social media can help you reach a specific target market, in a specific location who are interested in your specific product or service. If clients are interested in your information, they will voluntarily follow or join your platform. When followers can relate, or are inspired by your content they will start to identify your brand as one of the products that they need to help improve themselves. Together with quality service, social media can help induce brand loyalty.
SMM is viral in nature and can easily create a marketing buzz around your business, since each person who reads your posts can share your posts with their own online social network. With over 2.3 billion social media users across the globe, this allows for information to reach a large audience quickly and easily.
Another good aspect is in the uniqueness of social media platforms. These platforms allow for customers to share their personal experience of your business with others, or to communicate with your business on a more direct personal level. You can also engage with these customer or prospective customers in an on-going conversation. This allows for building authentic relationships and providing customer service, something traditional marketing can’t offer.
If you deal with overseas clients, social media will help reduce communication barriers. You can use these platforms as a fast way to communicate with clients on the other side of the world, either via direct messages or one-on-one interactions.
Platforms like LinkedIn allow your employees to become brand extensions or ambassadors for your business online. You can encourage employees to promote your business online, this means your brand will get exposure at no advertising costs. You can also gain marketplace insight by monitoring comments on your content.
The good thing about SMM is that you promote your business and content in a smart, cost effective way while gathering information to enhance your marketing, business, product management and customer support even further.
Of course, the good side of SMM also has a bad side. While saving you money it may steal your time. Maintaining an interactive social media presence can be very time consuming.
Social media is unpredictable and difficult to control. Even if you manage all your platforms correctly, your business could still be subjected to negative reviews, online rumours, low ratings and photo’s that represent your business badly. On the other hand, your business might well be subjected to these negative exposures whether your using social media or not. At least by using SMM you can seek out these negativities and contribute positively by contacting the reviewers or speaking on behalf of your business online.
But be careful what you post online. Everything posted in public can be held against your business. Your brand can be damaged by what you say or what others say about your business online. Every business making use of SMM are vulnerable to people who can spread false news and harmful information to purposely harm your brand’s reputation.
Although SMM is very gratifying, it is very difficult to measure the effectiveness and positive impact of SMM properly. It is therefore hard to measure the return if you invested money in SMM.
SMM carries some ugly risks. Per a report by the IT Governance ISACA, social media is ranked on the top five at risk for viruses, malware, brand hijacking, lack of control over corporate content, unrealistic customer expectations and non-compliance with record management regulations. It is possible for outside forces to gain unauthorised access to your account. Social media can be very risky if not properly monitored and protected.
Social media can propel great growth for a business when used well. If you decide to use social media as a marketing tool for your business, you need to keep in mind that you will gain exposure online but in turn your business will also be left exposed. Everything that happens on the internet stays on the internet. Therefor it is important to learn how to use social media effectively and appropriately to protect and promote your brand. If you need assistance with creating a social media strategy suited for your brand and target audience, or you need help in managing online accounts, you are welcome to contact BVSA Communication at firstname.lastname@example.org We will gladly assist you with simple and sensible guidance.
Article by BVSA Communication