First posted: June 11, 2014.
Updated: October 2016 and beyond.
In the last few years, Social Media has grown from being a mere digital channel for “socializing” with other media, into one of the most powerful digital marketing tools for brands and businesses. It has proven a very cost-effective way for promotion and advertising in a new, subtle and very personal way that businesses are doubling their Social Media Marketing budgets during the next five years.
Many businesses are jumping into the Social Media Marketing (SMM) bandwagon, many of which are not even properly planning or assessing the effectiveness and the impact of SMM for their companies and brands. In truth, there are two sides to the SMM coin. One promises profitable success, particularly if SMM is done properly and effectively. On the other side, SMM may prove detrimental to your brand, bringing in results that maybe opposite from what you expected.
So, Digital Marketing Philippines attempts to provide you with this definitive guide that will highlight the Pros and Cons of Social Media Marketing, so you can make intelligent decisions that will be instrumental in setting the fate of your overall digital marketing efforts.
For 2017 and beyond, we have made this new and updated infographic for the Pros and Cons of Social Media for Business:
The Pros of Social Media Marketing for Business (Original 2014 Post)
Businesses going gaga over social media? You can’t blame them for Social Media Marketing does have its perks, and the following will tell you why.
1. Social Media Marketing is Low Cost
One of the main advantages of SMM over traditional media advertising and other digital marketing channels is the considerably lower cost that makes it very appealing for businesses. The most popular social media networks are practically free to join and all tools for interacting with other people are all available for free.
However, to get more marketing mileage for your Social Media Marketing efforts, businesses are investing on a full SMM campaign strategy. These investments are ranging anywhere from $75-$200 hourly rates for SMM consulting to a $3000 to $20,000 a month full-press strategy that includes content generation, page/group setups, digital design, and SMM maintenance.
The industry average for SMM is somewhere between $4,000 and $7,000 a month but this is still relatively a lot more cost effective than the 10.4% of revenues spent on marketing many companies spend on the average.
2. Social Media Marketing Caters to a Big Audience
One of the main advantages SMM has over traditional media marketing is that traditional marketing only caters to a fixed audience (eg. regular magazine readers; TV viewers) while SMM has the potential of reaching out to a very big audience that is totally unlimited in scope and reach – from around the globe. This big audience is the main reason why 92% of digital marketers highlighted generating more exposure for their brands or business with their use of SMM.
Social media marketing also caters to wide demographics regardless of sex, age, and social status. Right now, a big 89% of Internet users that are aged between 18 to 29 years old are actively participating in social media activities. That’s a big market if you are targeting your products or services at this age range. If you’re targeting the 65 and older market, you can reach up to 43% of them through social media marketing.
On top of that, your SMM reach can go beyond your targeted demographic market. People’s friends, relatives and networks go beyond their own demographic, paving for you new channels for generating leads or sales – if people share your content to these networks.
3. Social Media Marketing is Fast
If you have something to promote or have some news or fresh information that you would like to share or inform to your target markets, you can rely on Social Media Marketing for fast action and fast results. You can even synchronize your website with your social network channels, so automatic or fresh updates are immediately disseminated once you have something new available. This can be good for your business as two-thirds of adults online that use social media channels like blogs can have their purchasing decisions influenced by what they read in these blogs.
4. Social Media Marketing Generates Interaction
One of the problems many business have with traditional means of sales and marketing is maintaining a good, long-term relationship with their existing customers. The beauty of Social Media Marketing is that it is based and is powered by social interaction, which in the long run develops trust you and your audience. The more you nurture a regular interaction with your audiences, the more you’ll generate a better and longer term of relationship – that would spell profitable results for your business.
5. Social Media Marketing Nurtures Brand Loyalty
The more you have healthy interactions with your targeted audiences on social media that definitely boost your online reputation, and in the process develop brand loyalty. A person-to-person and more interactive relationship with your targeted audiences means that you care for them, which in turns generates trusts – which in turn breeds loyalty.
6. Social Media Marketing is Good for Customer Service
Many customers spend time on social media channels and if they have something to say to a brand or a company, they would go through their social media page. They would voice out their praises, suggestions and complaints through these channels, providing you with a highly interactive and very personal means of providing good customer services by listening and responding to what they have to say.
The Cons of Social Media Marketing for Business
Just like anything else in this world, nothing is perfect, even Social Media Marketing. While there are considerable benefits with the use of SMM, there are also dangers to its use that can result in detrimental impacts to your business.
1. Social Media Marketing is Time Consuming
Industry reports say that up to 64% of digital marketers spend at least 6 hours on Social Media Marketing. A good 37% on the other hand spends more than 11 hours on SMM. This is relatively time consuming for many business owners who want to get results from their SMM efforts. The problem however is if not done correctly, all your SMM efforts and the time spent on these will deliver totally useless results or traffic that will not convert into leads or sales.
2. Social Media Marketing Generates Negative Users
One of the problem with Social Media is that it attracts all sorts of people, even the negative and malicious ones. These negative elements include spammers, scammers, trolls and all other sorts of malicious individuals all out to do harm to your online reputation. These includes negative comments which, while most are truly valid feedbacks, some are just intended to spread negativities against your brand.
3. Social Media Marketing Makes You Lose Control
What you publish online, especially through social media channels, can really go viral and spread like wildfire in the online sphere. This can prove beneficial for you if it generates positive results. On the other hand, you really have no control over what you publish online and everything is available for anyone – including negative and malicious elements online. They can use your materials to criticize you or spread erroneous information that will damage your online reputation.
4. Social Media Marketing ROI is Hard to Define
A recent study highlighted that up to 89% of digital marketers really would want to know the ROI of their social media efforts. Only 37% can measure the results of their SMM, while another 35% say they are really not sure if they are measuring ROI properly – and 28% say they really don’t know how to measure ROI at all.
Based on what has just been presented to you, Social Media Marketing does deliver some tangible, favorable results for your business. It is just a matter of doing things right and sticking to the best practices. Otherwise, you’ll end up with opposite results for your SMM efforts that may do more harm for your business that what your intended SMM goals were.
Jomer B. Gregorio is a well-rounded expert when it comes digital marketing. Jomer is also known as a semantic SEO evangelist and practitioner. Check out our Digital Marketing Services today and let us help you in achieving positive and profitable results for your business.