Those of us who work in social media, specifically in social media marketing, admittedly have a bias when it comes to how it can be utilized and leveraged. However, we are going to put that aside for now and look at this objectively. We want to re-analyze the future of social media in our society, looking at the pros and cons, both in the professional world, and personally.
Understandably, in recent years, some people have grown increasingly skeptical of social media. Lots of people aren't looking at the value of social media campaigns in terms of marketing; they're looking at it from a purely personal, social, point of view.
This can pose a problem when trying to get a brand to embrace using social media, therefore those of us who have learned to properly leverage it are left to the task of convincing these people that the benefits of social media marketing for small to medium businesses far outweigh the costs.
As with everything, understanding the benefits of something also means that you should be aware of the pitfalls as well. So, let's take a look at the pros and cons of this etherial world.
1. Social media helps SEO
Whether you know it or not, strategic social media marketing can support your SEO efforts. Google is constantly trying to find ways to serve people with the most relevant search results possible. If people are sharing content from your site, Google HAS to recognize that content as good-quality. Having social share buttons on your website is a great idea to help facilitate this effect. Having a great social presence might also help attract guest bloggers who would surely help share links to their work, so spruce up that social effort for SEO’s sake!
2 . Social media creates relationships
This is probably the most well-known benefit of social media marketing, and possibly the most important. Studies show that the more time that a person spends with a brand; the more likely they are to buy from them. Creating and reinforcing relationships is very difficult to do with only your website. Social media gives your brand a voice and allows a personalized experience for a community of people who express interest in your brand. These relationships will create positive word of mouth and a positive brand perception.
3. Social content can be re-used
The content that you distribute on one social media channel can be used on another. One simple blog can be made anew a few times depending on how you post about it. Keep in mind that you always want to take in to consideration the structure and culture of the social channel you are posting to. Be sure to use appropriate hashtags on Twitter, Pinterest and Google+, and think of a good call to action when posting on Facebook. A single content piece can have many second-winds with social media.
4. Niche networks means targeted customers
Social media can be very beneficial if you are active in the channels where your target audience is. If you are a B2B company, consider spending more time in LinkedIn. Are you a fashion brand? Consider stepping up your efforts on Instagram and Pinterest. Social media has gone from two major power players that catered to a general audience to a fragmentation of different sites where different demographics of people congregate. Find out where you desired audience is and get busy!
5. Creation of Great User Generated Content
User generated content is the holy grail of social media marketing. A positive comment or tweet not only serves as a great endorsement of your brand, it also has much more resonance that a brand generated marketing message. I would argue that a photo that a person posts using your product is way more powerful than a stock image with your logo superimposed. Embrace user generated content and strive to create a social community that welcomes it.
1. No Content = No Bueno
An issue with social media is that leveraging it won’t be beneficial without content. It’s possible for virtually any brand to be successful; however content is the metaphoric gas that fuels the engine. Without content, you will have a branded shell simply taking up e-space. If you really want to make your brand social, you have to invest time and effort in content generation. Many brands don’t have the time or resources to consistently churn out sharable content.
2. Success Takes Time
We often say that social media, much like organic SEO, is a marathon and not a sprint. At the end of the day, all that matters is what impacts the bottom line and proof of that impact from social media takes time to see. A brand must establish a presence, build a community, perfect its content strategy and develop a way to track their efforts. This process needs ongoing nurturing and a lot of brands want to see the immediate return on their investment in social. Unfortunately it takes a bit of time to see growth and success.
3. Social Content has a Short Shelf Life
We mentioned that social media presents a way to give one piece of content multiple legs, however social content ages very quickly. So there is a need to continuously create content. Content ages at different speeds on each channel, so there can be some frustration for brands when it comes to creating content.
4. Constant Need for Monitoring
There are millions of conversations happening right this very second across all social channels. Are any of them about your brand? Are they good things? It is very important for brands to frequently monitor engagement and brand mentions. This allows them to be proactive for simple customer service issues and foresee customer backlash when larger issues arise. Similar to the content conversation, many brands simply don’t have the time or resources to keep tabs on the ever growing social conversation.
Do you have any pros or cons of social media that you would like to share? Let us know in the comment section!
Or, if you are looking for an agency with a proven social media marketing track record, then let's have a conversation!