Social media marketing refers to marketing activity carried out on social media platforms. Social media marketing involves creating and publishing content on your business’s social media pages to raise awareness, drive sales, engage your target audience, generate conversion, or even simply build a dedicated community for your business.
Marketing products or services on social media involves optimisation through various tools that allow companies to promote their content and have their customers engage with it in real-time. The biggest social media platforms like Meta, Instagram, Twitter, Tic Toc, LinkedIn, and others have made it easy for businesses to engage directly with their customers and target audiences. Most social media platforms also have built-in data analytic tools to help them track their engagements and success.
The advent of social media changed the marketing rules and allowed even the smallest industry players to go toe-to-toe with the more prominent brands. However, like everything else, there is a positive and a negative side. Let’s dive into the pros of social media marketing in business.
Reach a larger audience
Social media marketing has been heaven-sent for small businesses that don’t have the luxury of opening branches across the globe. Social media has no constraints- as long an individual can access the internet and has an account on the platform, your business can reach them. From Brazil to Bostwana, S.Korea to Denmark, social media reaches across the globe, giving a brand a virtually unlimited potential to target its ideal customer.
Direct connection to customers
Social media places the agency in the hands of customers and allows them to choose whether or not they want to interact with a brand and the content it publishes. This essentially means that every single follow, like, or retweet is a vote of confidence in what your brand is doing. With social media marketing, you can test product or service offerings in real-time and get feedback from your target audience. You can also engage with customers in ways conventional marketing channels would never allow.
By engaging and relating with your customer, your business is given the opportunity to get to know their tastes and preferences and thereby create personalised content or product offerings.
Build brand loyalty
The modern customer wants to support a brand that shares their values, speaks to them like a long-lost friend, and, most importantly, a brand that eventually becomes a part of their identity. The more you interact with customers via social media and the more you create content that speaks to your brand truth, the more likely you are to raise brand awareness and brand loyalty. In this regard, consistency is king and will build trust in the marketplace.
Monitor customer feedback
Social media provides the quickest way to get customer feedback on a product or service. With social media marketing, you gain real-time information about whether a particular campaign is achieving the goals set. For example, suppose you were to run an awareness campaign on your Facebook page. In that case, you’d instantly know whether or not the campaign is successful simply based on the amount of engagement the campaign has registered. In addition, you could access data collected and analyzed by the app to aid in deciding whether to keep running the campaign or stop.
Get access to many growth opportunities
Whether small or large, a business of any size benefits greatly from marketing on social media. With wider market reach, lower advertising costs, and real-time feedback, social media marketing presents a unique opportunity for a business to grow quickly.
Grow your business at a faster rate
Social media has a higher lead-to-close rate than traditional forms of marketing and advertising. Due to the personalized content and direct communication between brands and customers, the journey down the sales funnel is made at a faster rate than through conventional marketing channels. This is highly beneficial because it results in more conversions and, ultimately, higher profits.
Access to paid advertising
Social media marketing allows businesses to reach a larger audience for more significant returns. A business can tailor its advertising to suit different audience demographics through social media, leading to higher profits. Different social media platforms provide different options to engage in paid campaigns.
Social media marketing for business presents many advantages but also comes with many disadvantages, as seen below.
Social media marketing can be very time-consuming and challenging for businesses- especially small brands that cannot afford to hire a dedicated team of social media managers. Although social media is free, crafting new content that can captivate the audience can also pose a problem for businesses. For a company to maintain an active social media page, a lot of effort is spent writing posts, creating graphics, and engaging members of the target audience- all of which must be done on a consistent basis.
Negative publicity hurts
The saying ‘all press is good press doesn’t hold true in the world of social media marketing. Customers in today’s digital world wield great power over brands and are not afraid to use it. Social media is rife with stories of brands that misfired by endorsing controversial celebrities, posted content considered racist, or failed to show empathy at a key moment and not only received backlash from the general online community but also eventually lost a lot of business. Brands must walk the social media minefield carefully and be conscious not to say or support anything their target audience might deem offensive. This can be exhausting and feel like a restraint on the business, but it’s the current reality, and brands are expected to abide by the new rules.
Manifestations of wins take a long time
Although social media enables quick engagement with your target audience, it takes a while for a business to accrue positive results from its consistent marketing effort. You may often have to engage in social media marketing for a long time before a noticeable increase in engagement or return on investment is realised, which can be pretty disheartening for some entrepreneurs. Despite this, successful social media marketing requires consistency and dedication; therefore, any business owner must be prepared to pay the price of time and commitment before seeing any meaningful results.
Loss of control
Think of social media as an online marketplace where the usual rules don’t apply. A disgruntled former employee, competitor, or even a dissatisfied customer can spread a false report about your business, causing you to lose followers and support or, worst case, causing people to actively band against your brand. Once a rumour spreads on social media, it can be difficult for a brand to get ahead of it.
Dilutes brand voice
For brands with more than one social media manager handling their accounts, there is the risk of diluting the brand voice with different parties posting in a seemingly different language. This can cause confusion in the marketplace and, in the worst case, leave the brand without a distinctive “voice” that differentiates it from its competitors.
Social media marketing is here to stay, and a strong social media presence is mandatory for any business to be taken seriously. Depending on how the different platforms are utilised, a brand could either be rewarded with increased engagement and sales or shunned. For this reason, social media marketing should be taken seriously and handled with professionalism, insights, and consistency.