The Pros and Cons of Social Media

The use of the internet for information sharing, otherwise known as Web 2.0, is a phenomena that isn’t going to go away. As such, many businesses and organizations have found themselves searching for ways to incorporate the use of social media into their regular marketing campaigns.

There are, of course, both pros and cons to the use of social media. Let’s take a look at a few of the pros first:

  • Some studies have shown that up to 80% of young adults are using social networking services. Others claim that social media sites are signing up as many as 500,000 new users each and every day.
  • The use of social media makes it easier to build personal relationships with your followers. A huge number of users access social media sites from their cell phones or PDA devices. They’re looking to have information at their fingertips all the time.
  • Using social media in your marketing efforts guarantees you’ll reach groups of people you might not have otherwise connected with – whether people “retweet” your news for their friends to read or “share” your Facebook fan page with others.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to really study your target audience. You’re not only able to share information, but you can interact with the people taking advantage of it. This type of interaction can give you a distinct edge when it comes to gathering and analyzing data within your niche.
  • Interacting with your potential customers will help to build a sense of loyalty. You’ll be able to show them how much you care, and they’ll continue to turn to you for information and/or products.

Utilizing social media in your marketing efforts does have a distinct set of drawbacks. These include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Using social media as a marketing resource takes a ton of time. You have to create content, attract an initial following, and maintain interaction. This means responding to comments and answering emails – no matter how many you receive.
  • You’ll end up competing with advertisements, and sometimes spam. The larger the network you choose to use, the harder it is to avoid these.
  • The more you use social media, the more public your brand becomes. If you are targeting a specific niche, it’ll actually become easier for your competition to get a better idea of the approaches you take to develop and sell your products.
  • You have to be incredibly careful about what you say as you utilize social networking sites. One misstep could result in a barrage of public backlash, resulting in a damaged image or brand.
  • It takes a lot of time to build customer loyalty through social networking, which means you won’t get as high of a ROI upfront as you might using other methods.

Not sure if social media is right for you? Consider the type of business you run, whether you need to reach a broad audience or one within a specific niche, and whether or not you really have the time. Social media may be growing in popularity, but it’s still not right for everyone.

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