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Top 13 Social Media Advantages and Disadvantages


Over 77% of Americans use social media, creating a massive opportunity for reaching a new audience. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to using social media for business. The following article will go over both sides.


Top 10 Advantages of Social Media


Reaching a Larger Audience


With tens of millions using at least one social media platform, businesses are able to reach a much larger audience than can be segmented based on induvial interests.

Pew Research Center stated the following percentage of adults in the United States use these social media platforms, either on desktop or mobile:

  • Twitter – 24%
  • LinkedIn- 25%
  • Snapchat – 27%
  • Pinterest – 29%
  • Instagram – 35%
  • Facebook – 68%
  • YouTube – 73%

The number of adults using these platforms creates an opportunity for companies to capture new leads. This is a major advantage for any business, no matter the service or product. More leads equal to more potential buyers.

For example, an internet café in New York City, NY, could reach tourists and locals through social media by targeting users that are active near a specific location through targeted ads. A business can boost posts to gain attention from users with a similar interest. Both social media strategies can encourage more foot traffic to their business.


Building Relations


There are a few marketing strategies that allow businesses to directly connect and build a relationship with the audience. These users are already interested in the product or service you offer, which is why they choose to follow the page.

The following are some advantages to being able to directly communicate with the audience:

Improved customer service – By directly communicating with the audience, you are able to quickly resolve problems that occur. You’re able to address them directly with the customer or client, helping to further build a positive relationship with them.

Learn about customers – With direct communication with the audience, you can offer content that is more valuable to your audience. It also creates the opportunity to personalize content to your audience’s interests, which increases page engagement.

Quickly get feedback – Knowing how your audience perceives the service they receive, allows you to quickly impose changes based on this feedback. Being able to capitalize and strengthen the weaker areas of a business is a big advantage.

Obtain valuable customer insight – By knowing who is interacting with posts by commenting, sharing, or liking them, you can get an insight into what customers prefer. This allows businesses to adapt marketing strategies to better fit the target audience.

Social media marketing is a great way to achieve business growth; having a connection, and building a relationship with the audience increases the chance of successful campaigns. It allows you to quickly adapt and correct weak areas.


Creating Organic Content


Social media allows businesses to share organic content, giving them another advantage for connecting with their audience. It can also create a valuable lead generation. The best part may be that it’s free, which is why so many companies are starting to incorporate social media into their marketing strategies.

There is no limit to how much you can share, and it has been shown companies that post over 16 times per month, or once every 1-2 days receive 4 times the engagement. Depending on the platform, posts can be content, videos, images, or a combination of these to increase user engagement. Content can help increase brand awareness through a larger reach.


Paid Advertising Channels


If you’re looking for more reach than posting original content offers, paid advertisements are an option. Your overall marketing strategies should be based on which platform you choose, as each offers a slightly different approach.

The purpose of paid advertisement is to increase brand awareness, leads, and sales from those that may not be aware of your business yet. Because of this, you can segment your ads to target very specific users, ensuring your ad is only shown to the most valuable users that already have an interest in your product or service.


Growing Your Brand



Building and growing your brand is another key advantage of using social media for business. Once you obtain a new lead, you can easily get your content and brand in front of them to increase awareness and recognition.

Brand loyalty can be strengthened by exposing the brand to more people. When they become more familiar with your product or service, they will begin talking about it. Word of mouth remains one of the biggest advantages as satisfied customers will mention your brand in conversation with friends and family.

Similarly, those with interest in your content are more likely to share it on Facebook, repining on Pinterest, or retweeting on Twitter. Therefore, further gaining exposure for your business.


Increasing Website Traffic


Social media has the ability to greatly increase traffic to your website. You can post call to action content, including links back to your site that encourages users to click the link. Once on your site, they can learn more about what you offer. Alternatively, your sales funnel kicks in to continue directing them to take the action you want.

This approach can help you explain your business better, describe products and services, or schedule appointments depending on the type of business. For example, a dentist can use social media for directing users to their website to schedule their initial appointment and fill out new patient forms.


Performance Evaluation



Another advantage is being able to evaluate your marketing performance, and social media makes this a simple process. Tracking campaign performance allows you to easily determine the number of users engaging with your content, either through likes, commenting, sharing, or other ways.

There are metrics available each time you boost a post or create an advertising campaign, including clicks, impressions, and a number of conversions. By reviewing the performance, you can make adjustments to optimize it for the best results.


Social Media Is Free


Social Media platforms are free to begin using, making them an easy addition to any business plan. The only investment required to get started would be time for setting up the business page or profile and creating unique content.

Of course, paid advertising is an option on many social media sites, allowing for further growth. Paid marketing also offers more immediate results.


Potential To Go Viral


If you can create original content that a large number of people enjoy enough, it could go viral. This occurs when enough people share content with their inner-network, which is then seen by others that do the same.

Many types of content go viral, including photos and videos, to recipes and flash sales. Sharing is one of the larger advantages of using social media. If content goes viral, it can get millions of views in a short time without any additional time or advertising costs.

The more followers a business account has, the more likely it will go viral as the followers take time to share.


Valuable Insights


By responding and listening to your followers, valuable insights can be achieved. This information allows businesses to learn how customers perceive the brand. Being able to know this, changes can be made quickly to adapt.

For example, by noticing how people discuss their experience, you can determine what they like, what they don’t like, and how to further improve your product and services. People enjoy using a business that considers their opinions.


The 4 Main Disadvantages of Social Media


Like with all things, there are some disadvantages that all businesses should consider. That does not mean social media will not be an effective marketing method for your business, but there could be some challenges to overcome.



Negative Feedback


While social media has many advantages to being used, including receiving feedback from customers, not all feedback will be positive. Like with a satisfying product, people use social media to share their poor experiences with a company as well. Therefore, when a customer is not fully satisfied, it creates the possibility of them sharing their experience with their friends, family, and followers.

There are various types of negative feedback, depending on the platform. For example, with Facebook, unsatisfied consumers have the option of leaving negative reviews on a business page, which is available for others to read.

On Twitter, consumers simply need to tag the business in their Tweet, which can be retweeted by others. The process is similar to Instagram.

Because a single consumer with poor experience can quickly spread their experience, it can result in poor brand image across a large network of people. Due to people having this emotion of social obligation, they share things on an impulse to help others avoid a similar experience.

Negative feedback is unavoidable, but having too many poor reviews will have a major impact on marketing and advertising campaigns. People create initial trust with a company based on the experience of others, and they will see a bunch of negative reviews as a red flag.


How to Handle This Disadvantage of Social Media:


Instead of ignoring it, respond to every negative review or comment. You want to address the issue as quickly as possible to see if there is a resolution to turn the unsatisfied customer into a happy one. Although not always possible, it will show others that you tried, which can go a long way.


Possible Embarrassment


Social media makes it easy for things to go viral in a hurry, but that is not always a good thing if there’s a typo or mistake in the post. A simple mistake can cause a company a ton of embarrassment when that mistake gets millions of views!

For instance, hashtags are one way to help things go viral. However, if your company does not research the meaning behind a hashtag, it could really cause awkward problems. The hashtag could be something that just sounds good, such as “#WhyIStayed,” which was trending for a while. DiGiorno Pizza jumped to the opportunity to capitalize on the popularity.

Their mistake was tweeting “#WhyIStayed you had pizza.”, thinking it was a clever play on words. However, researching the meaning behind the hashtag was skipped, and they quickly removed it after getting waves of angry comments. The hashtag referenced abusive relationships to encourage conversations with others with similar experiences.

Obviously, this caused a lot of issues and caused them to require weeks of damage control. This caused thousands to think negatively about the company. That is why it’s always important to research, proofread, and double-check when there is a possibility of embarrassment.


How to Handle This Disadvantage of Social Media:


First, always research things before creating and posting on social media. From a hashtag to video and image content, if there is the slightest room for error in a fact, meaning, etc. research it before proceeding. Research is worth the time and effort, damage control always takes longer (and not always guaranteed to work).


Time Consuming Campaigns


Social media marketing requires a lot of time and focus on getting right. There needs to be a regular flow of fresh content and engaging with your audience. This can take up a lot of additional time, especially for smaller businesses that have limited resources.

A small business or new startup may lack the resources of a marketing manager. Finding the balance between managing a business and a social marketing campaign can be challenging. It requires regular monitoring of posts, content responding with comments and messages, and analyzing the impact content has.

When you lack time to devote to a social media marketing campaign, it will impact the success of your campaigns. They will not be as effective as it could be, and that can be a major disadvantage.


How to Handle This Disadvantage of Social Media:


If your company lacks resources for managing a social media campaign, outsourcing to an agency is an option. A social media marketing agency has the experience and time to help your campaigns be more effective.


Waiting For Results


Unlike with CPC advertising, results are not immediate. The overall success of a social marketing campaign is the end results, which means you have to wait until the campaign is over to determine results.

You cannot simply publish content once or twice and determine results, it requires consistency and adjustments to content and advertising campaigns. It can take several weeks to have enough information to get an idea of what works, what doesn’t, and fine-tune your methods.


How to Handle This Disadvantage of Social Media:


There is only one way to handle this one, and that is through reminding yourself results will take time, especially if you running a longer campaign. However, while waiting on campaign results, you could monitor the performance of posts and have the information prepared for comparison with the final results of your campaign.

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