Pros of social media
When used effectively, social media can have all the benefits of word of mouth, just on a larger scale! It can also help you reach a high number of potential customers.
Potential advantages of social media can include:
- reduced marketing costs
- increased sales
- increased traffic to your website
- improved ranking on search engines
- greater customer engagement
- greater access to international markets
- opportunity for customer feedback
- opportunity to conduct market research about your customers
- improved networking opportunities with customers and other businesses.
Cons of social media
Social media may not be suited to every business. If you are unprepared and launch your social media presence without proper planning, you could waste valuable time and money.
Some of the possible disadvantages you should be aware of are:
- Not having a clear marketing or social media strategy may result in reduced benefits for your business.
- Additional resources may be needed to manage your online presence.
- Social media is immediate and needs daily monitoring.
- If you don’t actively manage your social media presence, you may not see any real benefits.
- Risk of unwanted or inappropriate behaviour on your site, including bullying and harassment.
- Greater exposure online has the potential to attract risks. Risks can include negative feedback, information leaks or hacking.
Whatever the risk, having a social media strategy and preparing your policy and procedures carefully beforehand can help you manage the risks. False or misleading claims made on your social media channels by your business or by a customer can be subject to consumer law. Customer fan posts and testimonials that are misleading or deceptive to other customers, particularly about competitor products/services may result in your business being fined.
Benefits of social media for business
If used wisely, social media can be a powerful business tool. Some of the opportunities and benefits of social media can include:
- Revenue The most obvious opportunity is to generate revenue. This can be done through building a community or advertising your products or services within the social media platform. If you choose to advertise in social media, the ads can either link back to your business’ social media page or sometimes to your website. This can mean that you’re able to benefit from social media without needing to have a channel.
- Brand development Using social media allows your customers to connect and interact with your business on a more personal level. If you already have an established brand, social media might be an opportunity to further develop your brand and give your business a voice.
- Attracting customersSocial media can be a good way of attracting new customers. For example, when considering social media campaigns, you could try to attract followers with promotions or giveaways. Once you have a good following you can focus on more personalised social media campaigns to encourage them to stay.
- ResearchEven if you think social media is not suited to your business or that you don’t have the time, simply logging on to see what your competitors are doing in this space, or finding out what your customers are saying about you might be a valuable exercise.
- NetworkingNetworking can be a valuable way to exchange ideas with like-minded people to improve the way you do business. Using online networking sites can also be valuable to your business, often for the purpose of knowledge sharing and word-of-mouth referrals.
- RecruitmentSome organisations use social media to advertise vacant positions. Job networking sites like LinkedIn are dedicated to the job market and can help you use networks to attract skilled people.
- Search-engine discoverabilityYour website’s ranking in the search results of various search engines can sometimes be affected by the size and influence of your social network. As your social following grows, your visibility in search engines may also increase. This is a common Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy.
What to do…
- For strategies and practical advice on your business’ online security, go to Stay Smart Online on the Department of Communications and the Arts website.
- Learn more about social media and consumer law on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission website.
- Search Events to see if there are any social media events or seminars near you.
Visit this link to find out more www.business.gov.au/info/run/advertising-and-online/pros-and-cons-of-social-media
Business.gov.au has a wealth of information for small business owners
© Commonwealth of Australia 2016 – Department of Industry, Innovation and Science