Social media is on the rise and this year, it’s anticipated that social media marketing spend is due to be 19% higher than last year — More than £30bn! It has grown from being a medium where people socialise to one of the most powerful avenues for marketing and promotion of businesses.
In the UK, approximately 67% of the population has a social media account. On average we spend just under 2 hours a day on social media. Why wouldn’t you want to appear there? A key rule of marketing is putting the right message to the right audience in the right place. Clearly, for many brands that place is social media!
With its large audiences and low costs, it’s easy to get carried away when using social media in your business. At h2o we’ve encountered a few businesses that expect the phone to be ringing off the hook the minute they’ve set up a Twitter account. It’s good to be aware of both the pros and cons before you begin your social media journey.
Pros of social media
Social media can help you reach a veritable smorgasbord of potential customers as it’s basically all the benefits of word of mouth but on a larger scale (if done properly and effectively).
The interactions between your followers and audiences are where a lot of the value lies in social media. They do most of the work for you to an extent, by talking about your brand or creating a sense of community around a product or service, providing reviews and testimonials.
Potential advantages of social media can include:
- Reduce marketing costs
- Increase traffic to your website
- Improve your search engine rankings (SEO)
- Greater customer engagement
- Open doors to international markets
- Target audience market research
- Easy for customer feedback
- Networking opportunities with customers and other businesses
Don’t be deceived at how obvious this sounds. The trick for the content you’re putting on social media is to create something your viewers want to see and read about. If they’re following you, they’re already interested in what you do — so you’re already halfway there.
Cons of social media
If you are unprepared and launch your social media presence without proper planning, you could waste valuable time and money.
Possible disadvantages you should be aware of are:
- Not having a clear marketing or social media strategy may result in your posts having no purpose. For useful tips about a digital marketing strategy, why not check out our blog about it!
- Each channel needs to be monitored regularly. If you don’t actively manage your social media presence, you may not see any real benefits.
- Wasting time on posts that are not relevant and may not receive any engagement — make sure the posts always relate back to your brand.
- Risk of inappropriate comments which could damage your brand’s reputation.
- For me, giving your audience a false representation of your brand is the biggest no-no. You need to be honest with your followers on who you are. Honesty is the best policy after all.
Some social media channels may not be suited to your business as it’s largely dependant on your industry. Take Instagram for example, as a highly visual platform for sharing photos and videos, the better you can showcase yourself and your offering in an appealing and creative way, the more effective Instagram will be as a business tool for you and your business. If you’re not in the most photogenic or image-friendly business, like an abattoir, for example, Instagram probably isn’t the platform for you.
Although there are some negative-sounding cons to social media, having a social media strategy prepared before you get started will help you manage those risks. Remember, a good social media presence can be highly rewarding.
Social media can be a bit of a slow burner, especially at the beginning. You may expect hundreds of followers straight away and people to bite at your posts and hey presto they’re now a customer or client! You can definitely achieve sales from social media but it’s more about getting your brand out there and talked about in the world. Just don’t expect too much, too soon.
It’s essential to make sure you strategise well and plan properly — which is exactly why at h2o, we focus on delivering the best tips to help you fully realise the benefits of social media marketing for business.