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The Benefits and Risks of Social Media to Your Business

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Do you have an active social media strategy in play? If not ask yourself the question why, as social media is inexpensive, readily available and so much more…

In July 2013 Facebook reportedly had 1.15 billion users. Social Media Marketing is thriving, and many businesses have turned to advertising and self promotion on social media platforms to reap the benefits of the world wide web. Well if 1.15 million users can be targeted, of course they would!

We need to educate ourselves on the pro’s and con’s of social media marketing to decide whether this is the path for your business:

So what’s good?

1. By posting and sharing on social media platforms, on a steady basis, you are creating brand visibility. People will be able to read your content, as well as share it with other people. This creates awareness to existing, as well as new potential clients.

2. By posting and sharing helpful content, you are showing clients you are a “Go-To” Site where they can find informative content. The content you share (when relevant to your business) helps build a trustworthy image. It creates authority.

3. Being available online to your customers opens the doors to communication. This is a way clients can engage with you, and you can respond professionally, efficiently and instantaneously. People will see you are interested in what your clients have to say. And when you respond they see that you care.

4. You become more of a friend in the clients’ eyes, rather than a salesman with a pitch. You build loyal followers.

5. It’s inexpensive. Mostly free, unless you are using Facebook advertising or Google Adword Campaigns

6. It acts as a voice for your company. You can post questions and surveys to get feedback from clients. You can post adverts, run promotions and competitions to hype clients up about your brand, which could lead to increased sales.

7. It is GLOBAL. Your overall reach increases. More people also equals more sales!

Here is a link for further reading: http://www.spiral16.com/blog/2013/08/top-5-social-media-benefits-for-marketers/

Not all publicity is good publicity Well we start with the obvious, you’re exposed. If you provide a poor service, people will tell you, and they will be able to do so on the social media platforms. Your clients now have full range to rant or rave about your business in the public eye.

1. Your reputation. You are an open book, people will share reviews, and you must be ready for these. Hiring someone with the right tone and who is consistent in turn-around-time, will be necessary (depending on how big your business is). There may be costs for hiring a person to be available to meet the demands of customers, in order to have a good turn-around time on client queries. There is more pressure to reply instantaneously, as people will rant if you don’t!

2. Hackers have been known to overtake a page and post false information, and try and tarnish your reputation. Have security measures in effect. If you have hired outside help to manage your social media platforms, ensure they have signed a confidentiality agreement. The Pro’s might outweigh the con’s, but the con’s seem to hold graver consequences. Your business is now extremely vulnerable to criticism and opinions of your clients. You have a greater responsibility to provide a great service or bare the brunt of angry clients, ready to take you on.

Make sure your business is fool proof to protect your reputation and start benefiting from the rewards that these social media platforms have to offer.

Megan Mc Kinlay

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