Over the last decade, social media has emerged as one of the most powerful advertising tools at a company’s disposal. The sheer number of active users—more than 3.5 billion at this point—combined with the wealth of data you can mine from provides both an incredible amount of access and behavioral insights.
But social media isn’t the end-all, be-all for marketers. It doesn’t guarantee conversions or positive ROI. It can absolutely create life, but it typically depends on the person wielding the tool. To that end, before you invest the time and resources into social media advertising, you should first weigh the pros and cons.
What Are the Advantages of Social Media Marketing?
Today, there are several different social media channels. They include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, YouTube, and others. Each has its unique strengths, weaknesses, and user base. However, from a high-level marketing perspective, three major advantages include:
- Brand building – Social media presents a natural way to plug your services or product without overtly selling something. It helps you build up an identity, an ethos, and a relationship with potential customers, especially those that might otherwise have been difficult to reach. You can leverage social media to help with brand growth at practically every level of your business, from customer service to sales.
- Targeted marketing – Successful marketing often hinges upon your ability to target the ideal consumer with a message that they’re likely to respond to. It’s about building awareness, generating leads, attracting traffic, and converting. With social media, this becomes much easier since users voluntarily provide sites with a wealth of user data. This information helps you gather customer insights and then identify ideal leads through various paid advertising channels, including:
- Behavioral targeting
- Location-based targeting
- Lookalike audiences
- Custom audiences
In the past, advertising was conducted using a shotgun methodology—try to reach as many potential eyes as possible, and hope that a large enough percentage will be interested. But now, you can advertise directly to those who are most likely to make a purchase. And best of all, with social media marketing, consumers aren’t always aware that they’re being sold something—or at least, not right away.
- Cost-effective – At its most basic level, social media is free to join, making it the marketing channel with the greatest potential ROI. You can build a following or spread the news of your services without ever spending a dime. On top of that, you benefit from user-generated content and the ability to create a one-on-one relationship with each potential customer.
At the very least, you should create and manage a business page on every available platform. Over time, you can monitor your performance and make any necessary changes to drive revenue.
What are the Disadvantages of Social Media Marketing?
The “cons” of social media aren’t negatives, so much as they’re potential issues to consider and plan for. They include:
- It’s time-consuming – Building your brand and engaging your audience can be time, energy, and resource-intensive. You need to consistently create new content and interact with your channels. For that reason, many businesses hire social media experts to help manage their social media campaigns and platforms.
- Slow ROI – If you’re not spending money on influencer or targeted marketing, it can take a long time to build your channel organically. Because of this, it’s helpful to think of social media as a long-term investment that will pay dividends over time… so long as you follow best practices and stay consistent.
- It can be expensive – Paid advertising like targeted or influencer marketing isn’t cheap. And hiring a manager to handle your accounts only adds to the potential expenses. Depending on your social media strategy, it could be a free channel or a huge marketing expense.
Finally, it’s worth noting that being on social media exposes you to the potential of going viral for all of the wrong reasons. One of the dark sides of social media is the prevalence of virtual dog piles and the possibility for harsh criticism and feedback—sometimes warranted, other times, not so much. If something bad happens, it could tarnish your reputation.
While this isn’t necessarily something to fear, it is something to account for. When building your social media campaigns, stay diligent, tone sensitive, and aware.
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Social media is a dual-edged blade. Depending on how you wield it, it could either help or harm your business. But, in most cases, it’s more likely to be a net benefit for your marketing efforts.
Because of the inherent risks and the time drain, it pays to enlist social media experts to help you properly manage your channels and achieve your marketing goals. If you’re looking for guidance on your social media marketing, then you’re in the right place. Here at Semgeeks, we’re also social nerds. If you’re looking for a powerhouse digital marketing and social media agency in New Jersey, we’ve got you covered.
From content production, management, to strategy, we can help you grow your channels and foster engagement.
Statista. Number of social network users worldwide from 2017 to 2025. https://www.statista.com/statistics/278414/number-of-worldwide-social-network-users/
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