Being a blogger, the choice on whether or not to use social media to grow my site (and my business) has always been an easy one. In fact, I actually didn’t even think twice when I opened up my various social media accounts and began setting them up. But while there are tons of great reasons out there to use social media for your business, I’ve come to notice that there are actually some downfalls to it as well. It may seem like common sense to use social media for a business these days since SO many people are online now. But do the pros really outweigh the cons? And do you really need social media to grow a business? The answers to these questions are going to vary from person to person, but here’s my personal breakdown of the top pros and cons to using social media for business.
It builds authentic relationships.
I don’t know about you, but I love connecting with you all. My readers are the reason why I continue blogging. You all are part of my never-ending support system. I know I can always count on you all if I ever need encouragement or advice or even just people to listen. And in turn, I love learning more about you all as well and staying up to date with your lives. Using social media builds a more authentic relationship with your audience. Instagram and Snapchat serve as a visual behind-the-scenes look into my life while platforms like Twitter and Facebook allow me to directly connect with my followers and share other little tidbits from my life throughout the day. When your readers are able to get to know you, they’re more likely to trust you and value your content.
In addition to building authentic relationships, you’re also able to use social media to gain customer feedback. Sometimes I’ll do this through a reader survey whenever I need to, but for the most part, you all are constantly giving me feedback by commenting on blog posts and reaching out to me on social media. This helps me a ton in making choices regarding the future of my blog and its content. If you sell products or provide services then customer feedback can be extremely beneficial for you in that aspect as well.
Facebook, for example, lets users leave reviews about their experiences with businesses. This is one of the first things I look for when I’m making a choice between business services. Services like auto care, nail and hair salons, pet care and so many others can be found on social media. So for example, if I’m looking for a new hair salon to try out, I’m going to want to see the reviews first to make sure it’s a good fit and worth my money. I do the same whenever I’m looking to invest in a more expensive product like a new phone or my Fitbit. Consumers do this with all types of services and products. If your customers aren’t liking your products, then you need to know that so you can make changes and find ways to improve it. Same with blog content or your services. Feedback can help you grow and evolve.
Cheap marketing and advertising.
Marketing and advertising can be super expensive for business owners. But with social media, you can advertise your products and services for next to nothing. AND they’re better at targeting the right audience too. With sites like Facebook, you can fully customize your ads so that they’re only being seen by those who are actually going to be interested in your product. So if your target audience consists of moms between the ages of 25 and 35, located in the United States then you can customize your ad to only be seen by them. So rather than spending thousands of dollars marketing to the entire world (half of which aren’t interested in your product), you can spend a fraction of that cost on social media, marketing to only those in your target audience. Sounds a lot smarter, right?
It can drive more traffic to your business.
With practically everyone being on some form of social media these days, it seems pretty dumb to not use it to your advantage. Based on how I personally get my information, it seems more common to promote via social media than it does to promote with outside sources like ads in newspapers or commercials and other seemingly outdated forms of marketing. Like many these days, it’s unlikely that I’d see the commercial for your business on the tv or hear it on the radio or see it in the newspaper. But if it’s popping up in my Facebook newsfeed? Hell yeah, I’d see it. AND I’d be more likely to check it out since it’s just a simple click away.
The biggest issue I see with using social media is all the missed connections. See, the problem with social media is that it’s just not guaranteed that all of your followers will see what you post. Yeah there are tons of infographics out there that tell you the best times of day to post to each platform and you can use your platforms’ analytics to determine these times as well. But you’re just not going to be able to post when every single one of your followers is online. It’s impossible. Even with ads.
Not only that, but social media feeds are constantly changing. I know some of my favorite bloggers post all day every day and yet it’s rare that I ever see them in my feed on any given platform. Because of this, conversion rates on social media tend to be pretty low. If you posted the same offer on social media AND send it out to your email list, your conversion rate is going to be a lot higher in your emails. Why? Because an email is a direct connection to your followers. You’re literally placing your product in their inbox rather than posting it to social media and hoping people see it. So this to me is one of the biggest downfalls to using social media.
It requires consistency.
Like anything in business, social media requires consistency in order to see real results. So having a week where you’re completely on top of it followed by a week where you’re not posting at all just isn’t going to help you very much. I admit, I’m totally guilty of this sometimes when life gets hectic. It happens. But in order for social media to really work, you absolutely have to be consistent at all times. So while that’s totally doable with the right tools, it can also be time-consuming sometimes. And not all businesses and bloggers have the time to dedicate towards it.
You’re subject to algorithm changes.
It seems like the moment we all get used to a new algorithm, social media changes it up again. This happens often on every platform and can be super frustrating and sometimes challenging to work around. Instagram’s new shadowban is a more recent example of a change that’s affecting many bloggers and business owners right now. Certain hashtags are being banned, preventing users from showing up in searches or in others’ feeds. While there are tons of ways to work around this and make it work, it’s still frustrating for those who primarily use Instagram for their business.
Pinterest is another example of a platform that’s constantly changing. It used to be that Pinterest was more of a social media platform so that’s how everyone used it. But more recently, it’s been talked about as being more of a visual search engine. So those who are trying to use it as social media to grow their businesses just aren’t seeing the same results from it as those who are using it as a search engine.
Related: How To Grow Your Blog With Pinterest
So using social media requires you to constantly be learning and keeping up to date with these changes. Then on top of that, you then have to keep your marketing plans updated to reflect the changes in algorithm as well. Like anything, you’re constantly learning and adapting to make it all work out.
You don’t own your following.
The last point I want to make here regarding social media is that you don’t own your following. Unlike something like an email list where you do. Any followers you have on social media belong to that platform itself. So your audience can’t necessarily grow and move with you wherever your business goes. If Twitter were to shut down, your followers are going with it. If Facebook were to become a thing of the past and a new version becomes more popular, then you can’t just pick up your Facebook following and move it to the new platform with you. So this can make using social media a bit tricky as social media grows and new platforms are added.
So what about you? Do you use social media for your business? What are your pros and cons to using it? Let me know in the comments!
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