Social media is truly one of our modern world's phenomena, helping people keep in touch with one another without being there in person, or even using the phone.
People send messages, likes, and comments on social media every minute on their smartphones, laptops, and other devices.
More than one billion people log onto Facebook, the most popular social media platform, every day.
Businesses use social platforms to engage with customers, provide information, and create lasting connections with people who reach out to them.
Because the presence of social media is so prevalent, promoting products, services, and brand image is easier in today's age than it has ever been.Here are some of the pros and cons of social media marketing and advertising:
Free to Get Started
Uploading pictures, sharing content, creating engaging posts, and connecting with your audience and consumers on social media is all free across the most popular social media platforms. This includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and more.
However, simply creating a profile isn't sufficient for effective social media marketing. Anyone can create an account, it's how you use it that matters.
Potential to Reach Out to Millions
Popular social media sites have millions of accounts and active users. Instagram has around 600 million, Twitter has 319 million, and Snapchat has 300 million monthly users.
People log onto social platforms to keep up with friends, family members, current events, and interact with their favorite brands and celebrities. As such, many people who create accounts stay active because they want to keep up with the world.
By being on the social media platforms your target audience and consumers are on, you provide yourself with endless opportunites to interact and engage.
Targeting is Made Easy
Organizations that place ads in newspapers can select publications that cater to particular customer bases. Those who opt for television networks can seek out channels whose average viewer profile matches that of advertisers.
But traditional methods like these make targeting difficult and theres no guarantee that your audience actually sees your ad.
For example, let's say there's an automotive part distributor whose average customer is male and in his 20s. It chooses to advertise in an automotive magazine.
There might not be publications or networks whose average viewer is in his 20. What large media organization can that automotive part distributor turn to?
Social media platforms make it easy to target particular groups of consumers. They often use hashtags and like pages they're interested in, making it easier to understand their interests.
With social media advertsing, you can set the parameters for who will see your ad, making your promotion more targeted and relevant than that of traditional methods.
Traditional Marketing Mediums are Dated
The advent of smartphones and Internet-based services have turned many people away from television, newspapers, and other traditional marketing mediums.
Younger demographics use recent technological developments more often than older ones. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn's average user base features more 18-29 year olds than any other age group.
Users belonging to other age groups decline steadily as they get older -- all five of them! As such, businesses that wish to target young people may not be able to do so through traditional means.
Because social media is so popular with younger demographics, businesses who need to engage with a younger demographic should look to social media marketing.
Build Brand Loyalty and Create Close Followings
Social media sites allow their users to follow pages. Such pages show up on their timelines when they post or are otherwise active.
Simply following a page, even if one doesn't directly interact with it, facilitates a connection from business to consumer.
Organizations that are active on social media, posting original content several times a day, sharing current content, and constantly interacting with followers have the opportunity to show up in followers' timelines every time they log in.
Given users like the content -- why would they follow you if they didn't? -- seeing posts from your organization so often will undoubtedly create lasting connections.
Ads Can be Expensive
Like any form of advertising, it can prove costly if not done well. When businesses purchase television advertisements, it's hard to know how many people actually watched them.
Network providers can roughly identify how many television sets were tuned in, but it's impossible to know whether they were actually watching.
With social media advertising you can avoid this problem since people are currently scrolling through their timeline or watching a video when they see your ad. However, you can still rack up a hefty cost if you're not careful.
It's important to identify the most relevant consumers to target with your ad and to create ad content that will resonate well with them in order to give you the best return-on-investment, or ROI, on your advertising campaign.
Costly to Maintain
Creating the profile itself is free, but actively making posts, interacting with followers, researching its performance, and running ad campaigns can be both time consuming and expensive.
Your business isn't required to have someone making posts around the clock, but it should hire people to reply throughout regular business hours and the rest of the evening.
Staying active on social media isn't easy, requiring interaction around the clock. Also, social media pages must be maintained for months on end -- usually years at a time -- to see any positive results.
When done right, the time and cost it takes to maintain a social media presence will prove more than worth it for any business.
Can be Hard to Measure Results
Organizations that maintain active social media presences can have a hard time actively measuring the results.
That is because at times it can be hard to tell how many people directly closed due to interacting with you on a social media platform.
However, the potential to reach new customers as well as interact and engage with current customers to establish trust and credibility makes it well worth it.
Posts Can be Misconstrued
Several popular companies have had bad experiences with social media users turning their posts into wholly inappropriate content.
A failure to thoroughly think about how people could misshape a company's original intentions can often times result in negative brand image.
Carefully plan out what your message is when scheduling or creating any given post and that it's loud and clear to avoid any unwarranted reactions to your content.
No matter what kind of business you run, social media can yield benefits for your performance. Whether you create a page and maintain it or run ad campaigns, social media is a great marketing tool and one every business should take advantage of.