Social Networking Sites Advantages & Disadvantages

With businesses scrambling to be “Social” there is a lot of confusion, wasted time & money.

Social Networking Social-Media For Business

Many business owners and managers are frantically searching for the best business social media or Social networking sites to not be left behind competitors.

Social media and social networking can require a tremendous amount of time to develop & maintain. Before jumping into a social media marketing endeavor in hopes of attracting the masses to buy your goods or services, stop & think (perhaps a bit differently than you have) about Social Media and the goal of your business’s social networking site(s). One way to do this is examining the advantages and disadvantages of social networking sites.

Social Networking Sites Advantages

  1. Excellent way to convey your company’s stand on community topics. Does your company have a core purpose that has a social aspect and impact?
  2. Great way to get the word out & gain supporters for the cause(s) your company is promoting. Social networking and media sites are great avenues for meeting people with similar concerns.
  3. Nice method for your company to alert the interested public of potential issues that may affect them. CPA’s may want to post implications of new tax changes. Healthcare professionals may want to post the skinny on new healthcare news and how it can affect their community. The list goes on, but you get the idea.
  4. Utilizing creative marketing, social media and social networking sites can be excellent areas for branding. Emotional content: Content that surprises us, makes us laugh or gets us engaged often gets sent along to those we think will enjoy it as well. This is great for getting your company known, but even better when it can unite a person to a cause or point of view that they may not have previously had.
  5. Get candid feedback regarding your company & its products & services. This can be invaluable feedback for potential new products or services, as well as on existing offerings.

Social Networking Sites Disadvantages

  1. Not ideal to overload your community with your advertisements. (An all too often occurrence)
  2. Social media marketing -Will cost either time or money; though likely a combination of both. What will you spend your time on? Thinking of & writing articles/posts, strategizing, developing as well as combining creative media with your business goals. The time investment for the initial planning is critical, even if your company is planning on outsourcing much of the work. Why? Because you need to ensure the outsourced company truly understands your business, your ideal clients/customers and your goals and expectations. See more about the minimum amount of time below in our tips.
  3. Difficult to link associated sales with social media effort with corresponding costs. Quantifying the true ROI can be challenging. Businesses expecting high ROI may want to look in other areas of marketing first.
  4. Negative comments can quickly undermine your business & erode profits. Be sure you listen (read) and actively respond to all comments.
  5. Creating obligates you to maintain. Social profiles/spaces for your company that you do not maintain can not only cost you the initial investment to create, but can give a poor reflection of your company and have a reverse effect than what was intended than when first created.

Parting Social Networking Tips & Tidbits:

  1. When using social media & social networking be sure you (or a company you hire) actively track how much time & money you spend, and compare your site visits, associated involvement from each Social networking site your organization commits to and the end results.

    Use discount codes or coupons (for example) per social media source to help track which one is resulting in sales, or the desired interaction/goal (contact, sign-up, download, etc.). This will help you gauge the return on your investment and allow you to evaluate whether it is worth continuing. You may find your organization can communicate more effectively on some social media sites than others.
  2. What is the minimum time (on average) each social media site will take?

The answer will vary, but drawing from several studies from numerous research firms the Minimum time commitment on average is 2.5 hours every week per social media source (Meaning 2.5 hours on Facebook, 2.5 hours on Twitter and so on) to see an impact (such as increased traffic, volunteers, leads, downloads, sales, improving customer relations…). Budget 2-7 hours per week per social media source for optimal results.

Different social media & social networking sites have varying demands on how frequent you post or update. To illustrate:

  • Facebook & blogs post something new a few times each week
  • Twitter expect to post several times a day
  • What are the top three social media sites that businesses are getting responses from? Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • Don’t jump into Social Networking or Social media efforts without a strategic marketing plan, otherwise you will waste time, money & likely frustrate your existing clients/customers.

Businesses Jumping into Social Networking & Social Media without a Strategic Plan
Advantages DisadvantagesSocial Networking Social Media Businesses.png

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*Special thanks to Fast Characters for their initial design of the cartoon business man we modified & used in the above image. Cartoon character (fastcharacters.com) / CC BY-SA 2.5

*Huge thanks to very talented Nikola Lazarevic at Webexpedition18.com for his initial design of his grunge social icons we modified & used in our initial image.