While marketing gurus talk about social media being an essential marketing tool for all kinds of businesses, they do not often mention that social media also has its disadvantages. While social media can be an excellent tool for personal interactions, helping friends to stay in touch, in terms of business, social media can be a can of worms.
Labor and time intensive
The primary disadvantage of social media is that it takes up a great deal of your time and labor. This is because consistency is key on social media platforms. Ideally you should post several times a day, but at least not less than once every day. While a post doesn't have to take more than five minutes to do, the thinking time and follow-ups you need to carry out can take a great deal longer. This time is multiplied if you maintain social media profiles on several platforms, all of which must continually be monitored. This is time that could be better spent generating leads or running your business.
Perception of intrusion
Some people feel that social media is a personal space and do not, therefore, appreciate being targeted by businesses who only want their money. These users are also wary about sharing personal information on social networks, and any business who uses information collected in this way could find themselves in the middle of a confidentiality controversy.
Lack of censorship
Posts on business pages by users of social media cannot be censored or suppressed should they be negative reviews or feedback, If not handled properly, this could damage your business's reputation. Any attempt to respond in a negative fashion can bring on a backlash, as several businesses have found to their dismay, just as failure to respond can indicate disinterest or poor customer service. It is essential that companies continually review their business pages on social media platforms to ensure they stay on top of negative feedback, which can be time- and labor-consuming.
As the majority of social networks are global operations, any person anywhere in the world can follow a business. While this makes your numbers look good, a follower on the other side of the planet is unlikely to be a potential customer, nor are they able to spread the word about your business to others who might be. Only targeted social media networking has any value to a small business, and this may involve data collection that, as mentioned above, can be controversial in itself.
Existing client base
The final disadvantage of social media marketing is that followers are often existing customers who are likely to return to you regardless of your social media activity. It is far more difficult to engage with potential new customers on social media, and you may find yourself having to rely on recommendations from your existing client base.
Social media can be a wonderful and economical tool for small business marketing, but it can also be a liability in terms of the dedication required to make it a success. Work out whether you can afford the time and labor to maintain a consistent and profitable social media presence or whether you would do better to avoid it.