One of the most common complaints business owners make about social media marketing is that putting your business on the social media platform is that the platform is so…well…public. When you run a great marketing plan, you can go viral and gain followers as well as customers. If you mess up…everyone, including your competitors, will know about it. So, if you are a business owner or manager, how can you delve into social media without going viral for all the wrong reasons?
What Is Social Media?
Social media are apps that people use to share content and communicate with each other. Social media has been around since the early 2000s, and businesses are increasingly using it to market to their customers. Businesses use social media platforms as marketing tools because over 80% of people who are on social media have clicked on a link and gone online to shop. It is profitable for businesses to be on social media.
However, if you are planning on using social media platforms, you need to know some of the advantages and some of the disadvantages of social media.
- Social media allows businesses to spread awareness about their company, their merchandise, or their brand. It is estimated that 7 in 10 Americans use social media daily.
- Social media allows businesses more exposure to potential customers all over the world. In the past, small businesses stayed small because only a small number of people viewed the business each day. Through social media, the reach of your company expands.
- Social media allows you to constantly post on business-specific topics, such as new products or services, promotions or giveaways, product demonstrations, and product reviews.
- Social media allows businesses to interact with their customers all the time, no matter where they are located. It provides one on one interactions that print media just can’t give.
- Social media is relatively free, making it a great way for small businesses to get their information, goods, and services out.
Sounds Amazing! But, There Are Some Cons as Well
Here are some disadvantages of using social media.
- Businesses on social media run the risk of negative exposure, which can be costly in terms of reputation and sales.
- As your business grows, you will have to spend time and money on your social media feeds, especially if you use more than one.
- Maintaining a public persona is difficult to achieve because there is far more negativity on social media than there is positivity. Internet trolls are everywhere, and social media means you are taking a significant risk.
Tips for Navigating Social Media
If you want to advertise your small business on social media, here are some tips you may want to think about.
- If jumping into tons of social media platforms gives you hives, think about starting with one. Choose a social media platform that best suits your business. Here is a small sample of which social media platforms might be right for you.
TikTok and Instagram–aimed at younger audiences
- Pinterest–food, design, or craft and hobby
- Facebook–established brands or audiences 30-35 years old and older
- Twitter–established brands, design, web, engineers, scientists, and print/politics.
- LinkedIn–business, sales, marketing, and networking companies
- Be as authentic as possible on your social media platforms.
- Give your audience a voice in what you put on social media. Maybe your audience loves new product demonstration videos.
Some Famous Social Media Foibles
- In 2019, Chase Bank wrote a poem and posted it on Twitter to encourage their customers to save money. However, the public found the poem was teasing too much about its customers spending habits. After Elizabeth Warren retweeted a new poking fun at the original poem, the post went viral–which meant lots of bad publicity for Chase.
- For April Fool’s Day in 2018, IHOP, or the International House of Pancakes, tweeted that it was changing its name to the International House of Burgers, or IHOb. Because it was April Fool’s Day, customers were confused and thought IHOP was joking. Other people used the “rebranding” to poke fun at the company. Definitely not IHOP’s best day.
- In 2021, Burger King wanted to advertise that it had begun a campaign to fund scholarships for more women to attend culinary school. Their tweet “Women Belong in The Kitchen” happened to fall on International Women’s Day, meaning the tweet went viral, and the restaurant was buried in negativity.
- American Airlines wanted to send out Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter posts in 2020 in support of Pride Month. However, LGBTQ+ organizations quickly called the company out because the company donated to businesses that supported anti-LGQTQ+ agendas.
Remember, you can tackle your social media marketing plans one social media platform at a time. Once you become proficient with one platform, you can move on to another one. Remember, if you begin small, you have time to expand. Your expertise can grow as your business grows.
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