We often exult the greatness of social media, but in our euphoria we sometimes overlook the dark side of social media. I thought it would be helpful to put together a quick pros and cons list so that if you are engaging with social media for your company that you can go in with eyes wide open.
- Low hard costs compared to traditional marketing like print, television, outdoor, etc.
- Quick, honest, and detailed feedback from the customer.
- Allows for deeper engagements with customers.
- Similar to great brand marketing and customer service, the benefits of doing social media right can last for years.
- Every customer and employee is a potential media outlet: social media is word of mouth on digital steroids.
- In the past, companies that had the most money to spend on marketing often won, today it’s the company that produces great products and experiences for their customers.
- Social media takes time and effort. Many companies aren’t willing to do this, hence those companies that put forth the extra effort will stand out.
- If you are a progressive company you can use these tools to effectively recruit new talent.
- Often, many benefits of social media are seen in the months to come rather than immediately. It shouldn’t be viewed like Google AdWords, which has a quick return. It should be viewed more like brand marketing and good customer service, which pays off in the future.
- Tools can quickly change; one day it is MySpace, Orkut, Friendster, and Bebo; the next day it’s Facebook and Mixi.
- There are a lot of hidden soft costs: it takes time to develop relationships with customers. In the offline world, developing relationships takes time and effort – the same holds true within social media.
- May reduce the amount of face-to-face communication we have with one another, diminishing on interpersonal communication skills.
- If the customer feels they haven’t been treated appropriately, they have powerful tools at their disposal (YouTube, Twitter, etc.) to express their side of the story and negatively impact a brand reputation.
- Often we turn over our brand ownership to employees and customers and they can take us places we don’t want to go.
Just like anything, there are some cons to social media. However, advantages outweigh the disadvantages and even if they didn’t, we don’t have a choice on whether we do social media. The question is how well we do it. The worst thing to do, is to do nothing.