14 Social Media Pros and Cons

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.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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.

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