Many businesses now use social media and its various applications as tools for business. Whatís not to like?
Itís a form of advertising and helps you keep track of the general sentiment for or against your company and acquire customers, among other things. But just like everything in this world there is a downside to social media. Aside from helping your business it can also hurt your business as well.
How social media can help your business
It can advertise your business. Yes, you can advertise with social media, and at a fraction of the cost of a TV spot too! In some ways you can actually say it is better than a broadcast ad. While the broadcast ad lasts for only a few seconds up to a minute over the airwaves, your ad will stay in a webpage indefinitely.
It helps you find potential customers. And you donít even have to do anything! Okay, maybe you have to do something. Social media is the new grapevine and with todayís technology you can be sure word will travel fast. Happy customers will report of their satisfaction with your product or service to a friend, and that friend might think about trying you out. The thing you have to do is keep your customers satisfied, but isnít that what you are supposed to be doing anyway?
It informs you about the competition. With a little ďresearchĒ you can actually learn about your competition by what their customers talk about. What you do with that information is up to you, of course, but we recommend using that info to optimize your business any way you can.
Itís a feedback tool. You can keep track of what people are saying about your business in Twitter or Facebook. Learn what you are doing wrong, what you are doing right or even defend yourself from any baseless troll comments. Do this with diplomacy and restraint, of course.
It can be an education tool. For any business to stay on top it has to innovate, keep up with the trends, the changes and the industry standards. Donít expect your competition to give up their trade secrets. Try using social media to keep informed of the latest happenings in your trade.
How social media can hurt your business
If a well-managed social media campaign can bring your business success, a poorly managed one does just the opposite.
Having no original site content. Sure itís just tempting to copy-paste content from somewhere and put it on your site, but avid surfers might notice they have read this somewhere else. No one wants to read something at a website which they have read in another website before.
Putting the wrong person in charge of the social media account. This is not one of those positions to just let people Ďtryí. You must have someone who is familiar with how it all works in charge. There are a lot of social media managers for hire nowadays itís just a matter of finding one who fits with your team.
Lack of consistency. This may be a result of having the wrong person in charge of managing your social media account. Maybe he or she started something, a feature, a contest, a program, a gimmick – that suddenly just stops for no discernible reason. That may give users the impression that you are not willing to follow through on anything you commit to once it becomes too hard.
Ignoring followers and fans. So they were disappointed about that short-lived program and now they are complaining or asking questions about it. What do you do? You have to give them an explanation. You cannot just take the Hollywood approach and lay low, hoping it will soon boil over.
It should also be mentioned that you donít have to wait for complaints just to answer fans or followers. Many of them might have a kind comment or constructive idea or even a query. Make sure you answer them, it makes for a good relationship.
Using the wrong online platform. What works for one social media platform does not actually apply to another. Plus there are other social media platforms out there aside from Facebook and Twitter. While you may not be familiar with them, a competent social media manager would be and knows how to exploit them.
Using social media to attack your competition. While this may be tempting to do, in the end it will only look bad on you, not the competition. Weíve all seen how ugly an online exchange of heated words looks like. Sure, use social media for an occasional critique or two, but using online communication for a vendetta is just getting way too personal.
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