Using Social networking sites for marketing? Pros and cons

Using Social networking sites for marketing? Pros and cons

It’s always very important to evaluate the bad and good side of every medium you are using in marketing your business. And just like every promotional tool, social sites have both advantages and disadvantages. It’s no secret that the social sites- FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, Linked In- are very powerful channels to reach your customers. But before investing in these social sites, it’s always wise to examine deeply and choose what will serve the company’s best interests.

The mere fact that Face Book has more than two hundred thousand users in Kenya may in itself make many local businesses to start social marketing without any defined strategy. This can indeed turn into not only a financial disaster, but also reputation tragedy.

Social networking sites are indeed very powerful marketing tools. What many don’t really know is that there are also very powerful in “unmarketing”. Ruining a brand from a silly mistake is also a possibility. The massive audience is very effective in spreading both the good and the bad about you. But they only spread what you give them. The point here is- Be careful what you say and how you say in these sites!

Here are some benefits of using social sites to reach your target audience:

Enhancing relationship with customers

Why do people love these sites? It’s because of interaction and socialization platform provided by them. That means that your company presence will doubt strengthen bond with existing and would-be customers. This is assuming that you are keeping your relationship ‘right’. You have to first engage your users/followers in interesting way, without showing any intention of selling. Social marketing is kind of strange. You build relationships and sell later.

Brand promotion

Establishing presence where your clients are is good in building your business name. I tend to think social sites are effective in enhancing brands than getting sales. The sheer notice of your brand by users is itself important in reminding them about your company, and subsequently about your products/service. It’s a fact that people tend to more buy from businesses they know, than from new ones. In few words social sites will get your brand noticed online.

Relatively cheap

So you have launched a new product, but how do get people to notice it? Social sites provide a very effective and fast channel to do exactly that. And cost? Not much compared to other online and offline media.

And what makes social sites not that good for business marketing?

Time consuming

Unlike other online marketing strategies, social marketing requires a company to devote great deal of time. You just can’t call five minutes a day interaction. Nobody will find you interesting if you are not there. Socializing takes time. Not just one day, a month or so, it has to be consistent. If you can’t invest enough time for social sites, you better consider paid adverts, like Face Book ads.

Targeting not that good

Your target audience is using different social networking sites. This makes it a bit difficult to reach them. Assuming you decide to use 3-4 social sites, this will prove very expensive and time consuming to keep your interaction active in all of them.  The hard part is identifying your prospects in each social site. Compared to search engine marketing campaigns like Google adwords, social media marketing is not well targeted. This may highly means you are reaching wrong people, and hence little or no return on investment.

Delicate balance between business and personal

Social sites users are mostly looking for something funny, interesting and to catch up with family and friends. And here you are, you ultimate goal being to sell to them. See how hard it can be? There are not there to buy, and even when you mention your products, they may never take them seriously. No user will respond well if they get an impression that you are forcing things on them. Striking a good balance, by keeping interaction interesting without invading personal space, is not easy for many.

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