It is without a doubt that the use of social media is, and will continue to rise significantly. Globally, over 3.6 billion people engage in social media – the top platforms used being Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, and Messenger, which is expected to increase to 4.41 billion in 2025.
Source: Sprout Blog
In the past year throughout the pandemic, it is clear that this consumption has increased. With lockdowns being put in place, this forces individuals to turn to social media for entertainment and socialisation. The following infographic highlights the growth in online and digital activities during COVID-19:
Source: Smart Insights
Now, platforms are even adding their own features where users can advertise their own products to sell – such as Facebook’s “Marketplace” and Instagram’s “Shop” tab. These are great ways to target a specific audience and to reach a significant audience who is already scrolling through their feeds. It adds convenience for users as it allows them to shop for products without having to leave the app.
Disadvantages of Social Media Marketing:
Whilst Social Media Marketing is a great tool to use, there are a number of risks with it. Although it is a great way to reach a considerable audience and receive engagement, it needs to be used correctly. For this to be done, enough research should be carried out in order to determine the correct target audience. This can be achieved by studying demographics and with the use of social media analytics tools.
Moreover, specific platforms need to be used to attract different audiences because everyone uses different platforms. For example, millennials have shorter attention spans, meaning they like shorter, to-the-point content. Therefore, platforms that have stories like Instagram and TikTok may be appropriate to use to capture the attention of these individuals. By understanding the importance of using specific platforms for different audiences, this will attract more relevant potential customers, resulting in more engagement.
Dealing with negative feedback:
One of the most important things to remember with Social Media Marketing is that not all feedback will be positive. As the engagement spreads instantaneously and rapidly, it will be impossible to keep track of and control any feedback that can give a negative reputation. Once a negative review is visible, it stays visible to all customers.
For example, when Netflix announced that they were changing their pricing structure, customers were not happy. 82,000 negative comments surfaced on Facebook and Twitter.
This, causing the company to lose 800,000 customers and two-thirds of its market value. This shows how vulnerable businesses can be once one negative review is posted and then shared by others.
Management of social media efforts:
Additionally, it is important that the social media efforts carried out are managed well as it involves two-way communication. A consistent amount of content should be produced to keep customers interested and to see what they like, as well as regular interaction with them.
Having a lack of engagement could detract potential customers from wanting to engage in conversation with a company and ultimately, poor service overall can lead to customers’ word of mouth negatively impacting their reputation.
Although Social Media Marketing is advantageous, it requires high maintenance. For Social Media Marketing to be used effectively, ensure enough research is carried out to understand your target audience and what they want.
More importantly, remember that not all feedback will be positive so it is essential that the consequences are managed professionally, and finally, having consistent engagement with potential customers is a must.
For more information about digital marketing, visit The International Institute of Digital Marketing™.