Social media marketing has quickly climbed the ranks as one of the best ways for businesses, both B2C and even B2B, to connect to and engage with potential customers. 

According to Statista, in 2022, average social media usage worldwide has risen to almost three hours a day, half of that time being spent on social media apps alone. However, what most businesses miss are the disadvantages of social media marketing. 

In this article, you will learn both the advantages and disadvantages of social media marketing, so that you can decide whether you want to invest in it for building your brand.

Learn more about social media marketing from our blog, “The Basics of Social Media Marketing.”

What are Advantages of Social Media Marketing?

1. Reach

One of the greatest advantages of social media marketing is perhaps its possibility to reach a larger audience. This ability will help you build your brand and increase awareness. 

In 2022, the world’s most well-used social platforms are as follows (source: Smart Insights):

  • Facebook–2,9 million users
  • YouTube–2,7 million users
  • Instagram–1,5 million users
  • TikTok–1 million users

The more you get exposed to and connect with interested leads, the more familiar you get to your audience. This will increase your reach even further.

2. Audience

A negative of marketing that has never been very easy is connecting with your target audience. 

Using social media marketing, you get valuable insights into your customers’ interests and how they perceive your business. It also helps you generate better customer service and adapt your strategy to their needs.

Direct communication builds credibility and brand loyalty and helps your business to have a greater social impact.

3. Traffic 

Social media marketing can‌ impact traffic on your business’ website. 

By implementing links to your platform in your posts, your audience can learn more about your business and what you ‌offer as a brand. 

This can be accomplished in two ways:

a. Advertising

Paid advertising offers many opportunities to reach further and connect to ‌customers through a shared interest. 

If you want to implement advertising, there are many ways in which you can tailor your ads to reach the intended audience. It will give your business an opportunity to interest leads in your services and products, for example, advertising about courses that they might benefit from.

a. Content

Paid advertising isn’t the only way to make your business known. 

Posting content on social media is perhaps the most popular way of creating new leads and connecting to your audience. It’s also one of the most successful.

By generating organic and qualitative posts and communicating with your audience, you will engage your target audience better than ever before.  

The range of content is infinite, from posts, videos, and reels to publishing campaigns, promotions, or educational content on the different platforms that are within your reach.

4. Evaluation 

Knowing how your social media marketing strategy is impacting your audience and performing is a great opportunity for your business to learn and grow. 

You can easily track any marketing campaign or promotion and be able to generate even better ones from the results. 

Seeing what interests your audience, what posts get more likes, and which content is most popular and gets shared more will help you evaluate your social media strategy and improve on it.

One way to start your evaluation is with Google Analytics

What are the Disadvantages of Social Media Marketing?

As great as social media marketing may appear, there are downsides to it. 

1. Time 

A big disadvantage of social media is the speed at which content is created and consumed.

Your business has to keep up with the tides and constantly stay up to date. 

This can be time-consuming, especially if you’re a small business with limited resources or if you’re still new to this department and trying to find your footing. 

Keeping up with social media marketing means curation of content, responding to customers, creating new content, and staying updated on the latest trends that are circulating on the internet. 

Make sure that you have the means and the resources for such an endeavour, or it can quickly become too overwhelming. 

Unfortunately, even if you ‌invest the time, it doesn’t guarantee success. Social media marketing heavily relies on consistency and sometimes even luck. 

One excellent post or campaign doesn’t guarantee significant results. Not every business suits social media marketing, either. A lack of awareness and reputation can lead to no results, even if your marketing strategies are well-thought-out. 

2. Feedback

Even though the ability to receive feedback was listed as an advantage in social media marketing, there is also a downside to it. 

Being publicly active can lead to unpleasant experiences with your customers and result in negative feedback. This can be a critical review, with the potential to grow into much more if there are others that share the same sentiment. 

Social media gives the platform for this kind of feedback. It allows sharing and spreading it at a speed that is impossible to keep up with. So, keep that in mind when you decide on your social media strategy; keeping the customer happy is a priority and can require much more work and attentiveness online. 

Having too much negative feedback accumulate, especially on social media, can hinder your business from generating income and customer acquisition. 

3. Image

The possibility of tarnishing the image of your business is another big disadvantage, though much bigger in its impact than simple negative feedback.

The goal of social media marketing is to have a post go viral, or at least generate a lot of feedback. However, there is a thin line between good and bad viral material.

One wrong post could end up being potentially harmful to your business. This can reach the extent that your image gets tarnished by that mistake. An example of this is the 2017 Pepsi social media marketing campaign, a collaboration with Kendall Jenner. The ad attempted to convey “unity, peace and understanding”, but was compared by viewers to the Black Lives Matter protests that were happening at that time, criticizing it for being ignorant and tone-deaf. 

The backlash that both Pepsi and Kendall Jenner received was all over social media, even spreading to coverage and jokes on late-night TV. The entire campaign was rumored to have been budgeted for about $100 million. In the end, it cost them even more in damage control. 

Examples like these are endless, so it’s important to be overly critical of your social media marketing campaigns before they turn out to be harmful to your business. 

4. Target Audience  

A business should carefully select what platform will allow them to reach their target audience. Even then, it’s hard to reach the desired one, even through extensive research.

On social media, ‌seek ‌your customers, not the other way around. If you’re not reaching your audience, you’re wasting time and resources.

For example, starting a social media campaign that aims at teenagers on Facebook might fail and not generate any leads. Instead, doing the same campaign on Snapchat or TikTok might end up a great success, because these platforms are more popular with this audience.

Take the time to learn about who your audience is and how you can target them. It also depends on your type of business. A B2B could be much more successful through the use of SEO. In comparison, a B2C could easily benefit from social media platforms like Instagram. 

In the end, if you use social media marketing, you must prepare yourself. Knowing possible disadvantages is a step in the right direction. Now all you need to do is remember them in your endeavour. 

About the author

EWOR is a school conceived by Europe’s top professors, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders. We educate and mentor young innovators to launch successful businesses.

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