Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Media Marketing

March 16, 2017 by Nedim Talović

Social Media Marketing

Advertising on social media networks has its pros and cons just like everything in the life.

Personally, I think there are more advantages than disadvantages.

However, I’ve decided to mention 5 advantages and 4 disadvantages of social media marketing.

According to SproutSocial, Americans mostly use Facebook, and after that Tumblr and Instagram.

Average time spend on social networks per day by Americans

Facebook obviously dominates in the social media industry because Instagram is in their ownership. It means that Americans spend 61 minutes every day on Facebook and Instagram.

Anyway, keep in mind not every social network is for every type of business.

B2B companies may find Twitter and LinkedIn more useful although Americans spend more time on Pinterest, for example.

In this article, I’ll be talking both about paid and organic posts.

Now let’s see the advantages and disadvantages of social media marketing.

#1 Precise Targeting

This is the most beautiful part of social media marketing.

You can precisely target anyone and you only need to find out who’s your perfect customer? What attributes does your perfect customer have?

For example, if you’re selling baby clothes your perfect customer should meet the following criteria:

  • Female
  • Women between 25 and 35 years old
  • Lives in California
  • Speaks English
  • Interested in Parenting

I don’t know if you have ever been advertising on Facebook, but that’s exactly what you can target. Here’s the photo.

Targeting

As you could see, there are more than 870,000 consumers in the California state with the mentioned criteria.

But not only that, you can even take the benefits that machine learning offers. On Facebook, you can upload a list of your customers and Facebook will create a lookalike audience.

Create a lookalike audience

In other words, you even don’t need to know how your perfect customer looks because Facebook will use its advanced algorithms to find them for you.

You only have to set your audience as a source and select a country to target. Facebook will do everything else.

#2 Interaction

Interaction is another reason why you need to put efforts and invest money in social media marketing.

However, you need to know that Twitter engagement will decrease after 3rd tweet.

Engagement Decreases After Third Tweet

You need to be careful with the number of tweets per day.

One of the ways of improving the engagement rate is using hashtags.

Impact of hashtag use on engagement

But, it doesn’t mean that you can add lots of hashtags.

If you do it, your Twitter profile will definitely look spammy.

As for Facebook, the industry your business belongs matters a lot.

SocialBakers claims that Automotive industry has the highest engagement rate, and after that Fashion and Alcohol industries come.

Average Page Engagement Rate by Industry

This seems logical.

Men like to comment and share posts about cars, and women like to comment and share posts related to the Fashion industry.

Anyway, SalesForce data shows us that day of the week has an impact on engagement rates.

Facebook Engagement Rates per Post By Day of Week

For example, on Thursday the reach is at the highest level, but the average number of likes is not the highest.

The highest number of likes is on Sunday.

What I’m trying to say is that there are so many variables which have an impact on the engagement.

#3 Cost Effective

Social media marketing is surely cost effective.

When it comes to advertising, CPM, CPC, and CTR depend a lot on the industry your business belongs.

Basically, the same thing like for engagement rates.

U.S. Facebook Advertising Benchmarks

Although advertising on Facebook is more cost effective than advertising on TV, for example, these numbers are still only statistics.

It doesn’t mean you’ll see identical costs – maybe you see a higher CPC, and maybe a lower.

One of the reasons why CPC increase is your CTR.

CTR decreases while CPC increases

As long as you achieve high CTR, you can expect low costs.

Why?

Facebook is interested in showing ads which have a high click probability. Why would they show your ad if almost nobody clicks while they charge you per click?

It makes no sense., and in that case, you need to offer a high CPC.

Another important variable is frequency.

When your ads start repeating, the targeted audience becomes less interested and basically, your CTR goes down while CPC goes up.

#4 Measurable

Here’s the famous sentence by John Wanamaker about marketing: Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.

Not anymore. The big benefit of digital marketing is that you know what brings you the best results.

For example, posting at the optimal time will always help you to get most shares, or most clicks, depending on your goals.

Facebook Best Time To Post

The photo above shows that 1 p.m. is the best time to post if you would like to get the most shares, and 3 p.m. if you would like to get the most clicks.

Anyway, I’d always suggest you checking when your Facebook fans are online.

The following photo shows the data of the Facebook page I have.

When your fans are online

Fans of the one page I own are mostly online on 9 p.m. which actually suggest that’s the time when I need to post, in order to maximize the reach.

Another important part of social media marketing is Google Analytics because there you can see which social media campaigns are the most valuable to you. You achieve that by adding UTM tags.

#5 Drives Traffic

Sometimes, social media is the most important source of traffic and that’s is especially great for new sites.

Google don’t trust new sites because of the following reasons:

  • Sites need to prove their content is quality
  • Google needs to be sure the site isn’t spammy

If you’re still not sure why your content doesn’t get enough shares, you can use apps like BuzzSumo where you can learn about top shared content.

In the search box, enter content marketing (e.g.) and click on Go!

BuzzSumo: Content marketing

After that, you’ll see the list of articles sorted by the number of total shares.

The app includes Facebook engagements, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ shares, the number of links, and total shares.

BuzzSumo: Top Shared Content
#6 Negative Comments

Everything above was about advantages, but now it’s time to discuss disadvantages.

The first problem is that not every consumer will write all the best about your business.

Some consumers will write horrible things.

Precisely, there are consumers who were REAL consumers who aren’t satisfied with your services, and what’s worse, there are FAKE comments.

You can easily identify fake comments, but now, I want to talk about real (bad) comments.

Here’s the bad review of Good Hotel London.

Grand Hotel London

It’s fine that some clients aren’t satisfied because there’s no business where every consumer is happy.

The real question is how to repair a damage.

You need to answer on every negative comment and make sure comments don’t hurt your business so much.

Here’s the answer for the previous comment.

Grand Hotel Answer

As you could see, your job to minimize the risk of hurting your business.

Now, if you have problems with fake reviews you should report those reviews that don’t follow Facebook Community Standards or don’t focus on the product or service offered by the Page.

To report a review

After that, Facebook staff will review the report and remove if it meets standards.

#7 Social Media Requires Time

Results won’t come over the night. You need to be sure that you will be investing for the next months, and won’t see any great results at first.

Building relationships with customers take a lot of time. But also, you need to be sure that you invest enough time in building your social media presence.

According to SocialMediaToday, 43% businesses spend 6 or more hours per week on social media. After that, 25% businesses spend 6 to 10 hours per week on social media.

How much time does social media take?

11% of them spend between 11 and 20 hours, and finally, 7% businesses spend more than 21 hours every week.

A good social media strategy requires a strategy, and here’s how the process might look.

The wheel of social media strategy

Your first step is to create a plan. Once you do it, you need to implement it, and thirdly, you need to measure the results.

There’s always a space for improvements, so that’s the reason for measuring. If you don’t measure, you can’t know what works and what doesn’t work.

Because everything related to social media requires time, you need to create small plans.

You can’t plan something that takes 3 months to implement because you’ll lose your time. In other words, start with small things.

#8 Competitiveness

Another problem with social media marketing is that everyone understands the importance of social media. Your competitors too.

In other words, every company that matters in the industry invest in the social media.

Google Trends: Infographic

According to Statistia, social media marketing spending in the United States is expected to increase to $17.34B. That’s 2.30x times increase because social media spending in 2014 was $7.52B.

In other words, social media marketing is very competitive and if you wish to succeed, you can’t have a small marketing budget.

I know that there’s no minimum required amount for advertising, but just ask yourself what you can do with $100. Nothing.

How much you can invest in the social media depends on the Customer Lifetime Value.

If your product is expensive enough, or if the CLV is high enough, it means that you don’t have problems with paying $5 per click.

#9 Reach Decreases

The problem with organic blog posts is that organic reach constantly decreases.

Here’s the photo which shows you how Facebook stock price increases while average organic page reach decreases.

Facebook Stocks and Organic Reach

Absolutely understandable.

As long as organic reach decreases, you’ll be forced to promote your posts through Facebook Ads.

Simply said, Facebook earns more money when they decrease your reach.

However, what will your Facebook organic reach be, depends on the number of likes your Facebook page has.

For example, if you’re managing a really small page (less than 1,000 likes), your organic reach should be around 50%.

Facebook Organic Reach

On the other side, if you own a really large Facebook page, then you should see lower organic reach percentage.

As you could see, there are so many variables, but one thing is sure – organic reach usually decreases!

Conclusion

As you could see, social media marketing has its pros and cons, but generally, there are more advantages than disadvantages.

What I especially like about social media marketing is precise targeting and measuring the results.

Without these two features, social media marketing would be bad.

Unfortunately, you need to invest enough money if you would like to see an impact on your business. Another reason for that is organic reach which will continue to decrease.

Now, I’d like to know what do you think about this topic. Which advantages do you find most useful and which disadvantages you really don’t like?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

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