Is Social Media Worth the Investment for Business? The Pros & Cons to Consider
Social media has been such a large part of our lives for many years now. No longer a “just for the kids” thing, it is the way that businesses connect to their audiences, parents stay in touch with grown children and grandchildren, and entrepreneurs get their brand known to a larger group than their immediate circle.
Those are good things it’s known for. It can also leave you feeling a little like Alice down the rabbit hole and take more time than many businesses can devote to it.
So is it really worth putting ANY energy, nevertheless time or money, into social media marketing? Here are my top pros and cons to social media.
Pro 1: Storytelling
The truth is, every company and person has a brand. The only question is:
Who is telling the story?
Utilizing social media effectively allows you as the person or company to control the narrative. YOU get to choose what you post, not someone else, which means you can also shape the story you want people talking about in relation to your company.
Pro 2: Engagement & Community
We all want to feel like we belong somewhere and social media provides that for us as individuals. No matter what you are interested in, you can find a place where like-minded folks gather to discuss and bond over that topic – for the good or the bad.
As a company, your social profiles can be the digital street corner where folks with similar interests and values to you (i.e the customers you want to attract) hang out.
When people find a company whose values align with their own, they are more likely to buy from them or become a fan and anyone who’s watched football with Southerners or hockey with Canadians knows that fans shout from the rooftops about their teams. You want to be that team they are shouting about even if they are not ready to buy from you (yet).
Con 1: Vulnerability
While you are able to control the narrative on your own channels, anytime you share something publicly in the world you are taking a chance for it to either be received incredibly well, positively horribly, or indifferently. That takes guts.
You as a person and/or company are voluntarily stepping into the spotlight and essentially saying, “I am here and this is what I think. Come judge me.”
Now hopefully every time you share something you are attracting people who LOVE you and those who don’t just quietly scroll by, but that may not be the case. You need to always have your social media manager at the ready to handle any negative comments quickly and politely and may need to enact a crisis community plan.
Vulnerability begets risk. Vulnerability takes courage. (Brené Brown has made a career about proving this fact.)
Con 2: Growth is slow.
This is probably the biggest complaint among businesses when it comes to investing time and/or money into social media. Unless you are a well-known brand already, organic growth on social media is slow.
That means you are going to put in a lot of time, effort and brainpower into creating content that will hopefully attract followers, who turn into fans, who turn into clients and/or brand advocates. That trajectory is not guaranteed though (followers do NOT equal clients🙅🏻♀️) and growth happens over the course of months and years, not weeks.
For those short on time or limited budget and needing leads and sales faster, social media may not be your best investment.
I strongly believe every business needs to use social media for your business. Everyone’s audience is on at least one platform, if not multiple, and not talking to them where they spend their time (professionally or personally) is a missed opportunity.
How much energy/time/resources you invest in social media though is up to each business or brand to decide. Either way, remember this above all else:
A) Social media content creation and management is a full. time. job. (More details on that here.) So anytime you get worried you aren’t doing enough compared to someone else:
B) Look at all of your other responsibilities and remind yourself that you have more than just social media to accomplish each day. You never know how many people are behind a single social account. Until you have a full time creator and manager on it who is ONLY focused on social, comparison is unrealistic and truly the thief of joy.