There is no doubting it, Social Media has become an extension of our personal connections and has now merged real-world into that of virtual presence. So if Social Media was intended for personal connections, what does that mean for business? And more importantly what does that mean for small business? Business doesn’t work in the virtual world!……..Or does it?

business online presence Well, let’s put it this way!

We’re talking about it with you now and you’re obviously reading this article because you kinda think it might be important. So we are just going to come out and say it – “If your business doesn’t have a online presence, you are probably lagging behind your competition and chances are your competitors are probably engaging your customers because you aren’t” – there we said it!……I hope we can still be friends?

We get it!, We totally get it! Its takes time, and sometimes money, to be on social platforms and before you do invest your valuable resources, you should understand what the pros and cons are for your business.

Social Media has Beome Powerful!

In today’s world, most of us cannot discount the role social media now plays in both personal-related social events and business connections. It has become powerful and robust over the years and in some cases, propelled businesses into new heights. This technology has allowed people to create, and easily share information in virtual communities such as Facebook, SnapChat, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Reddit. These popular Social Media channels are tapped into daily and used for promotion and marketing purposes right across the globe.

social media channelsAre you one of ‘those people’ who in the beginning thought social networking was just hype, or a fad that would go away eventually? How do you feel about it now?

Needless to say, it’s not gone away, in fact social media has become stronger and stronger each year. Its morphed from personal social interactions and now very much a important part of many companies sales and marketing tool box. Some BIG global brands have full teams dedicated to just managing their social platforms….WOW – imagine that!

And just like a any good story, there are always two sides and just as social media has its benefits, it also can have its downside as well.

If you haven’t dipped your toe into the ocean of Social Media yet, don’t be afraid “come on in, the water is lovely” but it is good to understand what the pros and cons are before you get sucked into the virtual whirlpool.

 

Let’s Look at the Pros:

Instant Communication and Contact

connect via social mediaSome may consider this a con, but for businesses this should be one of your key drivers. Communication and connection with your customers is on of the most obvious benefits of social media, not only does it allows you to control how, when and where you connect with your customers it also means you show them that you care and that you are ‘always open for business’.

 

Up-To-Date Information

This is one the major pro’s for any business. Websites, if not managed in house can take a while to be updated but that’s not the case with Social Media. This ‘virtual world’ has allowed us to remain up to date with the most recent things happenings around the world and has helped put the news and trends right at our fingertips. So why not use these platforms in your business and inform ‘your customers’ about what is happening in ‘your world’? We recommend that you be consistent and update your content regularly. It’s easy, relatively cost effective and you’ll get faster at it over time. There really is no better marketing tool to keep your customers ‘in the loop’ and be in control of how, when and where you share your information with them.

 

Enhances Brand and Conversions

Awareness, advocacy and word-of-mouth are still the most powerful things for any business to succeed and this is where you can really harness ‘loyalty’ in a virtual landscape. Social Media networks allow people to freely share information, reviews and experience and all of this can have a huge influence on the reputation of your brand and bring in sales.

 

Cheap or Free Advertising

Ok, lets get a few things straight here! Whilst its free to open and have these accounts for your business, it doesn’t mean you should consider them ‘free to play’. Most platforms preference personal content vs business content, so if you really need to get your message out quick and ensure it gets shown before that cute cat video or Aunty Melba’s new cake recipe, then we highly recommend that you put some budget behind your content. Having a ‘free platform’ in order to promote your business and improve your virtual presence is amazing, and if done right and consistently, will mean people engage with your content, which in turn will favour the social media gods and help your brand get bargain basement pricing or even better yet, no cost if your content goes viral. For small businesses especially Social Media is such a cost effective form of advertising, compared to traditional advertising channels so the sooner you harness it, the more dollars you will save.

 

Let’s Look at the Cons:

Hacking of Personal Data

social media do's and don'tsOk – we couldn’t start this section without addressing the elephant in the room! Your privacy and personal data should be sacred, however the internet and social media sites can threaten your privacy and security of information.

Social media platforms in the past have unknowingly and knowingly exposed your data to different kinds of people which has posed a real risk to some. As long as there are ‘baddies’ out there, then this will remain a very real risk, so it’s not surprising that many users are questioning the legitimacy of many platforms. We should all review and consider the information we share about ourselves online in order to avoid damage to reputations, life, business and property.

Social Media Addiction

You almost can’t watch a News bulletin on TV without this topic being discussed. “Fake News” perhaps?

There are many people who spend more time engaging with their online friends than they do spending time talking to the person sitting next to them at home or in the workplace. For some people, particularly those who are shy and have trouble with human interaction, online chats and social network has meant they have found comfort in the virtual sphere. This can be unhealthy and lead to poor work and life performance but for others it has meant the online ‘World Is Their Oyster’.

Scams and Online Fraud

The real ugly side of anything online, or virtual, is being the victim of a scam or fraud. Predators do lurk on Social Media and anyone, including you, is on their list. It’s extremely important to screen everyone for legitimacy if you are transacting online, and alarm bells should go off if individuals or organizations request money from you.

Social Media has a Good, a Bad and an Ugly side and always remember that old wise saying “If something sounds too good to be true, then it usually is!”.

 

Final Words

The positive impact social media has played with improving relationships and businesses certainly can’t be denied and maintaining a well balanced social media policy in your business will help you gain the upper hand and ensure you use it to your advantage.

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