Social media is an incredibly potent tool for getting your name and your brand out there. There's no question about that; the reason that there's so much money in social media is because social media works.
Done well, it's a tremendous tool that allows you to bring your audience in on the advertising. There, though, is the problem - "done well." Social media is a very, very competitive marketplace; only the best of the best of the best really have a shot at making use of it. Let's look at ten reasons exactly why that is.
1. Everyone's Doing It
Social media is popular. Incredibly so! That means there's a lot of competition. If you do your own social media, then you need to identify your audience and get them to give you their time and effort, when there are hundreds of other brands jockeying for the same limited resources.
It's important to understand that social media differs from more traditional advertising forms in that it's a two-way street; you need to engage the audience in a dialogue instead of simply conveying a message to them, and there are a lot of people trying to do just that.
2. You're No Specialist
Speaking of which: most of those people are better at this task than you are. Social media is big business now; as with any advertising medium, most of the people who get the most out of it are in fact advertisers.
They've put lots of time and money into understanding exactly how to best utilize social media, and they're reaping the rewards; if you want to use social media, you're better off going to the professionals.
3. It's Too Broad
Social media is an incredibly broad term. It encompasses a range of services that don't actually have that much in common; really, running a Facebook page and a Twitter feed effectively require incredibly different approaches, and a full social media strategy needs to blend all of these seamlessly.
It's not enough to be an expert in one facet; you need to understand a huge number of different platforms.
4. It's Not New Any More
At one point, there was a certain novelty to your local pizzeria asking you to follow them on Facebook. It was cute, quirky, different; you could be relatively certain of some exposure without a great deal of work.
A patron or two adds you, and that alerts their friends. Now, though, users are jaded. They've seen it before, and they're not impressed; you need to go above and beyond to get their attention.
5. It's Getting Harder Every Day
All of these problems are still growing. Social media isn't a mature field yet; the current difficulties are becoming steeper and steeper. Even if you yourself can manage now, there's no telling how you'll fare in a year or two. It's fast-moving, and the direction doesn't suit you.
6. There's No One-Size-Fits-All Solution
There's not a formula to succeed at social media. How a plan will work out depends on your business, your clientele, and a fair bit of luck.
Applying strategies that have succeeded in the past won't produce the same results; you have to give things much more thought.
7. It's Not Easy To Tell If It's Working
The thing about social media is that, if things go according to plan, your brand will be spread to new customers virally. It's a snowball effect; your strategy grows more effective as more people latch on.
The rate, though, is unpredictable; those early stages will look similar whether you're ultimately successful or not, and when you leave the footwork in the hands of your customers you lose control over exactly how quickly the word is spread.
8. Doing Things Wrong is Worse Than Nothing
Social media, done right, allows you to connect with your customers in a way that traditional advertising platforms simply can't. Done wrong, though, you're standing on a stage, making a fool of yourself for the whole world to see. Get snippy with a customer once, and you've got a scandal on your hands; there's no safe margin here.
9. Fortunes Can Turn Quickly
It doesn't matter how successful you've been up until now; make one of the aforementioned mistakes, and you'll feel the full impact of it.
Bad news travels faster than good; when that bad news comes via a network that you've constructed to communicate with all of your potential customers, the only damage control you're going to get is after-the-fact.
10. Sometimes It Just Doesn't Fit
Not every brand needs a strong social media presence. There's a bit of a fad for setting up social media accounts for everything and everyone - but if you run, for example, a financial consulting firm, you have nothing to gain from social media. Your customers are relatively few, and they care about past performance more than anything; there's nothing unique they can get out of your Twitter.
In summary, you may fail at the implementation of social media but never trying means you have failed already. We encourage any company/brand to get invovled with the various platforms for social interaction and see if they suit their product or company.
After all is said and done, any social media you engage needs to be relevant, generate a social conversation and positively impact your brand awareness.
If you have some thoughts to share about Social media, please add them using the comments section below.