Social media took off as a “thing” around 2009, and since then hundreds of companies have jumped on board, dumping millions of dollars into various platforms. However, many of these companies have learned the hard way that amassing “likes” is not the same as minting money.
Some, like German firm Kern and British company Unilever, have launched brilliant social media campaigns that have translated into cold, hard cash. For the majority of large companies, however, social media marketing has been something of a let-down.
To be sure, this type of marketing does have its drawbacks, but those negatives can be overcome with sound planning and a great foundation in traditional marketing skills.
Limitations of Social Media Marketing
First off, managing several different social media platforms eats up a lot of time, which means that right off the bat, the initiative is costing a company money. Stockholders want results now.
Even small companies and individual Internet marketers can’t escape this one: one way or another, someone has to commit a large amount of time to social media marketing. smm panel
Worse yet, it’s easy for employees to become distracted as they engage with sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Also consider that even if you have a minor employee handling the actual content management, someone high up in the company hierarchy is going to have to take time out of their day to provide information and approve ad campaigns and other initiatives.
The second major drawback of social media marketing is that it can be something of a Pandora’s box. While it’s true that review sites like Yelp allow people to review your product or service whether you like it or not, as soon as you voluntarily engage with fans and critics in real time, you’ll have to monitor everything you say.
A single slip-up can take months-and thousands of dollars-to clean up. There’s also the unlikely but nevertheless possible situation that a trusted employee could go rogue, dumping confidential information onto Twitter or Facebook.
Social media moves fast! Your posts could be buried within hours, and you’re going to have to continually create content to remain relevant. This could translate into time and money you simply don’t have to spare.
Finally, a 2014 Gallup Survey of 18,525 American adults found that 62% of respondents claimed that social media had “no influence at all” on their shopping habits. Says Gallup, “Social media are not the powerful and persuasive marketing force many companies hoped they would be.”
What to Do to Turn the Tide
Turning social media marketing into a viable income stream is about three things: quality content, quality engagement, and quality reach. To start with, though, you can mitigate the time requirement by using apps like Hootsuite that allow you to manage all of your social media accounts from one interface.
Some of these tools cost money, but the time savings is well worth the investment. You can also use collaboration tools like secret Facebook groups that allow your marketing team to collaborate in an environment that’s close to where all the action is, but that you can still monitor easily.