Social media is a crowded space with a lot of options, yet the marketing potential for social media extends beyond simply posting and watching the interactions pour in. There are numerous ways to invest in social media marketing, but not all will produce the type of return on investment (ROI) you’re looking for as a small business owner. Is social media worth the investment? It’s a critical question to ask.

It’s important to conduct thorough research before committing to any one avenue of investment in social media marketing. This way, you’ll know what works best for your goals and what isn’t worth the time and money involved. Here are some pros and cons of investing in social media marketing so you can decide which direction is best for your business.

The Pros of Investing In Social Media Marketing

If you do your due diligence and select the right social media platforms for your company, you’ll have a wide variety of ways to promote your brand. Social media platforms are excellent tools for engaging with your target audience in a personal, familiar way. You can facilitate conversations, share content that relates to your audience’s problems and questions, and get real-time feedback on your efforts.

Another major pro of social media marketing is the ability to scale your marketing quickly and practically infinitely. You can easily run social media campaigns targeting your ideal buyer persona for pennies on the dollar as compared to traditional forms of marketing like direct mail. If you want to reach a large audience with a single post, you can do it. If you want to focus on a more niche group, you can do that too.

You can find success by posting consistently and reviewing which of your posts resonated most with your audience, then making similar content in the future. Social media marketing gives you scalability that many other forms of marketing simply can’t.

The Cons of Investing in Social Media Marketing

There are several drawbacks to social media marketing, too. Social media marketing isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. The level of engagement and the type of results you see will depend on the social media platforms you choose to focus on. Some social media platforms have a wider reach than others or may be better suited to promoting certain types of content.

While social media engagement may be a great indicator of audience interest in your product or service, it can’t be relied on as an accurate barometer for sales. Some social media users purchase goods and services from the brands they engage with, but many do not. A brand must both authentically engage with its users and leverage conversion best practices to see even a few sales from social media. 

Social media marketing is also time- and labor-intensive. It’ll either require a substantial investment of internal resources to manage social media marketing, or you can consider hiring an agency. Hiring an agency to manage your social media may be less expensive than hiring in-house, but it can still require a significant financial investment depending on your goals and the level of activity required.

A poorly executed social media marketing campaign can do more harm to your brand than good. People remember what they see on social media because it’s the public face of every brand. If you don’t have the time or money to invest in social media marketing, you may be better off leveraging other marketing strategies that are more cost-effective.

Paid Advertising on Social Media Platforms

Advertising is a major source of revenue for social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. If you decide to invest in social media marketing by using paid advertising, you need a battle plan so you can actually get an ROI with social media marketing.

If you’ve never done advertising before, you may end up wasting a lot of money on ads that don’t deliver the results you want. Paid advertising on social media is best suited for businesses that have a decent amount of money to spend (at least a couple thousand dollars per month).

Advertising on social media can be extremely effective when executed properly. The key to a successful ad campaign is to understand your target audience and the types of ads and offers that speak to them. (Learn more: The Key to Success with Facebook Ads: Audience Temperature)

Once you’ve determined the best format for your ad–video, single image, or carousel–you can use it to promote your most important or profitable offer. You should also optimize your ad campaign over time to make it even more effective.

Organic Marketing with Content Creation

The best way to attract new social media followers is to create content that is relevant and useful to your audience. It’s important to remember that you’re marketing to social media users, not social media platforms themselves.

The more engaging, insightful, and relatable the content you post on social media platforms is, the more likely it is that your posts will be seen. The key to success with organic posting is creating high-quality content that people want to share and engage with. The best types of content to post on social media are often those that are visually unique or emotionally stimulating.

Posting static content, or simple images in words, in the hopes that it will go viral is an uphill battle. When you post static content, you’re trusting that your audience is patient and loyal enough to read everything.

With video content like reels and shorts, you open up your posts to a much wider audience. Most social platforms now let you post videos up to 60 seconds long, with most platforms referring to this as a reel. The more creative you are with your social media posts, the more likely you are to stand out from your competition.

Live Streaming

Live video streaming is one of the newest and most engaging forms of social media marketing available. Instead of simply posting pre-recorded video content, you can stream live video directly to your audience members on platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.

The more engaging and interactive your stream is, the more likely it is that you can reel in customers from social media. The best types of live video streams are those that allow your audience members to interact with you in real time.

Live video streaming is an excellent option if you’re looking to connect on a more personal level with your audience members. You can use live video streaming to announce a new service or course, do product walkthroughs, answer frequently asked questions, and more. This gives your audience members a chance to see you as a real, relatable human being and connect with your brand on a more personal level.

The Bottom Line

Social media marketing is an excellent way to connect with your audience and promote your brand. However, not all types of social media marketing are created equally. Before committing to a particular kind of social media marketing, ensure you understand its benefits and drawbacks, as well as the costs. 

Here are the key points about the advantages and disadvantages of social media marketing:

  • Pros of social media include it is a personal way to reach people and near-infinite scalability. If you find a platform that works great to connect with your audience, you can reach hundreds of people for less than you’d pay via other marketing channels. 

  • Cons of social media include it is a time-intensive task that requires a lot of originality to be successful. The pace of social media is incredibly fast these days, and if you don’t have a clear plan that you stick to, your business will only be lost in the noise. 

  • Paid advertising is great if you have the budget for it. Due to how much data social media platforms collect from their users, you can reach incredibly targeted audiences when your ad sets are optimized. 

  • Organic posting is the best way to get started with social media. Create a content calendar to be consistent, but remember that people love social media content because it’s personal and digestible.

  • Consider adding live streaming to your social media efforts. Not only do live streams get boosted in the algorithm, but it’s also the best way for people to see your brand in real time. Practice your camera skills so you’re relaxed and enthusiastic, which is what people love to connect with. 

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