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Social Media Platform Pros and Cons for Business Owners

Updated: Nov 2, 2019


Social media is a powerful way for business owners to generate brand awareness in order to capture new leads, customers, and referrals. Social media is a key piece to every brand, be it a personal brand, legacy brand, or disruptive brand. Knowing what social media platforms are out there and how to use them is key to one's business strategy. If you're looking to grow your business, the following pros and cons of major social media platforms will give you an understanding on how to use social media to your advantage.



Facebook

Started by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004, Facebook has more than 1.63 billion active daily users. and multiple features that make this a key platform for any brand today.

PROS

  • Global platform

  • Targeted marketing and advertising given massive amounts of consumer data

  • A/B testing of ads to test your offering

  • Engaging covers allow video and storytelling to wow people from the start as they view your page

  • Community building through Facebook groups and customization, including private groups to differentiate your customer base, e.g. VIP or regular and albums for historical data or referencing

  • Events to engage a wider audience in targeted locations

  • Facebook live to create a sense of urgency and demand to drive exclusive offerings and product roll-outs

  • Storytelling leveraging videos and cross-marketing through linking to other brand partners

  • Invite your friends to like your page to begin creating a following on company pages

  • Customer reviews

  • Large database to search competition and view their strategy for competitive insight to build your own social media marketing plan - frequency of posts, types of posts (text vs. picture vs. video), content, type of engagement from customers, influencer use, paid vs organic, etc.

  • Virtual timeline

CONS

  • Data privacy concerns and moral compass of leadership

  • Algorithms can change requiring new A/B testing of ads, ad copy, etc.

  • Requires the creation of a personal Facebook account to manage a business page

  • Facebook pages vs places can be confusing to consumers and time consuming for small business owners with multiple locations to properly manage reputation

  • Ads can be expensive if you don't know your target market given size of pool to advertise


LinkedIn

Are you looking to connect with decision makers? If so, LinkedIn is the platform for you! With over 303 million active monthly users and 92% of Fortune 500 companies on this platform, LinkedIn features personal profiles of business leaders, managers, CEOs, elected officials, and more. While old school sales leaders spent hours cold calling on companies trying to reach the top, targeting the people you want to reach has never been easier thanks to LinkedIn...pending you deliver value and articulate yourself as a personal brand.

PROSDevelopment of thought leadership

  • Extensive global database that is easy-to-search and filter to find the right people, organizations, and titles you desire to connect with, e.g. search: VP business development technology san francisco

  • Ability to showcase your professional experience and portfolio beyond a resume to make it clear why recruiters would want to contact you or why someone would trust you for an introductory call

  • Referral network and messaging to make introductions

  • Testimonials that immediately display trust, results, and recommendations from people instead of waiting for the reference check

  • Professional groups to network with and exchange resources to grow

  • LinkedIn Learning and online content to evolve as a professional

  • Video and article creation to demonstrate leadership in your field with the ability to attach hashtags #leadership #consultant #speaker to be found by others well past the initial posting date

  • The #1 Business to Business platform and lead generation portal to grow your business top to top and close C-level deals

  • Ability to see who viewed your profile so you can connect with these people who are interested in you

  • East to track metrics on post views and engagement

  • Development of executive thought leadership and positioning as key person in your industry

CONS

  • Removed the ability to capture emails of people in your network to grow an email list used for marketing making it more time consuming to add new contact email info one-by-one

  • Prefers native video files (must be less than 10 minutes) over YouTube links to drive online content sharing and videos with subtitles (which requires spending more money)

  • Writing styles have changed to favor short, choppy, algorithm friendly text to drive views

  • Some people do not see the value in the platform as evidenced by lower numbers of users compared to Facebook, yet, the users on LinkedIn tend to be more senior level and know the value in the platform

  • Advertising is expensive as this is primarily a B2B space


Twitter

The favorite communication channel of Donald Trump's White House, Twitter! This platform has 68 million monthly active users in the United States and 330 million worldwide. Twitter posts can go viral by news agencies and is a great platform for opposition speech, which drives a large number of views in our hyper-critical society. In a recent Pew Research article, data tells us that Twitter users are younger than the average American, more likely to be a Democrat, and the top 10% of users frequently include political tweets.

PROS

  • Doubling from its inception of 140 characters to 280 characters, Twitter is the platform to highlight how witty or direct you can be with as few of words as possible

  • Users on Twitter use R/T for R/T meaning they will re-tweet your post if you re-tweet their post, driving organic sharing

  • Hashtag central and short form media heaven! If there is an #earthquake you will know about it in seconds before news agencies craft their traditional stories. Searching for local issues and relevant news is easy to do on Twitter and will result in real-time info on trending topics

  • If brands are engaging in political advocacy on issues like climate change or ethical sourcing, Twitter can be a platform to tell the world your position statement in just a few characters

CONS

  • Most users rarely tweet, but the most prolific 10% create 80% of tweets from adult U.S. users

  • Limited text to promote or articulate value propositions

  • Highly polarized and political space which may damage a brand before it has a solid reputation and reputation management strategy as Twitter aims to connect people with shared interests, i.e. they do not foster diverse thinking

  • Limited text to respond to negative comments

Yelp

The service economy is massive! From restaurants, bars, hotels, law firms, auto mechanics, public agencies, and more, Yelp is the place for people to leave their review. Maintaining a favorable online reputation is critical for businesses to professional services providers today as people review and recommend within moments of their visit. This chart from Yelp breaks down the industries their platform covers. To date, Yelp has over 192 million reviews! A high percentage of Yelp users in America are college educated with 50% earning $100,000 or more.

PROS

  • Transparent review platform that ranks at the top of Google search

  • Ability to tell your story as a business owner or firm and engage with customers

  • Photos can highlight top offerings in visually sensitive markets such as food and beverage

  • Transparent ability to defend your reputation and share your side of the story because the customer is not always right

  • Lead generation with new traffic often generated after reviews

  • Specials and check-in offers to drive business during slow times

  • Community events and Yelp Elite membership to try new places


CONS

  • Think twice before creating a page. Once you create a page, good luck trying to get it removed. Yelp, seriously needs to do better at reasonable requests to remove pages at the request of those who create them

  • Their sales teams are non-stop and will be pitching offers constantly once you create a business page

  • Yelp seems to have two kinds of reviewers, those who hate your guts and those who love you. Remember, 60-80% of human thought is negative depending on the study you read, so this platform allows unconscious, negative humans the ability to rant their life's frustrations publicly. The good news is that you can respond calmly and state your view of the situation which positions you as a reasonable and caring business owner

  • People can take crappy photos of your business or product to skew visual perceptions to potential customers, so make sure you create updated digital content to stay fresh


Instagram

Acquired by Facebook, Instagram is a visually-forward social media platform that is excellent for lifestyle brands, travel enthusiast, foodies, and the next-generation of social media influencers reaching millennial and younger consumers. Of the over 1 billion monthly users, 90% are below the age of 35.


PROS

  • Teens say Instagram stories are the best way to reach them to promote a new product or feature

  • Stories are the best way to reach people and to have them engage with your brand

  • Sales can be generated through Instagram as one can present a clean story with nice visuals to promote a product

  • Influencers can make money on this platform promoting products from companies who are interested in reaching their target customer to reduce acquisition costs through direct marketing

  • A pictures says a thousand words. Instagram is the place to arrange your images in a tasteful waterfall of cascading images, videos, and stories to wow your audience

CONS

  • Hashtag policies and view count policies can impact distribution of posts and there is no transparent communication in place to forewarn loyal advertisers of these changes and how they will impact reach

  • Some hashtags have been reported to be shadow banned aka censorship if algorithms perceive a violation of community standards

  • While this was the 2nd most downloaded app in 2018 in the Apple app store, new subscribers are being added, so reach is still limited for large international brands

  • Acquired by Facebook so things can change from the original intent


Snapchat

78% of Americans aged 18-24 use the app Snapchat, which also hosts 180 million daily active users. If your business is focused on developing the next-generation of loyal consumers, Snap is where it's at!


PROS

  • Peer to Peer messaging

  • Engaging filters to keep youth on the app as they are heavily influenced by the selfie-culture

  • Less saturated than other social media platforms making it easier to stand out

  • An app to watch for the future as it holds the interest and trust of younger consumers

CONS

  • Expensive to advertise if you want special filters on peak times

  • Still growing with a younger customer segment that has less immediate spending power

Influencers: Bloggers, Podcast Hosts, LinkedIn Super-Connectors, Speakers

Did you know that everyday people get paid to promote products or services? While Hollywood takes millions to place a product or brand logo in a movie from things like Rolex watches to orthopedic parts in the hit show ER to subtly influence viewers, local brands are turning to local people who have large social networks to influence their offerings. In this section, we'll look at how and why you want to work with influencers to grow your reach.


First-hand experience


As a speaker, I get approached by people who want me to promote their event in exchange for a speaking slot because I have over 10,000 people on my LinkedIn network...remember the demographic of LinkedIn users from above, most are senior leaders or decision makers. When a conference host invites me, they are seeking my reach to influence other senior leaders to attend or send their talent as a starting point for event planners to meet new people and to begin the courtship of building a relationship to ask for sponsorship money or the opportunity to plan an event. As an influencer, it is also important to define your values and who you will and will not work with as people approach you.


When selecting an influencer or if you are an influencer choosing a brand to work with, consider the following:


  • Are we aligned in our values and any political statements that might come back full circle? Have both parties done their due diligence ensuring their reputations are aligned?

  • What demographic are you trying to target? Can the influencer reach them?

  • How many posts and what type of post do you want the influencer to do? Static image, video, direct endorsement with link, etc.

  • Is the influencer crafting the story? Well, you need to treat them like a professional advertising partner because they are doing just that, creating a story to reach the market they know and in a way to get them to take action. If you pay ad agencies, you need to start thinking of influencers in a similar optic.

  • How valuable is the influencer's platform and what's the right exchange? Money, product, experience, ongoing affiliate partnership?

  • Example: My platform has 10,000 people who are mainly decision makers and in business leadership roles. If I work with a hotel brand to promote their hotel, I will need to determine what brand of hotel and Star level I want to promote, what feature so it does not come across like a blatant sales ad, a link with my code embedded so my client knows how many people were driven to them by me, and cost/value determination. Economics: So let's say I post two organic posts that reach 3,000 people who travel and who can make a decision on where they want to stay. Out of that number, five book a hotel stay for three nights at an average cost of $200 per night, the hotel generates $3,000 in new revenue plus the ability to earn referrals from satisfied guests and visibility on the new customer's social media channels, called a mushroom effect. For something like this, the hotel may provide me a few nights accommodation when a room is vacant during low season which only costs them the direct cost of cleaning the room and a few meals at their cost, plus a few perks or experiences through the concierge so I can feature these experiences. So for a hundred or so dollars, the hotel has the opportunity to earn revenue and new customers at a low cost when they work with an influencer who has reach in their target market.

  • Influencers are a great addition to your marketing strategy, and most are more affordable than you think, as the millennial generation favors experiences.


Google

Last but not least, and one of the most important, Google! When people search, they most often use a search engine to find what they are looking for, and Google ranks at the top. Google is important because this is where your business will rank when searched; if directly searched, the first and second pages will hold a valuable insight into who you are, what your business is about, and any reviews. The tabs on top will host links to images, videos, news, and general information about your business.


PROS

  • Ability to claim your business page and update critical information like hours, address, website

  • Your website link and phone number are easily accessible

  • Google analytics can be tied to your website so you can see where people are searching from, what they are looking at, and ways you can optimize your site and ads with the help of a professional

  • Before people get to Yelp, they will come across Google reviews, so make sure you respond to these reviews as well

  • When starting a business or deciding on what product to develop, you need to look at Google trends. You can type in the words you want to use to see what words are on the upward trend or decline so you have a name that is headed in the right direction. You can also use Google trends to customize ads on certain times of the year when people's interests are focused in a certain direction


CONS

  • When things get placed on the web, they are indexed by Google and can take a long time to get off. If something hits the web, while it may be taken down, consider that it is still floating around there somewhere


YouTube

Does your brand have a cool story that needs to be told? Are you a personal brand or professional services provider who is recognized by your industry? YouTube is a great platform to showcase your expertise as a speaker or to teach others the value behind a product from things like makeup to camera lenses to travel tips. YouTube creators have their own channels and sub-categories to make searching for relevant info a breeze.


PROS

  • Loved by young and old

  • 1.9 billion active users per month

  • Works across languages in today's global environment

  • Easy to share links that can be used across platforms

  • Public and Private hosting options to share protected content

  • Depending on reach, you may be eligible to place ads on your videos to generate more revenue

CONS

  • Top creators use quality lighting, microphones for good sound quality, and professional cameras for vlogging which requires money

  • Trolls can bash people and bots can thumbs down videos giving false perceptions on the quality of content. If you want your content to get out there, you need to keep it visible with the option for comments...this requires a reputation management strategy


Website

Businesses today need their own website, period. A website consists of a domain name like www.DrewAversa.com and a hosting platform to build-out your site like www.Wix.com or www.WordPress.com Your hosting and domain name will cost you around $200 total. While other sites rely on their own community, the importance of having your own website rests in your ability to control your messaging and the ability to create a loyal community through email marketing, which is highly personalized to reach those who you know are 100% committed to your business. Your website is also a great place for you to write content on a blog so you can share this content across social media sites, text messages, etc. to people who will read what you have to say because you are positioned as a leader. Trust is also higher coming directly from you! You do not need to spend thousands on a website if you are a small business or regional brand.


Social Media Road-Map



You're probably wondering by now, where do I start?


As a business consultant, I help business owners implement a social media system so they are successful. While you can create accounts on each platform, not knowing how to use them appropriately or what content to share on each platform will inevitably result in time and money wasted. The key to a successful social media presence and strategy is to think of this as an interconnected system within your business instead of individual tasks to create better outcomes. The following are ways I can help you grow your business:


  • Business development, marketing, and sales consulting to drive revenue!

  • Website creation, mobile-friendly design, and integration with social media platforms

  • Reputation management strategies, public relations, and positioning statements

  • Engagement marketing strategies that are creative, leverage influencers, and non-traditional means of marketing

  • Content calendar and creative direction

  • Research and recommendations on where to start with an initial budget


If you need help driving brand awareness, schedule a FREE 15 minute phone call with me today! Until then, keep going and keep growing!


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