No matter whether you use one or multiple platforms to support your business, Facebook, Google My Business, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok and Twitter all have their promotional peaks and pit-falls.
The ‘pros’ for these social media platforms are made up on a mix of free to affordable pricing - delivering customer service through interaction, engagement and communication - building your reputation - targeting your audience - promoting yourself easily - analysing your online results.
These all sound great and are just what we need as a small business owner, but we also have to be mindful that every ‘pro’ has a ‘con’ and when it comes to social media, it’s no different. These ‘cons’ can include time wasting – lack of online skills – poor content creation – your audience is always watching – lack of resources – opening yourself up to criticism and even trolling.
Let’s have a closer look into the 6 main platforms and the positives and negatives for each one. By doing this simple exercise, you might identify which platforms suit your business best; it may be time to ditch ones that aren’t performing well for you and switch to an alternative that better fits your business model.
Brand Awareness: Facebook offers a good avenue for businesses to market, promote, create and maintain a good relationship with their target audience.
Driving website traffic: Facebook offers easy connectivity to web-based resources, such as your website to drive traffic and boost sales.
Targeted advertising: Customers can be reached based on demographics such as age, gender, location, education, occupation and other interests.
Control issues: The lack of control over posting content can bring negativity to your business as well as any derogatory comments your audience may leave.
Low organic reach: Users must sign up for page updates in order to keep receiving them if they don’t engage frequently with a page. They can also choose to unfollow or unsubscribe from posts while still counting as page audience, which means even your promoted feeds will be hidden.
Highest bidder ads: Facebook advertising can be expensive as it’s a bid pricing scheme. It only shows advertisements of those who bid higher. Clicks start at just £0.01 and impressions begin at £0.02. The only problem is these can be outbid only be run a few times. It is here that the small business has a clear disadvantage.
Google My Business
Improves SEO: The Google Local Pack is a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) which displays the places related to your search. It takes up huge real estate on page one of Google search results, and it’s the first thing any Google user will see after they type in their query. It enables users to see the information they need about your business in a glance (including reviews).
Keeps customers up to date: By sharing more than just your address, website, and phone number you can give your customers what they crave by way of photos, new product offerings, your latest menu and opening hours.
Real time reviews: Receive and respond to reviews left by your customers. Show that you are active and customer-centric.
Lack of customisation : Google My Business is limited in terms of customising your profile page. This can be a major limitation for businesses that are looking to create unique branding and a stand-out presence on the platform.
Image sizing: It is difficult to repurpose content created for other social platforms without resizing your images to 1200 x 900 pixels (4:3 image ratio). Google posts are short form, 100-300 word posts, along with a photo or video.
Outdated information: This can be super frustrating for users. Google doesn’t want its users to end up having bad experiences from using its site, so that’s why it’s possible to suggest changes. This is something you need to stay on top of rather than your audience suggesting changes for you.
Customisable features: Instagram allows you to edit your photos using a variety of filters and geotags before posting them as well as customising your privacy settings.
Hashtags & Geotags: You can use these to personalise your content. The hashtags are important whenever you want to carry out an Instagram campaign or engage specific users. Geotags show business location and the surrounding environment.
Links to other platforms: Instagram allows you to link to other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. If you post a story, you can easily share it on all other platforms.
Not web optimised: Instagram is only built for the app thus the web version looks terrible compared to the quality of Facebook.
Image theft: Some people can and do steal professional images posted on Instagram for their own gains without consent.
False advertising: Many start-up businesses rely on Instagram to market and promote their brand and sometimes they advertise fake news in order to gain more followers and generate leads.
Easy to go viral: LinkedIn has a focus on content like achievements, job openings, or general updates. The more times it is shared, LinkedIn sees it as more authoritative, sharing to more people outside your 1st level connections. This becomes extremely useful if what you’re posting contains a link to your website or blog.
Targeting professionals: Most users are professionals; they all share the same goal – to network and make connections. Because of this, you can apply a slightly more direct approach and show them what you have to offer.
LinkedIn Pulse: When you post a piece of content through LinkedIn Pulse, everyone you are in connection with will receive a notification. Assuming this piece of content relates to your business, this can lead to an extremely large amount of traffic to your website.
Hidden Costs: Monthly LinkedIn Premium Career prices range from £24.98 and £79.99 for Recruiter Lite. One of the benefits of paid versions is the ability to see more info on users and businesses but this can be an affordability issue for smaller businesses.
Hard to get noticed: Given the number of people on LinkedIn, simply having a profile on the site isn’t enough. You need to be regularly updating your profile, sharing status updates often and writing blog posts. It can be time consuming.
Potential Spam: Be prepared to receive many connect requests and messages from random users who are trying to sell anything to anyone. I recommend a careful and considered approach to target your audience
User-generated content: TikTok users are also creators, and all the stats show that user-generated content plays an essential role in online advertising/ marketing. It's relatively inexpensive and highly credible, as it comes from real people. UGC has the potential to reach a wide audience, as it can be easily shared across other social media platforms.
Influencer marketing: This has become one of the most effective and affordable ways to reach consumers because people trust recommendations from their peers. High engagement rates are more valuable than large followings.
Repurpose content: This short-form video app is perfect for creating engaging, bite-sized content that can be repurposed for other channels like Instagram, marketing e-mails, and even outdoor ads. Not only does this save time, but it also ensures a consistent brand message across all platforms.
Limited audience: With over one billion active users, that doesn’t mean all of them are potential customers for your business. Gen Z still dominates TikTok but older users have found some success on the platform too. TikTok is known for its light-hearted and fun content, so mundane or serious products struggle to find an audience on the platform.
Damage Reputation: Apparently there’s no such thing as bad publicity! Wrong! Small companies often go too far in their attempt to be different. As a result, they can end up making tone-deaf, offensive, or just plain cringe-worthy videos, creating the wrong business image.
Lost in the crowd: For small businesses, standing out on TikTok can be a challenge. The solution is to regularly develop creative and engaging content that catches people’s attention; utilise relevant keywords and hashtags, and post regularly to stay visible.
Automated Tweets: You can write all the tweets you need and schedule them to post out and the Twitter tool will automate them.
Access to news: 44% of people always turn to Twitter for breaking news than in any other social medium. They can also use Twitter to share ideas with others.
Offline Tweet-Up: This feature allows you to share information with people in a specific geographical area. You can easily schedule virtual meetups anywhere or even arrange to meet your followers in a specific area.
Limited character count: 280 characters is your limit. This can be a challenge if you can’t communicate effectively and succinctly.
Time sensitive: Twitter moves fast! You should always send your tweets when the majority of the target audience are online otherwise they will end up missing the tweets.
Fake News: The credibility of published content is questionable due to a lot of fake news in the social network. You have to prove yourself as a credible and reliable source before building your online community.
If you need additional support in understanding which social media platform will work best for your business and how to professionally plan your content, get in touch with me, Rachel Wicks, your expert social media consultant today.
Let’s work together…
Drop me a DM @ElectricFootprint
Call 07958 231817 for a no obligation chat
Book a free 30 minute Discovery Call
I’m here to help! 🧡