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Does Social Media Marketing Have Any Disadvantages?

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Picture of Brittany Rohr
Brittany Rohr

Founder and CEO

For all the good that being active on social media can do, it does have its pitfalls. Here’s a quick list of 10 disadvantages of social media marketing.

Problem #1: One Mistake Can Be the Makings of a Major PR Disaster

Have you ever been in a situation where you and a friend were talking over text, some wires were crossed, and a misunderstanding occurred?

Social media takes those little mixups and amplifies them by a couple hundred. 

As a result, it’s possible to make a simple, mildly-humorous post at 11 only to find out after lunch that you’ve accidentally launched a social media war. 

If you’re tweeting or posting as an individual, it may be possible to recover from these things. But if you’re a business, these types of debacles can cost you, clients in the short and long term.

Social media marketing can be very powerful when it comes to getting your message out there. However, those same features can come back to haunt you if you’re not on the ball at all times. 

Problem #2: Social Media Wasn’t Designed for Businesses

There are some platforms, like TV commercial spaces or your standard paid advertising venue, where everything from the design of the service to the marketing is designed to grab businesses by the shirt collar, get in their faces, and shout, “We built this for you!”

With social media, that is definitely not the case.

A lot of people use social media to congregate and discuss different topics. And depending on the site, social media users can be openly hostile at the first sign of marketing or self-promotion on their platform. 

This, in turn, forces a lot of businesses to walk a fine line between tasteful promotion and annoying potential clients.

For some, the work that goes into modifying social media for business purposes is a lot more trouble than it’s worth.

Problem #3: Many Social Media Platforms Have Security Issues

Every other day, it seems like another celebrity has had their social media account hacked. And according to Dataprot, 43% of hacking targets are small businesses. 

As a business owner with a reputation to uphold, being hacked is a double whammy.

First, it puts you in the awkward position of having to take time out of your day to recover your account, scrub unauthorized content, and clean up the mess that’s been left by the hackers. 

And second, it can be hard to convince clients that their information is safe with you if they just watched you get hacked in real-time. 

If you’re not the type of business that closely monitors your accounts, it’s easy to find yourself wondering if social media is worth it.

Which brings us to . . .

Problem #4: The ROI Can Be Fuzzy

As a business owner, you’ve got a lot to do in the best of times.

But unlike a traditional employee, you don’t have the luxury of clocking out at the end of the day and going home.

In 2018, SmallBizTrends reported that as many as 44% of businesses couldn’t pin down an ROI for their social media marketing efforts. 

And it’s easy to see why that happens.

If your post got likes but no sales, are you happy with just the increased engagement and brand awareness? And if you are okay with those results, do you feel like you’re being compensated fairly for it?

When you’re in management, every minute of your time counts, when you don’t have the ability to say, “Yes, I made the company $40,000 this way.”, it’s only natural to feel a bit antsy about using social media marketing as a full-fledged promotional strategy.

Problem #5: Social Media Posts Often Have a Short Shelf Life

Have you logged on to Facebook or Twitter lately?

Things move fast. And not in a “Man, the track team did well in that tournament.” kind of way. But more in a “The speed of light has got nothing on this.” kind of way. 

At the time of this writing, there are 6,000 tweets per second made on Twitter alone.  

If your business wants to stay top of mind, however, you have to stay on social media and keep posting. 

But think about it.

When you’ve spent a whole day running your business, do you really have the time and energy to post on a bunch of platforms?

This issue alone is often enough to steer people away from social media as a strategy for drumming up business.

Problem #6: You Have to Keep Producing New Content

Speaking of always having to post and respond to people as quickly as possible, another issue that a lot of businesses face is the reality that social media users are on these platforms for a single reason:

To be entertained.

If you want to make an impression on your prospects, you don’t get brownie points for just showing up. You also have to keep innovating and coming up with new content. 

And to do that, you have to curate content in a way that says “I am a professional.” and “I understand this topic super well.” at the same time.

In short, you can’t just post any old idea that comes to your mind at a random moment. You have to bring your A-game to every post. 

For many business owners, the grind of coming up with new content is simply too much work. But in order to really benefit from social media marketing, you have to keep finding ways to differentiate yourself and demonstrate your expertise.

Problem #7: You Might Not Be Reaching the Customers You Need

In 2012, roughly 50% of American adults didn’t use social media. Of course, that number has probably come down since then, but the point still stands:

Although there’s no denying that millions and millions of people go online and browse social media every day, there are still a ton of folks out there who don’t log in at all. 

And while you might hear that and think, “A market of a few million is still worth my time.”, a substantial number of the people who have a very just-say-no approach to social media may actually be your dream clients.

So while there’s something to be said for social media as a marketing channel, you could be leaving a lot of money on the table if you don’t create a marketing mix that allows you to reach people offline or through other forms of advertising.

Problem #8: Getting Real Engagement and Connection Isn’t Easy

If taking your brand to the next level is on your to-do list, social media is the electricity that can power your elevator. 

It goes without saying that the recipe for a successful social media marketing strategy will include ingredients like consistency, timeliness, and providing value. 

But at the same time, creating content that resonates with customers while still being productive isn’t easy. 

According to PR Newswire, 17% of surveyed marketing managers reported having problems with getting engagement. 

For many companies, the time that it can take to figure this out through trial and error simply isn’t worth it.  

Problem #9: You May Have to Pay for Increased Reach

If you’ve been on the internet long, then the chances are that you’ve seen something like this happen on a few platforms already.

A platform starts off allowing organic reach and letting folks put their content in front of customers easy peasy. But then, as the platform grows, businesses begin to gradually discover that their reach is decreasing dramatically. 

Next thing you know, the only way to build your reach back up as your organic reach dwindles is to pay for ads. 

The decline of organic reach on Facebook has been a big story for several years now. But other platforms like Instagram and Pinterest have also made algorithm updates over the years.

Put simply, even with a flawless profile and equally flawless content, the old saying “It takes money to make money.” can still apply to your online advertising efforts.

Problem #10: The Returns Don’t Come Right Away

In a standard transaction, businesses don’t have to wait long to see a return on their advertising. The customer comes in or visits your site, books for a product or service, and buys. 

But when advertising through social media, you have to play the long game.

Why?

Because while sometimes you’ll stumble across someone who wants your product or service right here and right now, brand awareness outreach usually doesn’t immediately prompt leads to say, “Hey, I was looking for that!”. 

In fact, in many cases, these future clients might not even buy next week or next month.

When you commit to social media marketing, you have to really commit. But you also have to go into it with the understanding that you may not see sales for months or even years to come out of it.

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