The Risk of Taking Your Brand Social.

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What you should know before taking your small business online.


taking your business onlineIt’s pretty obvious to say that social media has taken things to a whole new level for small businesses. Most small business owners understand that social media is somewhere they need their business to be visible and they are quick to dive in with the best intentions. The problem is, although there are many benefits to taking your company online, small businesses must recognize the risks and weigh whether or not they can take them – especially in the beginning.

 

The Pros & Cons of Social Media

 

Pros

Cons

Visibility
Taking your brand social provides an easy, effective, and beneficial way of getting brand recognition. From increasing SEO ranking to paid promotion, social media provides small businesses the ability to quickly build recognition for low-to-no cost. Check this out for some ways to increase your social media visibility. Increased visibility means an increased chance of negativity. The more out there your business is the more likely it is to receive criticism or to be looked at under a magnifying glass. You want people to find you, but you don’t want them to be critical of your company, its image, employees, positioning, etc. You can learn more about keeping your brand visible and positive here.
Reach
Social media is extremely effective at taking a small business and giving it a global reach. Once you take your company social, you become a brand that can reach worldwide. This provides great leverage when trying to make sales in other cities, states, and even countries. Here are some steps to taking your brand global via social media. When you think of increased reach you think of greater opportunities. What most small businesses forget to think about is the amount of work it takes to be a far-reaching business. When you take on orders or work in other areas, you have to account for the increased costs, time, effort, and chances of mishaps. Forgetting these can cost you your reputation, your expansion, and even your business. If you’re planning to go “global” here are some key things to think about.
Feedback
The best advertising a business could ever have, in my opinion, is the positive words of a happy customer. Consumers, especially Millennials, appreciate references of friends and family when making buying decisions. Taking your business social allows for your customers to advocate for your business on their profiles & by leaving feedback on your pages. Great feedback gives your company legitimacy and trust right from the start. If you want to start raking in those customer testimonials, here are some ways to start. When you open yourself up for reviews, you can bet not everyone will be your fan. Unfortunately, many social media platforms restrict your ability to remove negative reviews so with the good also comes the bad. No matter how amazing your business is, there are bound to be unhappy customers. Negative reviews can hurt your business, especially if they’re the only reviews. Unlike traditional PR, you’re going to have to address the problem after the fact with social media. Here are the Do’s & Don’ts of responding to negative reviews.
Cost
The cost associated with social media is relatively low compared to other marketing elements. Also, since social media offers multiple ways to address consumers, you can generally get more bang for your buck. You now have the ability to gain consumer feedback, inform customers about changes or new products, promote your brand, and more all in one place. Here is a cool infographic that shows the cost vs. results of social media. Although social media is commonly referred to as a “free” marketing tool, it really isn’t. If you really want to use the platforms to the full advantage of your business, you’re probably going to want to hire an expert. In some cases, outsourcing your social media marketing can cost big bucks. The one thing to remember is that the money you put in isn’t a cost, but rather an investment. You’ll see higher return with a professional company than you would by going it alone. Here is how much you should be spending on digital marketing in 2017.
Competition
Social media is a great way to scope out the competition and to get ahead of the curve. You can easily find out what your immediate competition is doing and what is still lacking in your industry. Addressing the consumer’s unmet needs gives you a tremendous competitive advantage. Additionally, taking your company online gives you an advantage over your competition who is still holding out and allows customers to compare you and your competition in one place. Here are some ways you can use social media to creep on the competition. Okay, so this is pretty obvious. If you can creep on them, they can creep on you. Going digital not only gives you the ability to analyze the competition and adjust, but also gives your competition the ability to see what you have going on, what you’re planning, and who your customers are. You can bet that they’ll be looking into you and trying to build off of your efforts, as well as, target your customers. Here are four ways to keep ahead of your competition on social media.

What to Watch (and Plan) For

We’ve seen the pros and cons of taking your company social, but what does that mean for your small business internally? There are a few things you should watch out for in-house to ensure your social media venture doesn’t come spiraling down like a blazing fireball from the sky.

Human Error in Social Media MarketingHuman Error

Since social media takes real-time engagement and effort, there are bound to be a few mistakes made. Human error can account for multiple mistakes. You, or your employees, could accidentally make a comment that doesn’t reflect your company’s views, accidentally post something that shouldn’t be posted, or even get hacked and start telling people that you’re stuck in Africa and need to borrow money to get home. A really good way to avoid most human error mistakes is to have solid social media policies and procedures. This guides you and your staff on what should & shouldn’t be done on your social media accounts.

right and wrongLegality

In a day and age where people sue for burning themselves with hot coffee, you can expect there will be some legal elements to social media. Legal issues can arise from adherence to privacy laws, content ownership, intellectual property infringement, harassment, false advertising, and much more. Ensuring that you have a strong understanding of the laws surrounding your industry and advertising within it is a good start. Here are 10 of the most common legal issues in social media and how to avoid them.

Operational

Although social media provides many great benefits, it can employee productivity and social mediaalso reduce workplace productivity. Managing how your staff uses social media is important, especially when it is for work purposes. We know it can get distracting, but when it comes to using it for work, it is a necessary distraction that staff can easily get lost in. The best way to avoid this is to schedule “Social Media Breaks” for your staff. It may seem like you’re treating them like children, but to be honest, as a Marketer, I find it is super beneficial to map out when and for how long I’ll check social media for myself, my clients, and my business.

I could go on and on about things to prepare for when bringing your company online and the pros and cons of social media for small businesses, however, the reality is, you need to be online. The important piece is that you understand what could happen and have a plan in place to address them when they do. Remember what they say, plan for the best but prepare for the worst.


Andrew Mendez

Andrew is the Founder & CEO of Tipsy Social. Andrew holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology & is a Masters Candidate in Marketing. He has worked in a multitude of industries and that is why he believes in order to effectively understand marketing you must first understand society and how it interacts.

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4 thoughts on “The Risk of Taking Your Brand Social.

  1. HCapriotti Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    This post is chock full of great information for business to use when weighing whether to join social media. Thanks for sharing great links to some of the less glamorous social media components. Especially important, but not so fun, is starting with social media policy on paper. This can eliminate problems from minor embarrassment to legal trouble. Planning for the negative comment or review is also crucial: being prepared with at least the tone of your response if not the exact words takes out a bit of the sting of your first negative post.

  2. Kevin Greene Reply

    Hey Andrew,
    A+ post with lots of useful information and links regarding the pros and cons of going social with a small business. I think many small businesses understand the importance of how to grow their business with social media but don’t understand how to do it effectively before they jump in. It reminds me of the commonly used saying in sports. You can’t win in the first half of the game but you can lose in the first half of the game. When applying this to social media for small businesses I think it makes sense. If a business is not prepared for the risks of social media early on they can fail (i.e. lose). However, no matter how prepared they are it will take time to build their business with social media (i.e. win). I hope that metaphor made sense! Overall, a lot of great information that should be taken into consideration for any small business going social. Great work.
    Best,
    Kevin

  3. Johanna Reply

    Andrew,
    WOW! I loved your post this week and it gave great information, I especially liked your pros and cons section you provided. It allows businesses to take a step back and really evaluate what they are trying to achieve and further confirms why it is important to have a strategy and plan.

  4. Gaurav Heera Reply

    Great read, Always looking for Something different, I can see the information on the web are overload. Yes, we need to step back at times and see where we are headed. I have had to evaluate lately where I need to put my energies into.
    Thanks.

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