Social media for business cover image

Social media for business


Use social media to market your business and connect with your customers. Learn about the different types and the pros and cons of using social media.

About social media

Social media is online communication that allows you to interact with your customers and share information in real time. You can use social media to:

  • reach your customers better

  • create online networks

  • sell and promote your products and services.

However, there is risk in using social media for your business. Tread carefully and learn both the pros and cons before you start.

Benefits of social media for business

Social media can help you engage with your customers and find out what people are saying about your business. You can also use social media for advertising, promotional giveaways and mobile applications.

  • Social media can help your business to:

  • attract customers, get customer feedback and build customer loyalty

  • increase your market reach, including international markets

  • do market research and reduce marketing costs

  • increase revenue by building customer networks and advertising

  • develop your brand

  • exchange ideas to improve the way you do business

  • recruit skilled staff, for example through job networking sites like LinkedIn

  • increase traffic to your website and improve its search engine ranking

  • keep an eye on your competitors.

Disadvantages of social media

Social media may not suit every business. If you launch your social media presence without planning, you could end up wasting valuable time and money.

Disadvantages of social media include:

  • needing additional resources to manage your online presence

  • social media is immediate and needs active daily monitoring

  • you may get unwanted or inappropriate behaviour on your social media site

  • the risk of getting negative feedback, information leaks or hacking

  • the risk of having false or misleading claims made on your social media (by your business or a customer). These claims can be subject to consumer law. For example, if a customer or fan posts misleading or deceptive information, particularly about competitor products or services, you might receive a fine.

To avoid the risks, have a social media strategy with policies and procedures in place before you start.

Types of social media

Not all social media platforms will be right for your business. Save time and effort by choosing social media platforms that your target audience will use. Below is a brief guide to help you understand some of the options available.

  • Social networking sites

  • Job networking sites

  • Blogs

  • Micro-blog

  • Video sharing sites

  • Podcasts and vodcasts

  • Social-news communities

  • Private social network services

  • Location-based services

Create your social media strategy

Doing the ground work before you start is critical to a successful social media presence. Develop your social media strategy to:

  • create compelling content

  • engage with your customers at the right time

  • generate sales.

A social media strategy describes how your business will use social media to achieve its communications aims. It also outlines the social platforms and tools you’ll use to achieve this.

Follow your strategy and don't overwhelm your customers with unnecessary posts. Remain focused on reaching your specific goals and tailor your messages around these.

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