Pros and cons of using social media for business

With its low costs and large audiences, it's easy to get carried away when using social media in your business. It's wise to tread carefully and be aware of both the pros and cons before you start.

Pros of social media

When used effectively, social media can have all the benefits of word of mouth, just on a larger scale! It can also help you reach a high number of potential customers.

Potential advantages of social media can include:

  • reduced marketing costs
  • increased sales
  • increased traffic to your website
  • improved ranking on search engines
  • greater customer engagement
  • greater access to international markets
  • opportunity for customer feedback
  • opportunity to conduct market research about your customers
  • improved networking opportunities with customers and other businesses.

Read more about the benefits of social media

Cons of social media 

Social media may not be suited to every business. If you are unprepared and launch your social media presence without proper planning, you could waste valuable time and money.

Some of the possible disadvantages you should be aware of are:

  • Not having a clear marketing or social media strategy may result in reduced benefits for your business.
  • Additional resources may be needed to manage your online presence.
  • Social media is immediate and needs daily monitoring.
  • If you don't actively manage your social media presence, you may not see any real benefits.
  • Risk of unwanted or inappropriate behaviour on your site, including bullying and harassment.
  • Greater exposure online has the potential to attract risks. Risks can include negative feedback, information leaks or hacking.

Whatever the risk, having a social media strategy and preparing your policy and procedures carefully beforehand can help you manage the risks. False or misleading claims made on your social media channels by your business or by a customer can be subject to consumer law. Customer fan posts and testimonials that are misleading or deceptive to other customers, particularly about competitor products/services may result in your business being fined.

What to do...

  • Get ideas on how to use social media by reading benefits of social media.
  • For strategies and practical advice on your business’ online security, go to Stay Smart Online on the Department of Communications and the Arts website.
  • Learn more about social media and consumer law on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission website.
  • Search Events to see if there are any social media events or seminars near you.

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