To be or not to be? That was a tough question for Hamlet, but content marketers pondering whether or not to be on social media on the cusp of 2020 may as well be asking themselves if they should live under a rock or not.

Social media is as ubiquitous as air – it’s everywhere. Every day, 3.2 billion people across the globe are using social media. And new platforms are popping up all the time. In fact, our devices have become bodily appendages of sorts.

It’s undeniable that businesses must leverage the power of social media. The opportunities afforded by social media to engage customers and prospects are like nothing we’ve seen before.

But is social media all good? Are there drawbacks to its ubiquity around the world? Plenty. Let’s explore both the pros and the cons of social media. A careful analysis of both will guide how – not if – we should go about managing social media.

For the sake of this marketing article, we’ll forego discussion of the emotional and societal advantages and disadvantages of social media. Indeed, they are abundant, but let’s let the psychology blogs cover that arena.

PROS OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN CONTENT MARKETING

Reach. With almost half the world’s population using social media, the opportunity to reach audiences where they live online is immense. Enriching, quality content inspires people to share your content with someone else and, like the old Faberge organic shampoo commercial, so on and so on and so on. Social media is contagious – in a good way (as long as it’s managed properly, but we’ll get to that in a bit).

Cost-effective and easy. It costs next to nothing to run a basic social media campaign, and it’s as easy as choosing a platform(s) and following a few simple instructions to set up a free account. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn are common among businesses, but it’s crucial to identify which platforms your target audiences are on.

Live, interactive engagement. Social media invites real time conversation with audiences 24/7, allowing companies to get instant feedback about their products, services and campaigns as well as valuable insight into the wants, needs, interests, and concerns of their customers and prospects.

Concrete data. The many free or low-cost monitoring tools that exist today afford marketers clear, tangible intelligence about the specific content their audiences respond to most, when and where.  Guess work is no longer part of the equation when concrete evidence of consumer engagement is available.

Content promotion. Great content only goes as far as its reach. All the news, blogs, white papers, eBooks and case studies in the world won’t mean a thing unless they can be seen and shared. Social media calls attention to your content and lets you, and others, propagate it.

Immediate dissemination of important news. Social media allows for instantaneous sharing of important, up-to-the-minute news, which is particularly necessary in crisis. Without a clear and truthful message about critical circumstances, the situation will most certainly be addressed by others who may be misinformed and bring risk to your organization. Uniform messages are easy to convey on social media, even as the situation is unfolding.

SEO. Companies and organizations active on social media rank better in search engines, placing their content higher than their competitors’. Content is increasingly accessed through social media. If you’re not on multiple platforms, your content won’t be seen by the billions of people using social media.

Customer loyalty. Establishing positive online relationships with customers and prospects fosters loyalty among them and increases the likelihood of face-to-face interactions. People happy with and trusting of your brand are also more inspired to offer unsolicited referrals and testimonials.

Reviews. Positive reviews on social media are gold since 91% of people read reviews before engaging with a brand, and 84% trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Your star power counts, but so too do the experiences customer share with your organization. Encouraging customers to give you a review demonstrates a commitment to excellence in services, products and customer care.

CONS OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN CONTENT MARKETING

The Yin and the Yang
Some of the benefits of social media to marketing are also converse detriments. Let’s look at the cons of social media and how to manage and mitigate them as much as possible, starting with those that are also pros, as noted above.

Reach. Just as social media can reach massive numbers of people instantaneously to the benefit of your brand, if you miss the mark in your messaging when a lot of eyes are on it, you brand can suffer significantly. Mistakes can be as severe as not communicating a crisis properly or as minor as poor grammar or typos. Great skill is required to create quality content, and great care must be taken to ensure it is crafted well and free of errors, biases or anything that could be insensitive or misinterpreted.

Live, interactive engagement. While two-way conversations with audiences is one of the major benefits of social media, it can also be a drawback in terms of control. Because everyone seeing your content can comment, add to and share it, your message is out of your hands to some degree. But you can gain back control by regularly monitoring and responding, which is every bit as important as creating careful content in the first place.

Immediate dissemination of important news. Like no other, social media allows users to get messages out quickly to huge numbers of people. That’s particularly important in a crisis event; however, the greatest of care must be taken to responsibly, accurately and respectfully convey such news. Those who aren’t trained properly in crisis communications run the risk of causing significant damage not only to the company’s reputation and financial outlook, but to stakeholders as well, including employees, victims, investors, and more. Establishing and practicing a social media policy and crisis communications plan is key, because it sets guidelines and expectations from the outset – before crisis occurs.

Concrete data. The data collected from those participating in social media can be a double-edged sword. When someone engages with social media, content marketers have access to additional information about them, thanks to algorithms that can reveal where one lives, where they work, went to school, and even personal data such as sexual orientation. Understandably, this is very alarming to consumers, and marketers must be especially careful about how they leverage this information. Because social media sites don’t scan for phishing scams, users are also vulnerable to hacking, identity theft and viruses. Establish and commit to clearly defined ethical practices that strive to add value to your audiences, and never exploit their engagement with your brand.

Reviews. While negative reviews on social media are not a crisis, 91% of people read reviews before engaging with a brand, and 84% trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. As noted, encouraging customers to give you a review demonstrates a commitment to excellence in services, products and customer care. But it also opens you to criticism and negative commentary. Commitment to excellence must be seen in action, not just words, but the occasional unhappy consumer will surface, regardless of how outstanding your brand is. Promptly thank the reviewer for their thoughts and affirm that their opinion matters to you and that, whenever possible, you will do what you can to improve the situation.

More Cons of Social Media
It’s time-consuming
. Just as personal relationships require nurturing and regular attention, so do relationships that are formed on social media. Occasional, erratic posts aren’t going to stick. Effective social media communication takes time, effort, attentive response, careful analysis and fresh, continuous content. Employing a person or agency dedicated solely to social media is essential to a robust social media strategy.

All the world’s a stage. Social media invites disgruntled customers and even former employees to vent publicly about their grievances against your company. In today’s culture of “citizen journalism” and customer reviews, people feel very free to say whatever they wish, especially when they’re not communicating face-to-face. While social media managers can delete negative comments, unless it’s something profane or threatening, they shouldn’t. Doing so sends the message that they don’t care enough to respond (creating further cause for complaint) and that they’re less than transparent. Prompt and thoughtful response is the appropriate action, whether or not the conversation about you is flattering. Never react defensively, blame someone else, or lash back in retort. Instead, affirm that the concern has been heard, that it matters to you and that, whenever possible, you will do what you can to improve the situation.

Nothing is ever truly deleted. A footnote to the con above is that comments and posts never really vanish from the Internet. Once posted, they are archived in cyberspace and exist in perpetuity. Before the first keystroke is made, every measure must be taken to ensure that content is clear, responsible, respectful and representative of your highest ideals.

Cons aside, as we’ve said before, today’s content marketers must take advantage of the enormous power of social media. But they have to do it right.

At IVY Marketing Group, our team of certified content experts can help you make the most of social media, engaging your audiences with content they’ll not only see, but act upon too.

IVY MARKETING GROUP. COME GROW WITH US.

 

 

 

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It’s addicting!  The fast-paced, ever changing world of public relations and marketing captures your interest and keeps you charged up to learn more everyday.  I love to find the best ways to tell our client’s stories and man, they have awesome stories!

It’s my job to discover our client’s goals and then match the best processes to achieve them, within their budgets, of course.  I get to explore traditional, digital and every manner of communication to determine which tactics, whether it is direct mail or TV advertising, a new website or PPC (to name just a few) will efficiently and effectively capture the attention of prospects. 

I also get to work with great people at IVY – they’re creative, fun, caring and super smart.  We’ve all been around the industry a while so there is not a novice among us.  Our clients are very cool too and totally passionate about the services they offer.  We’ve been working with most of them for years so we know they truly care about being innovative and responsible to the markets they service.  I have great admiration for all of them and look forward to every day. 

It’s true what “they” say, if you love what you do, you won’t work a day of your life!

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IVY was established in 1990 with a basic premise to offer professional, ethical and highly creative marketing, advertising and public relations services. We have successfully maintained our core values and have been part of many amazing projects, client growth and changes in the world of marketing that continue to happen at lightening speed. Most of our clients serve older adults in some capacity so we keep abreast of the opportunities and challenges they face.   Each day, we keep it real and fun and consistently deliver positive results to our clients and their markets.

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As a hybrid graphic and digital designer/web developer with over 17 years of experience, I am always on the lookout for innovative digital and print visual communications. IVY Marketing Group’s broad range of projects keeps my job challenging and rewarding, as each campaign is a new and exciting opportunity to effectively communicate our clients’ messages and help them achieve their goals. It’s my passion!

My body of work encompasses a diverse design style and wide base of clients, ranging from national associations, small businesses and big name brands like Hyatt and LiftMaster. I firmly believe that form follows function and highly value the communicative power of simplicity. 

Areas of professional expertise include Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Word Press, Responsive Design, CSS3, and HTML5. The industries I’ve served include senior living, health care, hospitality and finance.

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All my life, I have loved writing. As a child, I could often be found in my room “writing a book.” While “novelist” is not (yet) on my resume, I am a storyteller. I believe that everyone and everything has a great story, and it is my joy to find that story and share it with the world.

After earning my bachelor’s degree in journalism and completing my master’s studies in the same field, I joined a small advertising agency with powerhouse clients in the hospitality industry, such as Hyatt, Hilton International and Carnival Cruise Lines. I began as a proofreader and achieved the position of senior copy writer within a year.

After my first son was born, followed by two more, I started a freelance writing business that included (among several others) such clients as Advocate Health Care and Coldwell-Banker Realty. Clients in the education arena included DeVry University’s Becker CPA and Stalla CFA Reviews, DePaul University, and Naperville School District 203, for which I won two state public relations awards.

For nine years, I was employed as Communications Director for a large faith community, where I managed all aspects of internal and external communications. I was writer, editor, designer, web master, and content manager.

As such, I am experienced and comfortable writing multimedia for a broad variety of industries, products and services.

I joined IVY Marketing Group in 2013, when I began writing client press releases on a freelance basis. I loved the work—and my teammates—so much, I was thrilled when I was invited to come on board in a greater capacity.

I have immensely enjoyed getting to know our valued clients in the senior housing industry, the people they serve, and telling the many wonderful stories that come out of content marketing done right—with the love and care our IVY teams puts into everything we do.

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It all starts with one idea. Working with the Ivy creative team for over two decades has always meant taking one great idea and bringing it to life to help our clients meet their goals. We enjoy the challenges offered with every creative opportunity and try to make the design process itself enjoyable for our clients.

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Making certain that the projects IVY produces are word- and picture-perfect is my specialty. But I also love implementing marketing campaigns and programs that bring our clients success. Details are my thing, so it is a pleasure to have worked with IVY twice now, first after college four years ago and, recently, for the past two years.

The IVY Group is a terrific team of creative, positive and talented professionals that I love working with and, judging from the length of stay of our clients, I think they love our team, too!

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Rock-climbing, training for an 80-floor stair climb event, running a 5K…This is just a tiny peek into what people 20 and even 30 years older than I am, are doing on a fairly regular basis at some of the retirement communities that IVY represents.

I’m of the generation that still has reoccurring nightmares about what the next step looked like when my grandmother could no longer live by herself. The very best option at that time was living at a “facility” and  included eating rubbery chicken and playing an occasional game of BINGO. Period. That’s why my parent’s generation begged us not to ever put them into “one of those places.”

I am so proud that IVY’s clients are at the very forefront of an industry that creates opportunities, challenges, and most of all freedom for seniors, allowing them to explore hobbies, interests, passions…the next chapter of their very full lives.

I feel reassured for my own future. Even more, I feel honored to be able to share the impactful stories about this paradigm shift in the world of senior housing. What we hear and see at our clients’ communities is fascinating and inspiring!

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Keeping up to date on new public relations strategies, online engagement tactics, and promotional tools is my passion.

With my hospitality background in marketing top Chicago restaurants and hotels, I was eager to bring fresh concepts and communication strategies to our clients and have really enjoyed learning various industries.

Our clients have such exciting and unique events and programs, which really makes it motivating for me to make the most of their content.  Results like increased sales leads, website visits and social media connections make everyday rewarding and interesting.

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I oversee, plan and implement projects and processes at IVY.  Often,  I am the conduit between our writers and designers, with printers, and other vendors to fulfill the marketing needs for our clients. I also manage media buys and coordinate production of advertisements.

Working for a flexible and fluid company that is constantly growing, changing and evolving is fun and rewarding. There is always something new to learn.

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My bio has a big blank in the beginning—Mom and Dad rescued me in Wisconsin, and no one really knows my origins. They were probably ruff. What matters though is where I am now, running IVY Marketing Group. There are humans here who think they’re in charge. In truth, they do actually have amazing experience in content marketing and public relations, but I’m super important and the center of attention. I mean, look at this face. Right? And I know I’m the top dog because honestly, I’m the only one allowed to sleep through staff meetings and eat things that people drop on the floor.

The fact is though that I truly love staying awake at staff meetings. Everyone talks and laughs and they’re always excited. That surprises me a little because it’s not like anyone has thrown a ball to play fetch or anything. But I guess what gets my pack of peoples’ tails wagging is their work and their clients. I don’t know what a website or a blog is, but I do know that my pack must be good at them because they’ve earned all sorts of awards for these and other things. My bed had to be moved because the framed certificates were taking up so much room. Despite the inconvenience, I’m proud of these awards!

I serve several important purposes at IVY. I always let Mom (and the world) know when the mailman is here. When people come into the office, just one (usually) quick non-invasive (usually) sniff, allows me to determine important characteristics…like if they had anything good for breakfast, own any pets (pet owners are the best!) or if they stepped in anything on the way in. (It’s sort of like me conducting a first job interview.) I generously share my tummy because I know people like to give it a good scratch. I always give kisses, whether one is feeling lonely or not. And I’m always happy to share someone’s meal, especially if they’re trying to lose weight. My pack describes me as being engaging, amusing, and entertaining. (When I hear a siren, I “sing” along and it makes them laugh.) NPR talks about the benefits of having a pet at the workplace. Studies show pets lower stress hormones and improve morale and productivity. I wholeheartedly agree that a dog in the workplace is the best thing since rawhide bones.

As for my pack of people at IVY…they are amazing and always make my tail wag!

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