As a technology, social media has been a revelation for individuals and businesses alike. From a technology management perspective, it has also produced a lot of wasted man-hours. Today, we will look at the pros and cons of social media for the small and medium-sized business, and how to turn it’s use into a net-positive for your company.
If a business owner considered the beneficial characteristics of social media for their business, it wouldn’t take long to ascertain that the main draw of the technology is that the people that buy the product or service (or would buy it) are on social media. No matter what type of advertising the organization has done up until now, having access to the people that would be interested in the offerings is a massive win. With over 50 percent of adults actively using multiple social media sites, any business has an opportunity to access their customer’s attention.
Another benefit to the use of social media is the nature of social media itself. Being able to understand what people like/dislike, products they will/won’t buy, and services they will/won’t subscribe to can help an organization alter their offerings to make them more attractive; or, at the very least, give marketers a strategy about how to go about presenting their offerings on social media.
Finally, while social media is free, per say, businesses that use it typically pay to advertise or promote the content they share. It gives any business the ability to target their marketing investments to touch the people that would most likely be interested in a product or service. This provides a litany of benefits including:
– Knowledge about customers/prospects
– Interaction with customers/prospects
– Increased traffic to a company website or store
– Increased sales leads (and therefore increased sales)
– Promotion of a business’ authority
– Promotion of a business’ willingness to help others
– And many more
While this technology is largely divisive for individuals, it only serves to benefit the modern business.
The use of social media is not all good for a business, however. While it does give the business a platform to interact with customers, customers are still people and some of them will frustrate marketers. What’s worse is that since social media is constantly evolving, it is not always easy to ascertain whether or not the practices in use are working until they do.
Another problem with social media is that tracking its ROI takes a lot of time. The idea is to be more accessible by the average customer, but since this theory only provides a business with marginal success most of the time, they have to be able to measure how well their social media investments are tracking. If a business lacks a concrete strategy in which to use the platform, it may see their return off their social media investments plummet, which often leads to social media neglect. With 92 percent of millennials expecting every business to have a Facebook presence, not having one can actually be a major problem.
Finally, the worst part of social media for any business is the cost they see in a loss of productivity. Over three-quarters of all SMB employees use social media. That is a massive number. If the average user spends 15-to-30 minutes a day looking at their social accounts, whether that be scrolling down their Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram walls, or watching a funny video on YouTube, they are costing their companies a lot of money. Furthermore, nearly one-third of U.S.-based SMBs have had to deal with malware propagated via social media.
Today, there are two schools of thought on the distraction. One is that since everyone uses social media, that some businesses have begun to give their staff social media breaks, where they are allowed to do what they have to do online. The other, and much more prevalent view is that using social sites on company time is akin to theft. From the employer’s perspective, even if their employees only use social media for five minutes – that five minutes multiplied over 200+ working days per year is a whole lot of distraction. With more and more studies showing that it takes time after being distracted to get focused again, that’s a lot of time and potential cost incurred by the company for something seemingly minor. If this theory is to be believed, then employees are costing companies thousands or even millions of dollars every year, by just being on social media.
How to Manage Social Media Use
Obviously, the people that manage and use your company’s social media need to have access to it. Since it is a big portion of these people’s jobs, and important to your business’ online success, blocking social media across the network isn’t an option. If you are a business owner that believes you’re missing out on significant revenue as a result of your workers addiction to social media sites, you have options.
You can try and implement a soft ban, which entails not allowing these sites access on any company-owned device. This would still allow your staff to utilize their personal devices to use their social sites. This could reduce the amount of distraction on your team.
Another option would be to put a complete ban on social media (except for essential employees). While this would be the most effective at avoiding wasteful social media-related behavior, it could also backfire on you. Many of today’s workers don’t feel complete without access to their social accounts and would quickly become disgruntled if they had access to social media one day, and had it blocked the next. This strategy is one that may work best in a workplace that has a limited amount of workers, since you would probably be more apt to be involved in your company’s social media use.
Whichever strategy you choose, you will need technology that allows you to control website access. A content filtering solution allows IT administrators to whitelist and blacklist websites per user, giving any organization the ability to control what their staff can access and what they can’t. For more information about acquiring a content filtering solution, or any other software solution that can help your business be more profitable, contact the team at Midnight Blue today at 412.342.3800 or click here.