Of the four Ps of the marketing mix, promotion can often be the most difficult to navigate. Do you purchase a banner ad or run a Twitter campaign? Focus on on-page SEO or getting links from influential bloggers?

Social media marketing can be an effective component of any marketing mix, but there are some pros and cons to consider when determining if it is right for your strategy.


It can help you reach new, wider audiences

Facebook and Twitter alone have more than 1.7 billion users worldwide. Participating in their conversations can help brands connect with people who are looking for their products or services.

It can be a valuable tool for spreading word of mouth

People love to share information online, especially deals, special events, entertainment and how-to tips. If consumers are happy with a brand, they’ll often say so, which helps to build credibility with new followers.

It can augment your other marketing efforts

You can use social media to promote websites, landing pages, content and events. Well-timed, well-crafted posts can bring in audiences who otherwise wouldn’t have found a product or service.

It can improve customer engagement

Social media gives people a casual forum in which to ask questions, address problems and share their experience of a brand. Friendly conversation and helpful feedback can create a sense of community, which in turn builds loyalty over time.

It can provide valuable market research

Brands can use social media to understand their audience better than ever before. Their demographic composition, desires, affinities, aversions and core beliefs can all be gleaned from information shared on social channels, and used to inform content, positioning and more.


It can be difficult to measure success and connect activities to business outcomes

Analytics must be tied to business goals in order to be useful. However, there is so much data available that it can be difficult to know if your campaigns are working. The long-term impact of engagement and brand awareness are particularly tough to measure and attribute to a dollar value.

It can highlight negative reviews and bad feedback

While people often turn to social media to praise a brand, they also use it to vent their frustration. Where previously people might have voiced their complaints to a small circle of friends, they now share their opinions with hundreds, if not hundreds of thousands, of people online.

However, it’s important not to let this deter you from using social media: your absence won’t stop people from posting negative comments, but it will prevent you from being able to address their comments and come to a resolution.

It can be difficult to monetize

Translating positive social media buzz into sales can be challenging. There are countless guides and services to help brands generate leads online, but the key point to remember is that social marketing is a long game: it takes patience, planning and flexibility.

It requires a dedicated resource

Brands need access to people who understand the ins and outs of social and analytics, which means either hiring an employee or a consultant, or allowing enough time in the work day to become well acquainted with the platforms and their tools.

In the end . . .

Brands need to allocate their resources where they will have the most impact on their business. Knowing that social media offers some exciting rewards, but requires patience, planning and dedication to yield results, will help you to determine the best ways to integrate it into your marketing efforts.