Social Media has experienced a huge boom in the last decade. It is a side of the internet that will never die, and businesses can take advantage of that. It is a platform to represent yourself individually or commercially, make new connections, and grow along with your friends or your customers. Social Media, for small businesses especially, is really effective. Why? Let’s find out the ‘why’ with understanding the advantages and disadvantages of social media for small businesses in South Africa.
Social Media at a Glance
When we say ‘Social Media’, what comes to your mind? That’s right! Mainly it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and LinkedIn. However, there are many social media channels out there. There are more than 100 social media channels out there, each catering to a different type of audience (source: Influencer Marketing Hub).
Social Media has become an important part of our daily lives; as if it is being a basic necessity of modern human lives. An average South African spends around 2-3 hours on social media every day (and we don’t even realise it!). Social media is powerful, it’s dynamic, it caters to your entertainment and other intellectual needs. Makes sense, right?
Now, thinking from a commercial point of view, this is exactly why you would choose a social media channel. Because it is just so good at doing its job at retaining the audience and keeping them engaged. You should choose a social media platform where the majority of your target audience is at. That’s where you start your social media representation journey. But before you begin, you should be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of using social media channels for small businesses in South Africa.
Advantages of Social Media for Small Businesses in South Africa.
1. Direct real-time communication with customers.
This is one of the best advantages of using a social media front for small businesses. Having a personal touch to your business can go a long way in building a solid customer base. Customers may come to you in private or public on the channel to express their gratitude, concerns. You may address them or show gratitude in return. Having personalised relationships with your customers can help build a loyal and solid customer base. Say goodbye to writing customer support emails, say hello to quick-chatting with the brand you love, thanks to social media.
This especially works wonders for small and medium businesses in South Africa.
2. Assistance with improving your brand identity.
Social Media helps with improving your brand identity in the industry. The startup cost for running a social media channel is free and you can dish out tons of organic content for your audience. High-quality engaging content will surely grab the attention of existing audiences as well as new ones. This chain overall will go a long way to improving your brand identity on the internet. Better brand identity and recognition mean more customers — and the cycle goes on.
3. Unlimited Organic Content.
Organic content refers to the content you post for free on your social media channel. Usually, the organic reach is low and it depends on how the audience interacts with your social media channel on average. This is why creating and providing flawless, catchy content that may interest your customers better with your business. Having a better organic reach means your social media channel is really doing well and your content strategy is working. All the popular social media channels let you post organic content unlimited, making it convenient for small businesses to spread their voice. In addition to that, that one quality post may give you the break of a lifetime.
4. A chance to go Viral.
Every netizen in South Africa knows about what viral content is. Every content maker on social media wants their content to go viral at some point as it massively boosts brand recognition, brings in revenue, and builds up a massive audience base. Businesses are no exception to this. However, to go viral, one has to depend on algorithms and luck for quite a while. How does the algorithm work is a mystery to us all. But as a general rule, to increase the chances of getting your content viral, make sure your post is trendy, unique, and provides something refreshing and entertaining to the audience.
5. Taking advantage of social media paid advertising platforms.
As mentioned previously, social media organic content generally has a low reach. But there’s a paid solution to that: use a social media advertising platform! It is a completely doable option for small businesses as well. With a small fee, you can advertise your business on the social media platform with goals such as
- driving traffic to your website
- gaining followers on your social media website
- promoting a specific service or products
- getting more views on your videos
and much more. Social media has evolved quite well in the past decade. You have great freedom to customise the ad as you see fit. Also, before launching an advertising campaign on these platforms, the platform will show you statistics about the money you will spend, the number of audiences your ad will be shown to people, and so on.
Disadvantages of Social Media for Small Businesses in South Africa.
1. The amount of dedication required is high.
Social media posting requires a lot of dedication and research in order to make this strategy doable. So, while this strategy may cost you nothing, it will definitely cost a lot of time. Not having a dedicated social media team at your disposal for such tasks may prove difficult for you to keep up. So of course, while the actual strategy is free, the manpower and their expertise come at a cost.
However, don’t sweat it too much! As a small business, although you may struggle with keeping up your posting frequency, you can manage with alternate day posting. As long as your content is engaging, and if it doesn’t eat too much of your business time for this, then the strategy is doable enough for you.
2. Vulnerable to getting negative fame on social media.
And sometimes, it may not be even your fault. The ease of accessibility with your business through social media may attract trolls too, who do nothing but waste your time. Other cases include using a social media trend wrongly, using misleading content to attract customers, downright scamming people, or mistreating your customers.
This is why having an ethical customer practice is essential for your business. Besides that, when posting content on your channel, make sure that the content is original, verified, and accurate. Remember, mistakes happen regardless of all the precautions. But when that happens, make sure you be humble in such situations and send out apologies wherever necessary. It will definitely help!
3. There are no immediate results.
Whether it is an organic or paid social media strategy, there are no immediate results. Once you plant the seed, you have to be consistent with its care as you watch it grow, right? Social media is similar to that aspect. Hence, businesses should consider whether they are willing to invest their time in social media or not. It may seem simple and quick on the surface (mainly lured in by the viral content), but it does take a lot of time to grow.
So, if you are ready to invest in a social media channel for your business, make sure you do your research and planning in advance. Besides, getting expert opinions on the same will help your decision better as well.
Running a social media channel for a business is no easy task. Hence, it is necessary to understand the advantages and disadvantages of social media for small businesses.
However, if you have further questions regarding this topic, please feel free to contact us. Digital Lime Green is a website design and social media management agency in Cape Town, South Africa. Not only will we provide our expertise on the matter but we also can provide social media services for your business. Take a look at our service page or connect with us today.