5 Risks of Relying on Social Media Marketing

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The recent brouhaha over Instragram’s policy changes brings into sharp relief the fact that marketing on social media entails a lot of dependence on the social media sites. Instagram’s users might not be in trouble right now, but do you remember the last cries of outrage over changes in Facebook’s policies?

Which brings me to the question: is it wise to focus your marketing efforts primarily on social media?

I’m not advocating ignoring social media (of course). But realize this: you don’t control Facebook or Twitter or Google Plus. Your most important content should be on your own site, whether it’s in the form of blog posts, FAQs, a photo gallery, or video tutorials.

Here are five reasons why.

Risk of policy changes

Facebook’s policies seem to change every few months. Pinterest has copyright issues.

But on your site: you make the rules. You can outline your privacy policy and terms of service and commenting or community guidelines. You can emphasize that you own all the content on the site. You’re less likely to open yourself up to legal issues unless you’re actually doing something fraudulent.

Very short lifetime

Content marketing is a slow and involved process, and it takes time for results to show up. on a social media platform like Facebook or (especially)Twitter , older posts are irrelevant — very unlikely to show up in search results and difficult for anyone to find unless (or even if) they know exactly what they’re looking for.

But older blog posts keep getting you hits from search, if you’ve got the SEO right. And you can easily highlight them on your blog. Website pages don’t get covered up by newer website pages (if you’ve set up the navigation properly) and you can continually update the content to keep them fresh.

Non-existent or unreliable search capabilities

A website search can easily lead your user to the content they’re looking for — while social media sites have notoriously ineffective search capabilities.

No control over presentation or design

You can only do so much with your Facebook page, Twitter profile or LinkedIn company page — you can only optimize these within the existing layout. And any future changes to that design/template are also out of your control.

Shifting customer preferences

MySpace and Orkut were big at one point but have faded now. Today your customers are on Facebook or Twitter, but tomorrow they might move on to a different platform. You can’t transfer your content or goodwill from one social media platform to another.

As Unmana mentioned in her last post, blogging has many advantages that public social media platforms don’t offer. You don’t want to be leaving your business at the mercy of a free platform. If you want control, it’s always good to pay for the service/product you want.

Use social media platforms to engage with customers, listen to their interests and concerns, and answer queries, but house your most important content on your website. Birthday celebration photos may go only to Facebook, but if you are announcing a new addition to your management team, make a blog post too. Some Twitter conversations could very well be turned into blog posts or FAQs on your website.

What do you think: does your marketing rely too heavily on social media? If Facebook shut down tomorrow, how much would it impact your business?

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About Nilesh

Nilesh has worked in the IT industry for nine years, and is both a PMP and an MBA in marketing. He has worked in and with small businesses, managing projects, leading teams, and improving business processes.At Markitty, Nilesh translates requirements into tasks and timelines. He jumps into whatever is needed, whether it’s marketing, design, or technical architecture. He also keeps the others sane with his intermittent wisecracking.

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