How Social Media Can Help or Harm a Business

Social media and social networking sites are becoming more and more relevant, which is why many businesses and organizations are trying to take advantage of them for advertising and viral marketing.

However, it is important for these businesses to understand that while there are a number of benefits associated with social media, it needs to be managed properly or it can lead to problems and actually do harm.

This is why companies and other organizations should do research and create a comprehensive plan of action before entering the social networking arena to ensure that it provides the expected results.

Benefits of Social Media

Companies that are active on social media sites are able to attract more customers, use it as an inexpensive method of advertising and customer outreach and even improve search engine rankings for their websites.

Studies have shown that people are more likely to do business with companies that are active on the Internet and social media because it offers consumers an easy method of contact. Additionally, most companies that are active on social networking sites have more information about their products and services online, allowing people to do research before they buy.

Additionally, outside of the cost of the time that it takes to create social media advertising plans, posting advertising on social media profiles is free. While there is a cost to put advertisements on social media sites, there is no charge to post coupons, sales and merchandising information to a company’s social media feed.

Along with the benefits of free advertising and attracting more customers, social media activity is now also a part of search engine ranking algorithms, meaning that being a part of social media networks can also help SEO practices.

Drawbacks of Social Media

There is no question that businesses that are a part of social networking sites have a lot to gain for very little in terms of time or capital. However, it is important to understand that social networking sites are not simply free advertising portals. When companies accept customers as “fans” and “friends,” they are also allowing consumers to be able to interact with them, and these interactions are visible to the public.

What this means is that for companies to not end up being negatively affected by social media posts, they need to be very proactive about responding to customers and ensuring that their customer service is outstanding. There are a number of companies that have been bombarded by angry customers on their social media profiles due to a bad customer experience or a choice made by a business.

If businesses do not respond appropriately to these charges, it only creates bad publicity that appears right on a company’s own social media profile page.

How To Manage Social Media

For companies and organizations to be able to take advantage of all that social media has to offer without being burned by posts from unhappy customers, companies need to understand that social media is a two way street.

Businesses that are active on social media sites will need to have a group of people dedicated to dealing with customer service through these sites and responding to both positive and negative feedback. In addition to preventing negative comments from creating a bad impression, actively responding to complaints can actually improve a company’s image.

One of the reasons that people choose businesses that are active on the Internet and social media over those that are not is because many people now prefer dealing with customer service over the Internet.

Since it can be done from anywhere and people do not have to wait in line or on hold in a phone queue, it is a preferred method of dealing with problems and queries. Companies that use these sites as an advertising method and as a customer service option will reap the most benefits from social networking.

About the Author: This guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger and editor of She welcomes your comments at her email Id: – jdebra84 @

Photo credit: Ambrozjo


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  1. Social media are free venues to advertise and sell our products, so we must grab that opportunity. You’re right that dealing with people is also easier online, so is ordering and selling goods.

    Interesting post. Thanks.

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