One of the greatest benefits of using the faculty of the internet is the ease with which communication can take place. The message can be sent beyond borders and is not dependent on any unreliable factor. Businesses can expand their operations to a larger cluster of the audience by disseminating the message faster than ever. One of the major advantages is cost minimization, the use of technology can reach a larger audience in the shortest possible time at the least cost. The public exposure is a value proposition of social networks. Social Networks can enable the organization to improve their services because direct contact with consumers gives an insight to producers which can be used to develop future products and improve existing ones. Marketing campaigns aren’t easy to conduct and sometimes beyond the financial ability of the organization. The social media is a domain where consumers can effectively benefit the businesses by the marketing strategy of word of mouth referrals. A single tweet or a detailed comment on Facebook can influence other consumers who might decide to buy preferred products. Companies cannot undertake advertising budgets for every product they launch because a considerable amount of time and adequate resources are needed to make such campaign successful, however, social networks are easy to use, inexpensive when compared to mainstream media, and have a larger audience. A TV commercial or a newspaper advertisement might reach the local or regional audience but social media is a platform used across the globe so the message is sent to a much larger diversified audience. The modern forms of advertising include the use of Facebook and YouTube where businesses can get consumer feedback instantly and international audience is accessible. Once the social media marketing strategy is successful, the search engines also support the product by improving the ranking of the commodity. Social media allows the businesses to act instantly towards any industrial developments and voice their opinions which can be welcomed or criticized by the users of social networking sites signaling the business about the acceptance or denial of their perspectives. A mass media survey would take time for the collection and collation of data but with social media, the results can be generated in seconds and decisions can be taken instantly (Wiegand, n.d.). For businesses to conduct primary and secondary research would be a tedious and expensive process, the application of social media provides the opportunity to receive real-time feedback and results which are both cost effective and resourcefully optimal.
With the perks of using social networking sites, there are certain drawbacks to this method. If a social media team is not hired to look after the media platforms, there can be disgruntled customers or employees giving biased and negative opinions that might affect the brand image of the business resulting in loss of customers. A single negative opinion can turn out be viral resulting in devastating conditions for the business because people don’t research or authenticate before they share and spread anything (Sandilands, 2017). The biggest menace of this digital age is the erosion of privacy and vulnerability to cyber-attacks. While businesses might chalk out social network plans with a lot of planning and investment, a simple virus or breach of security can result in the loss of future and financial propositions. Some hackers might blackmail the businesses of unveiling their operational secrets in public for which ransoms may be demanded. Recently, HBO and Disney became victims of a cyber-attack which resulted in the loss of financial contracts of actors and upcoming episodes of various serials and movies. Another drawback of establishing social media platforms and making businesses depend on these networks is the difficulty with which customers’ trust can be acquired. Due to various fraudulent companies advertising their fake products on social media sites, consumers are often reluctant to test new companies for products. Unless the business has a well-established name and reputation, it can be difficult for novice entrepreneurs or business start-ups to capture and attract a larger segment of the market just through social media platforms. In recent times, McDonalds tweeted asking the customers about their service, most of the comments and replies were based on obesity, unhygienic conditions, and negative opinions that led to the removal of that tweet by McDonalds. Some opponents of inculcating social networks into business operations also emphasize that the results cannot be measured easily, it is nearly impossible to quantify the return on investment in marketing strategies that have been implemented on social media. In short, there is no appropriate measure to quantify how many likes or subscribers converted from potential to loyal customers of the business’s product.