Social media, when used correctly, is an advantage to those of us in the sales and customer service field. We talked about some of those advantages last time and will look at specific ways it can be an advantage. As with everything, there are disadvantages as well.
Although social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are free, they are going to cost some money to operate. Most companies have at least one, if not more, person who is responsible for maintaining those sites. In order to be effective, these sites must be kept up to date and that takes time.
It is possible to train your existing staff to maintain your social media sites but that will require additional training which again, will be an added expense. In the end, the benefits of social media will hopefully outweigh the expenditures, but there are no guarantees.
If you send out a flyer that says, “Bring this flyer in and receive 10% off your next purchase,” it is easy to track if that technique is working or not. That’s not always the case with social media.
It’s very hard to track how many people are coming into your business and buying because they saw one of your posts on Twitter. It would be helpful to sales managers if that information was easier to track, because then they could increase or decrease the time they spend on social media. The problem is that we live in a social media world meaning you almost must use it, whether it’s working or not. The biggest disadvantage, though, is it simply takes away from engaging with customers. Business is now done via a lap top or smart phone, and there is never any human interaction. In many cases, that works, and everyone walks away happy.
However, when the customer is not happy, it’s very possible that the company or salesperson never knows, and the customer is lost forever. That’s why it is important that you use social media to get your company’s name out or to announce sales/specials, and not for pushing sales.
In short, use social media to get the perspective customers into the store and then use personal interaction to close the deal. Social media is a tool, but it should never take the place of the face-to-face meeting.