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The pro and cons of social networking. Is it worth it?

Social networking has made a major impact on business. New departments and systems have been developed and are continuously improved to keep up with the trends in social networking. However, social networking comes with many pros and cons, so it is important to have a full picture in order to maximise its benefits. We will focus on some of the more business oriented pros and cons in this article:

Pros

  • Social networking sites spread information faster than any other media. This is good for business, especially upstart companies. It makes marketing far easier, because you can reach a wider audience quicker and on a more personal basis.
  • Social media helps empower businesswomen. Previously disadvantaged members of the business community can legitimately enjoy a share of the market if they can efficiently and effectively captivate their target audience. Andiswa A. Kokie is a one young woman running a successful business via social media. Her business is powered by Facebook. She has been running her business for over two years now.
  • Social media sites help employers find employees and job-seekers find work by effectively and synergistically connecting the right matches. This has been a major benefit of social media and the possibilities it opens up. Websites like LinkedIn have created professional social media platforms where professionals meet and engage.

Cons

  • Social media unfortunately also enables the spread of unreliable and false information. The most apparent and widely used con about social media is how it is a virulent platform for spreading unverified and often misinterpreted or even prejudiced information. The term ‘viral’ is synonymous with the tremendously wide reach of the sites. KFC can attest to this assertion. Media24 published an article on how social media can negatively affect business, and KFC was the case story. The story created a lot of negative publicity for the fast food giant. It was not an easy story for the company’s PR team to handle. Fortunately, such misuse of social media platforms is also open to litigation in the courts of law, thereby offering a means of curtailing such occurrences.
  • Social networking sites can entice people to ‘waste’ time. This is a major drawback whether at home or in the office, especially when it comes to staff spending their time checking their statuses repetitively. Companies can of course monitor such activity if done on the business’ network.
  • Social networking sites advertising practices may constitute an invasion of privacy. It has become a norm for most advertising to be based on what the individual is ‘interested’ in. This interest is based on analyses of computer programs that monitor a person’s private searches and then funnels similar ads to a person’s social media page and/or email. These emails become spam and are mostly never looked at. Email accounts come with spam folders to filter the sheer amount of invasive email ads coming through.

Like any system the use of social media can be managed professionally and with great success. The fact that there are ways to curtail most of the cons also reinforces the necessity for businesses to utilise social media to the fullest extent, by capitalising on the substantial benefits.

Brought to you by the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC).

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