Is Social Media a Blessing or a Curse for Business Leaders?
Where would the world be today without social media? Well, for one, we wouldn't be glued to our devices 24/7.
The pros and cons of social media manifest in so many ways, and it has a separate set of pros and cons for a particular group of people: Business leaders. As traditional marketing begins to lose traction, particularly with Millennials and Generation Z, businesses are pivoting their advertising methods, especially toward social media.
Social media is a blessing in raising brand awareness, increasing brand engagement, and acquiring new customers. However, business leaders are still human beings who risk falling into the dangerous clutches of social media. So, is a social media strategy the right tool for your business? Let's look at what makes social media a paradoxical blessing and curse.
BLESSING: Authenticity Avenue
One of the primary elements that drive brand awareness today is personal branding, especially now that an estimated 4.2 billion people have social media accounts. For instance, Elon Musk's brand depends on his consistent use of social media – to the point that even a single tweet from him will drive the global market.
Right now, social media is being used for business branding and as a benefit to society. Social media today makes one aware of what is happening worldwide and the relevant issues, from climate change to gender equality or mental health awareness. Social media has also been used to break social stigmas, with prominent personalities using various platforms to speak openly about the issues that affect them personally and encourage others to speak out.
The role of social media in the corporate world is a platform that enables employees and workplace leaders to connect. Research by Brunswick Group discovered that employees choose to work for an employer who uses social media by more than a 3:1 ratio.
Authenticity is crucial because leaders use social media to give others a glimpse of their human nature, build trust, and communicate fairly. Subsequently, their messages resonate with employees and make them feel more emotionally engaged and connected to the company.
CURSE: Mental Health Consequences
Some people may say that social media is a technological paradox. It helps us connect and address issues that were once considered controversial. But on the other hand, its risky side is characterized by increased mental health issues, social comparison, and a lack of boundaries.
There will always be emotional pressure to remain engaged in social media for employees and workplace leaders. For some people, it could be the feeling of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and a competitive drive to refresh their social media feed every few hours or even minutes. For leaders, it could build from internal pressure to keep up their public profile.
And then, there is the more extreme side of social media that stems from a clinical perspective, potentially aggravating already-present anxiety or depression. A study from 2018 (https://guilfordjournals.com/doi/10.1521/jscp.2018.37.10.751) discovered that people experience fewer symptoms of depression and loneliness after spending less time on social media.
Regarding comparison as the thief of joy, social media is its getaway driver. The global platform continues to gain some notoriety for establishing a set of unattainable, perhaps even impossible, expectations due to individuals posting a filtered version of their seemingly perfect lives. It is crucial to be conscious of how society makes you feel, whether you are an employee or a workplace leader. If you find it quite bothersome, especially to your anxiety, stress, or fear of uncertainty, then do not sacrifice your well-being for professional benefits.
BLESSING: Community Building
A persistent aim of social media is to connect people and build communities online. From a corporate perspective, when people feel accepted, comfortable, and safe as a part of your community, they are more likely to spread the word and recommend your brand to others. This maintains your business cycle by bringing in new leads that will eventually become loyal customers, even ambassadors, who will continue to refer your business.
Community building through social media inspires others to gain awareness, tell their stories, or take action for a particular cause. It could also be a source of inspiration for you as social media always provides a whole new pool of ideas you can build on and collaborate with your community members.
CURSE: Possible Negative Feedback
One of the dark sides of social media is the intense, non-stop exposure to people who may or may not intend to come across or take a look at your business. Due to the ease of access to the internet, some people constantly seek to harm someone's reputation. The likelihood of an attack is higher if your company is new or is just getting off the ground. Anyone can quickly write critical remarks about your company because commenting or engaging is simple.
Social media responses to public criticism must be handled delicately. If your business approaches the problem incorrectly, the consequences could be publicly disseminated and result in a reaction from your clientele. Before engaging with customers about online remarks they have posted, it helps to be aware of the risks and the potential rewards.
As the world progresses daily, social media shows no signs of disappearing and will continue to play a significant role in how business is done, from building and marketing brands, recruiting fresh talent, and connecting communities. If you are a workplace leader, always remember the responsibility of promoting positive social media usage practices that can protect the health of your business, your employees, and yourself. This course of action increases the possibility of the blessings outweighing the curses in the future.