The Negative Effects that Social Media Can Have on Businesses

Although social media started as a form of entertainment and connection between people, businesses and other organizations quickly realized the reach that apps like Facebook or Twitter could provide. Today, social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools for both small and large businesses. It’s estimated that about 90% of all U.S. businesses use social media to find and retain customers.


However, there are a few drawbacks that could affect your business when used as part of your marketing strategy. These adverse effects range from minimal to disastrous. The good news is that you can remedy most of the potential negatives, as long as you are aware of them.


Before we dive into a few of the adverse effects of social media and how to dodge them, let’s review some of the benefits of including it as part of your business’s marketing strategy.

Pros of Social Media Marketing for Your Business

Did you know that there are literally thousands of social media platforms for business? Some of the most popular platforms include Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. All of these platforms can be used to find customers, strengthen loyalty, and even increase engagement between you and your buyers. Compared to traditional forms of marketing, social media boosts conversion rates, which can help you see a more significant return on investment from day one of use.


Social media marketing is an excellent option for small businesses and cost-conscious owners, too. Creating a profile for your business on some social media sites is free of charge. You can usually send direct messages without incurring any fees as well. Marketers generally agree that you can reach an audience of 2,000 people with a $75 social networking budget. The same reach in broadcast would run you about $150, and around $900 if you used a direct mail campaign.


The benefits of social media are many. However, it’s critical that you understand the potential pitfalls and how to keep your company safe. Here are a few of the most common adverse effects of social media.

Gathering Useless Data

Digital marketing can produce many data points. But if you have no way to track and trend the data for information about your customers, it’s useless and can even feel a little overwhelming. Data gathered on social media might include basic information like the customer’s name or address. However, specific platforms may be able to give you much more. Many social media platforms now offer predictive analytics to help you make better decisions about your customers and marketing dollars.


Predictive analytics uses real-time and historical data to predict outcomes and help you make informed decisions about your future. In other words, data points about your customers can help you create effective marketing campaigns and promotional events. It can also help you develop new products or services based on the needs of the customers you have and those you want to connect with in the future. You can also use predictive analytics when choosing new locations for a brick-and-mortar store or when developing tools that increase your efficiencies when producing goods. The realm of possibilities with predictive analytics is limitless.

Employees Becoming the Brand

Social media marketing often relies on employees to share stories and events to relay information about your brand and company culture. For some employees, this can be invaluable. However, with other employees, you may end up having to run interference.


Before you connect with your staff online, be sure to set some ground rules. Educate staff to never share company matters online without permission. Provide each staff member with a thorough list of the do's and don’ts of social media. Include your objectives for social media posts so that you have some control over the content that’s associated with your brand.

Legal Issues on the Horizon

When you start looking into a few of the social media concerns for businesses, you are bound to find information about possible legal problems. When you offer products through social media and someone accepts them, you could be under a legally binding contract with the customer, even if nothing is in writing. Before you start selling through any social media outlets, make sure that you’re fully prepared to honor any sales. They could be legally binding.


Social media platforms often lend themselves to users expressing their opinions. If you have satisfied customers, this can be a good thing. However, if angry or dissatisfied customers takes to social media, it could have dire consequences for your company. Create a strategy for handling unhappy customers. Consider reaching out to them to gain more insight into where the relationship went wrong and other ways to rectify the situation.


Social media marketing can benefit your company in many ways. Know the pros and cons, and find useful tools for social media strategy creation to ensure you’re on the right track.