Social Media Is Not Free

by Stacey Alexander on August 17, 2011

in Social Media

Post image for Social Media Is Not Free

You may have seen previous posts here on our blog about outsourcing social media. In case you missed it, here they are:

Outsourcing your Social Media

The benefits of using an agency for social media

The obstacle a lot of us in the agency business come across in social media is that there’s a view that it doesn’t need to be paid for. The platforms are free, so that must mean that social media is free. Well, guess what. It ain’t free. If you’re in it or you’re not, you’re paying for it. Whether it’s with dollars or time, you’re paying for it. And because it’s so big, and ever-evolving, if you’re not spending any money on it, you’re missing out.

Efficiency Costs Money

There are paid monitoring tools that are leaps and bounds above free ones. They don’t even compare. Say your company is called XYZ. Do you want every result for the letters XYZ on the internet? Do you want to spend the time it takes to sift through all that? Or do you want to pay for a tool that learns how to weed out the XYZs that aren’t your company for you so that you can focus on the actual conversation?

Agencies already know what we’re doing. Do you? How much time and resources are you going to use up before you get to the level we’ve already achieved? As we have all heard, time is money. Not just the money spent on the labor that’s figuring out how to use social media for business, but money not gained because the efficiency of using social media for business isn’t quite there yet.

Effectiveness Costs Money

From brand awareness to actual sales, it cost money to be effective in social media. It’s not enough to have a Facebook page if no one knows about it, or you don’t know how to cultivate it.

There are tools, like Facebook Advertising, that can let the people who are interested in your business know about your presence. As we in business know, advertising costs money. And if you want to do it effectively, you should probably have someone who knows what they’re doing take the reigns.

Cultivating your presence on a social media platform also costs money. Whether they’re in-house or an agency, you need someone who knows what they’re doing. If you’re dead-set on doing it yourself–and that’s not a bad thing–it’s going to cost you time and money to learn the things you need to know. An ineffective presence is a waste, and can be harmful to your business.

Paying For It

Earlier, I said that even if you’re not on it, you’re paying for it. Now, I’m going to shock a few people and go ahead and say that I don’t believe that every single business needs to be on social media. But a great many do. You see, if your brand or industry is being talked about online, you need to be there.

Those people are your potential customers and brand advocates. If you’re not there, you’re paying for it by missing out on them. Worse, you could be paying for it by not putting out a fire in the form of someone bad-mouthing you, and turning others away from your brand. Not really something you want to tell your bank account.

What are your thoughts on paying for social media?

Photo by dolphinsdock

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dean October 25, 2011 at 9:37 am

There’s always an opportunity cost or lost with activity. Social media is here to stay and is used heavily in consumer purchase. The majority of people who make purchases online read reviews of the product or service and is the majority of influence in that purchase decision. If a business is not participating in the social media revolution they are missing the opportunity. Is it a lack of knowledge or financial resources to get on-board the social media train? The way I see it for a business is to hire someone with the experience or learn it. A source for a social media course is at the University of San Francisco.


Simon Chappell February 1, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Very Nicely Written & Cheers For The Useful Info


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