Social Media is NOT Free
The old saying, “Time is Money”, has not lost is meaning. Yet we find it can be very easy to forget its truth.
As small businesses look to market their company on social media sites in a way to generate more customers, many are forgetting “time is money”. Let’s be clear here. Using social media as one of your avenues to promote your business is an absolute wonderful thing. Brand awareness is the primary benefit and can be achieved (positively or negatively) through social media. But what cannot be ignored is the length of time it takes to create content, engage with fans, update the sites and analyze the results of efforts in running a campaign. What is a free up front endeavor can equate to several hundred to a couple of thousand dollars in labor hours alone per month.
Most of us understand the inherent benefit to using sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +, Tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest and other sites. The ability to discuss your products or services in a non-intrusive manner 24 hours a day is not only convenient for many potential customers, but it has a way of allowing them to strategically make good decisions without feeling pressured into a sale.
Have you noticed the articles featuring Fortune 500 companies are no longer saying social media is an economical way to promote their business? Instead you see them mentioning how they are increasing their “spend”. It is understood that beyond the subscription to tools to help monitor and expose their brand, graphics, videos and applications to incorporate with the user interactive experience, there are costs associated with man hours. Depending on how much of these resources are being utilized, it is easy to see, as with most aspects of marketing a business, social media is not cheap.
Yes, these large companies will be shifting their budget from advertising firms to social media ones. This shows the importance of not skipping out on playing in this arena. It also demonstrates their understanding of time versus value when it comes to contracting or using their internal staff. But, the key thing not to miss with these reports is that the “budget” is shifting. You are not finding statements saying budgets are going to decrease over the next year or two because we all see how it will be increasing as people incorporate this medium into their daily lives.
Whether you’re a large, medium or small organization, we can all agree social media is a good thing and is not going anywhere soon. Even with the shifting taking place it takes time to develop these plans to expand their exposure to the public through new and existing avenues. And we just can’t say it enough, time is money.
Like all of your options in marketing your business, a budget and plan must be set to help ensure your return on investment is met. Therefore, when making your evaluation as to how much time to invest in social media, consider the following:
- The amount of time you have budgeted equates to dollars leaving your business through labor costs.
- Does this replace or add to your operating and advertising expenses?
- Monthly costs for a tool to help manage and save you time (which equates to saving you money).
- Define the audiences representing your organization to ensure you’re directing time (dollars) in the appropriate direction.
Do a simple ROI formula to see how much your social media efforts are costing you. Simply calculate the percentage of your overall labor hours to converted leads and then you’ll have an idea on how much your social media is worth the investment. Just remember, social media is not free.
We would love to hear from you on this topic. How much does your business invest in social media per month? Will your spend increase this year? What tools are you using to keep costs under control?
Above Promotions is a full service publicity, marketing and promotions company, founded with the purpose to serve an array of clients that are looking to expand their presence in the marketplace. From a local to international market, Above Promotions Company can provide the exposure that goes above your expectations. Visit www.abovepromotions.com today.
- In New Survey, Small Businesses Report Strong Social Media Marketing Usage (community.constantcontact.com)