Can Social Media Save Your Business Money?

Many businesses dive into social media without fully thinking through their decision because, after all, isn’t social media free? If your firm is one of these, don’t worry. You’re not alone. A lot of companies believe that the benefit of using social media is that it has no costs.

5 Common Social Media Expense Misconceptions

How many of these five common misconceptions surrounding social media expenses does your business believe?

  1. Social media platforms are free. While it’s true that setting up an individual or basic business account on most social media platforms is free, there are other expenses involved in using social media as part of your firm’s marketing and business functions. To tailor your company’s social media account and ensure that it’s integrated with your branding, requires creative resources.
  2. Social media encourages user-generated content so we don’t need to pay for content. Since social media feeds on content, your firm needs more than just consumer created content. Therefore you must produce strong content, with internal resources, agencies and/or freelancers. With expanded content needs, your organization will also require editorial support and copyediting. Further, before your business embraces user-generated content, understand you must allow the good, bad and ugly to appear on social media networks because if you edit out everything except the positive stuff the public will know. Even worse, they’ll use other platforms to broadcast the fact.
  3. Social media doesn’t require technology investment. Although social media platforms are generally free, additional technology support is often needed in terms of headcount, systems and/or software. At a minimum, regardless of whether your firm participates in the social media ecosystem or not, you need brand monitoring to track what’s being said about your company, your brands and your employees. If your firm uses social media to drive sales and/or respond to customer service questions, your social media interactions must be integrated with your current systems to track sales. Further, you must extend your analytics to measure your social media effectiveness. Along with these elements, tailored landing pages are needed to close and track the deal.
  4. Social media doesn’t need specialized professionals or additional training. Companies assume a Facebook savvy intern can handle their social media strategy. Yet an intern doesn’t have the deep company knowledge required to represent your firm. From a cost perspective, assess how much time your employees spend on social media to support your activities. Many firms overlook this expense since they’re paying the employees anyway. Further, your social media marketing may require different skills than you have internally. For example, your phone customer service representatives may not have the level of writing skills needed to interact on social media. Add to this the fact that your organization must establish social media guidelines to ensure employees know what they can and can’t do on social media as representative of your firm. Along with these social media guidelines, have a crisis management plan ready in case sentiment turns against your firm.
  5. Social media works without any other marketing. For social media to work effectively to achieve your business goals, it requires a marketing strategy and tactics that are integrated into your overall marketing plan. At a minimum, your marketing staff’s time and management are needed to let your prospects and customer know about your social media presence and activities.

Before starting social media activities, assess what’s needed in terms of marketing and resources to enable your social media strategies to stay on track and achieve your business goals.

Are there any other misconceptions that you’d add to this list? If so, please include them in the comment section below.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


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Photo credit: o5com via Flickr

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  • http://twitter.com/galactic Cristian Gonzales

    Nice piece Heidi.

    Additionally, on point 2—UGC isn’t easy to come by. Some brands think because so much content gets uploaded to YouTube every day that consumers are more than willing to do the same for them, but that’s hardly the case.

    • http://riversidemarketingstrategies.com/ Heidi Cohen

      Cristian– Great point! It’s the 90-9-1 ratio of content creators. Only the 1% create content and the 9% comment. Most of your audience passively consumes your content. They’re lurkers! Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • http://daddybydefault.com Craig Grella

    Great article Heidi. I’ve been looking into some freelance agencies for new content writers. Are there any that you would recommend or have experience with?

    • http://riversidemarketingstrategies.com/ Heidi Cohen

      Craig–Thank you! Finding content creators depends on what you’re looking to create, what level of experience and what you’re looking to spend. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • http://www.snaptech.com StePhen

    Great piece Heidi, this is the exact type of information we try to get across to our customers at Snaptech. It’s hard for companies, especially old-school thinkers, how to get the whole team on board. Most are thinking to just throw their social media presence to an intern, as you mentioned, when it’s actually more beneficial for an older, more knowledgeable person within the company, to do this job. We have a great radio show piece on this topic titled “How a Digital Marketing Agency Helps You Grow Your Business” at http://www.snaptech.com/radio-show-archives.asp

  • http://www.andymackjr.com Andy Mack Jr

    Really like this article, Heidi. I continue to be amazed what can be accomplished with social media, but the best yields come from a comprehensive marketing approach that pairs “traditional” media with social media. That means dollars have to be spent, but those dollars get stretched! For instance, increasing our reach with radio advertising, and a special event allowed us to partner with the station, giving them, and our socmed fanbase, something to get excited about. That amped up the quality of our content and interaction… and giving our marketing “legs”. Again, it was an imvestment of time, energy and money – all well spent. Thanks for putting it all up in lights.