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Social Media Is Not Free

One of the biggest marketing myths of our time is that social media is free. If you are one of the many people running a business under this assumption, then I am sorry for what I am about to say.

Let’s ignore native advertising for now and just look at organic social media campaigns (those that don’t involve advertising funds leaving your account). These still involve a large investment of one of your most valuable resources – time.

The time it takes to plan and execute is just the beginning. Much of your time is most likely going to be spent learning about different social media platforms, researching communication tactics, teaching yourself online marketing strategy, keeping up with the latest updates, testing ideas and analysing the results. Then, of course, there’s monitoring conversations and participating in discussions.

Businesses fail because they are under the illusion that social media requires no real investment

Many businesses often start by saying: “let’s have a go at this social media and get so-and-so to do it alongside all his/her other tasks.” After a month or so, they draw the conclusion that social media doesn’t work for them. These businesses assume that the problem is social media and not the lack of strategy, planning, experience or systems. Most importantly, they fail because they are under the illusion that social media requires no real investment.

The desire to see how things go before investing too much is understandable, but unrealistic. Social media should be treated like any other form of marketing and PR, with a slice of the budget and integrated systems in place to ensure success.

While we’re on the subject of investing in social media, there is also a need to consider native advertising. Organic reach is on the decline and social networks are increasingly pushing businesses towards sponsored updates. But that’s an article for another time!

Are you guilty of not dedicating enough resources to social media?

Bethany Carter,  February 3, 2015

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