The Price of Social Media. It’s Not Free.
That is very true. Accounts on almost all of the major social networks are completely free to set-up. They will never ask for a credit card or a PayPal account. They ask for nothing but information in return.
Wait. That is not entirely true. They do ask for something. They ask for time. Time to fill out your profile. Time to create that page. Time to post interesting information and updates. Time to respond to your family, friends, and clients. Oh, and did I mention the time to find all those great articles that you are sharing on Twitter and Facebook?
They ask us to spend our time. But that’s free, right?
Or is it?
Social media accounts may be free to start, but there are many actual and hidden costs to establishing a presence within social media. It’s important to know what some of these will be, before you or your brand begin.
Within your company, who is responsible for your social media? Or are you the social media department? Either way, the hours you spend on social media is time taken away from other aspects of your company, whether it be speaking with new clients or ordering goods to sell.
And, as all of the literature suggests, you should have a landing page within Facebook, as it increases engagement considerably, and this may be the last time your “fans” directly visit your page. Not only do the applications to use cost money, ranging from $5 to $30 per month, but what about the time it takes to create the landing page. And the learning curve? If you’ve never done it before, it could take hours just to figure out how to create the landing page. Then you need to create it.
If you are creating these Facebook pages yourself, then you are not tending to any other aspects of your business. Your time is money.
If you have someone within the company handling this, what is their hourly rate? Their time is certainly money. Either way, setting up your accounts will take time, which relates to an hourly rate.
Now that you’ve set up these accounts, do you just sit back? If you build it, will they come? Unfortunately, the answer is no. You need to tend to these accounts. You need to find great articles to share. You need to engage with your clients and customers. The time you’ll invest will vary from a few minutes per day to hours per week, depending on your social strategy. (You do have one, don’t you? After all,Saying You are on Facebook Does Not a Social Strategy Make.)
Now that you are active on social media, you are beginning to realize that you will also need to utilize their advertising engines, something you hadn’t thought of before, while thinking this would all be “free”. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all offer their own brand of advertising, whether it be ads or sponsored stories, to bring your message to your specific customer. And all of these ads cost money, whether it be per impression or per click, they will all cost, and you will need to set a budget for these ads, that very well may be above and beyond your standard advertising budget.
So, in the end, is it worth the cost? That is only something you, as the business owner, can decide. I would only ask, “Can you afford not to?”
What other costs to social media have you found? Share with me.
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