Many C-Level Execs haven’t grasped the fact that social media may be free but there are still significant costs involved.
Time is money, right? We’ve all heard that expression so often that we take it for granted. Which is a shame, because now more than even in media it’s never rang truer. Unfortunately, many C – Level folks believe social is free so, they don’t grasp why it’s consuming so much of their media budget.
While the physical posting of social media is “free” there are two elements that can have considerable costs. The cost of boosting posts and the labor exerted on posting social well.
Social sites are constantly revamping their algorithms. In nearly all cases they claim it’s for their users benefit but in the end it’s always good for their bottom line. These algorithms make it harder for a person, regional or mid- market company to cut through all the social noise and deliver their message to the masses. Even companies with thousands or millions of followers only have a handful of followers reached without paying the social sites to boost their posts.
A boost is a nice way of saying, “pay me to show it”. The more followers and perspective followers a company wants to reach by posting, the greater the expense. It’s that simple. Since an active company should post often this can add up over time.
The second and larger costs is the cost of labor to implement a meaningful well -structured social campaign. This not only takes considerable time but is a daily cost because if you aren’t current and actively engaging with your followers then your company will be better off not doing social media at all.
Social media is fast, current and it’s frequent. If any of these elements aren’t present your company isn’t relevant. And, if you aren’t relevant than you’re better off not wasting a dime on the medium. It’s not your fault, it’s the way the tech giants designed it and it’s working quite well for them. I’ve coined a phrase for this circumstance, “If you quit, you’re not legit”! If you’re not legit than your company is better off having no reputation than a sour one.
Posting, commenting, sharing and finding the appropriate topics to converse over with your followers is time consuming. It doesn’t take minutes but rather hours every day to do it correctly. Over time, week after week, month after month this can really add up.
Unfortunately, C Levels have no problem grasping the cost of a radio or TV ad. It’s something tangible. They can hear and see it. Printing a billboard slick or a magazine ad they understand also, however paying for social media often just doesn’t compute.
As regional and mid-market companies add social to their media arsenal, they need to realize two things. First, it’s media, make no mistake about that. Secondly, it’s not free.
C Levels need to budget appropriately to reflect the value social media means to their company and the costs incurred to connect with followers or enlist more followers.
National companies have entire teams and divisions dedicated to conquering the social mountain, but many regional companies don’t want the additional personnel costs. They subcontract that duty to an agency, which in many instances is the correct play but still can’t admit it’s an advertising expense.
As regional companies activate more social into their media planning, they need to remember two very important facts. It’s called “Social Media” and it’s not free!