Myth: Social Media is Free

December 29th, 2016

social-media-is-free-2While it’s free to set up social accounts, that’s where the free-ness of social media ends. Just having social media accounts doesn’t do you any good. You have to maintain a worthwhile presence that reaches and engages with your audience. And that takes plenty of both time and money. Here’s the nature of the game today:

Create Content Worth Reading
Social media is typically used by consumers for personal reasons, so you need to develop good content for your target audience within this mindset. Take the time to learn what people want to read/watch (relevant to your product and service) and make it digestible via the formats and channels they find most useful. And be sure to strike an appropriate balance between reader content and promotional content. Too much self-serving promotional content can trip you up and turn off your audience.

Enter Pay to Play
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have developed algorithms that limit the exposure of your organic posts from being seen by all of those that like your page or follow you. So for many businesses, organic social media posts are delivering diminishing returns. And just doing more posts doesn’t accomplish much. You have to pay to be seen in this increasingly cluttered environment.

To reach your audiences today, you need to invest money into options like sponsored, boosted or advertised posts. We are seeing growth rates of 40+ percent in social network ad spending in the last three years. And it’s not slowing down. In the months and years to come, we can expect social media companies to look for new ways to monetize their platforms. As this trend accelerates, businesses that only use free methodologies will find it difficult to sustain their audience.

Strategy is Bigger than Budget
Because of the power of social media, social media marketing is the cost of doing business today. So, how much should you spend to be successful? A more important question to ask is how important is it to have a meaningful dialogue with your customers about your business and your brand. Determine your audience, define your strategy and create your plan accordingly. And by the way, you don’t have to be on every platform or on a certain platform just because it’s trendy. Be where your customers are and focus on doing it well.

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