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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Cost of Social Media

I wrote this blog for the Philadelphia chapter of the American Marketing Association's website. Check it out there and take a spin around the site while you're at it!



The Philadelphia Chapter of the American Marketing Association’s recent Social Media Boot Camp is a great example of how marketers can learn about the most effective social media channels for their business, how to measure social media and how to put together a social media plan. Social media can be a valuable part of any marketing campaign.

But, like everything, it comes with a cost to implement. While initiating a Twitter account and Facebook page are free, there’s more to consider besides just waiting for the hits to arrive to your newly established pages. Here are some costs that marketers must take into account:

  • Salary and Time. If you can swing it, you may want to have a salaried person on staff who is solely responsible for managing social media. Or you could outsource your social media campaign. If you don’t, you’ll have to delegate the responsibility to your existing staff, which takes time.
  • Advertising. You’ll need to drive people to Facebook and/or Twitter through email blasts, “like” or “follow” buttons on your company’s website or targeted ad placement on Facebook.
  • Tracking. It’s wise to make sure your social media plan is working. To keep tracking costs down, make sure you’re only tracking information that’s valuable to you. You can just track a few metrics each week or month, such as economic value, which can be measured by the amount of traffic each social media channel refers to your website, the behavior of social media visitors on your site, and the number of social media visitors who exhibit specific behavior (buy, subscribe, take a survey, etc.). You can manage the tracking of multiple social media sites from services like Hootsuite, among others.

A more comprehensive breakdown of social media costs in 2012 can be found here from our friends at MackCollier.com. You won’t necessarily use all of these components, but it’s a very clearly delineated budget breakdown of how much things can potentially cost.

Social media is customizable! Make sure you’re tailoring it to fit your specific needs, particularly if your budget is tight.

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