5 reasons social media is not free!

Despite the general consensus, - and as many agencies will tell you - social media is not free and easy. Social media-based marketing costs real money. While it may not be millions of dollars for 30 seconds of air time, making sense of the social Web and really getting it right takes planning, creative insight, product management, and other internal resources, all of which have costs associated with them that you may not see at the outset.

Let me give you 5 reasons why.

1.    Time (and opportunity cost).

Say your marketing team or your CEO starts blogging.  Or your sales team start responding to queries on Twitter. What’s the opportunity cost of that? It may take your CEO 3 hours to write 1 blog post. In those 3 hours he could have been making important business decisions or driving new partnerships.

2.     Resource (and training)

When marketing teams decide to invest in digital marketing, there are specific skills required to plan, execute, measure and optimise a digital plan successfully. Digital marketing skills are high in demand so expect to pay a premium for talent. Not only this, but the entire team (and organisation) should also invest in digital training to have a basic understanding of how it contributes to overall business. This requires time and money.

3.    Reach (yes, paid ads!)

Social media not a free channel any longer and with things such a the Facebook News Feed algorithms constantly changing to deliver less and less organic reach, advertisers need to use paid ads on social channels to maintain reach and engagement with customers. It is still a very cost effective way to reach consumers compared to most other channels.

4.    Content creation

Digital marketing is all about creating great content to engage, inform and advise. Content creation needs to be consistent – did you know Nestle produces on average 1500 pieces of digital content for social media a month? With content being more and more disposable, marketing teams now need to invest in content ideation, copywriting and editing, videography, photography, translation and storage of great brand content.

5.    Monitoring

Social media and any digital channel is fully accountable and measurable. Facebook Insights can only monitor so much, but social media also covers a spectrum of other platforms that can also be measured through other monitoring tools. A marketing team needs to invest in tools and technology in order to harness this data are the ones likely to succeed the most. Social media mentions, sentiment, site analytics, conversions etc – all of these require monitoring and measuring tools investment in both time and money.


So next time you are looking at investing in social media; don’t fall under the perception that it can be done with next to zero budget. Plan to invest some time and money to leverage all the advantages it has to offer to your marketing activities.