The Cost Of Social Media : No Free Lunches

The Cost Of Social Media : No Free Lunches

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 How many times have you heard that social media is the cheapest form of advertising there is? How many times have you seen companies hire interns fresh from college for social media marketing?

That\’s not going to last for long. Social media\’s getting dearer and not in a way we like.

This was stimulated in part by Facebook\’s decision to change its news feed algorithm to deliver more news. This was done to boost popular content but discourage marketers from reaching audiences via organic posts. These changes are concerned with the frequency and reach of the communication that Facebook  provides and marketers will have to counter the same by spending money to get themselves noticed.

Facebook has declared, \”Content that is eligible to be shown in news feed is increasing at a faster rate than people\’s ability to consume it.\” It\’s not just Facebook though, Google derives 97% of its revenue from advertisements with insurance, loan and mortgage taking gold, silver and bronze on the keywords that cost list.

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How is this change likely to affect the public, brands and Facebook?

1. For The Consumer

It\’s mainly good news. This change means less focus on your personal updates giving Facebook an outside-in approach like Twitter. It also means that you no longer waste your time reading low-quality content. A lot of social media packs no punch and adds no value to either the product or the medium of advertisement. This is a good way to get attention from brands on what matters – content.

2.  For Brands

Brands can no longer rely on part-time employees to generate interest. they have to up the ante and get content that generates views, shares and comments. Branded pages are to see a decline in organic views and creating superlative content is the way out. You have to be relevant, direct and simple. Frills distract consumers and undermine your core message.

3. For Facebook

Though people are simplistically regarding this as a cash-grabbing opportunity by Facebook, this is a great decision at many levels.

Facebook has changed the social media game. It\’s no longer just enough to pile on numbers. This is a strategy to re-work how brands view social media as a platform. The message is simple: We get you audience attention, so it\’s time for you to give the audience and us some attention as well.

The cost of social media fame in 2014 http://t.co/WCoCVYFIfg #socialmedia

— Big Data World Tour (@IE_BigData) January 13, 2014

Increasing costs also include the employment of trained employees rather than just interns. Brands have realized the error of their ways by hiring part-timers for something that has the potential to make or break their reputation. As they say, if you think hiring a pro is expensive, wait till you hire an amateur. For smaller businesses, the opportunity cost of spending an hour on social media might outweigh the business accrued from the same. Content creation has become a billion dollar industry with good reason. The reason why social media seems and is so expensive is because brands have not currently budgeted for social media outreach in terms of cost involved and benefit accrued. The cost of social media remains a side operation rather than a mainstay of marketing expense. For most brands, a good reputation in traditional media precedes rather than succeeds social media success.

\”Most brands know the real cost of social media is not as great as the cost of bad social media.\” @EntMagazine http://t.co/gc4xoVCuYj

— The Social Co. (@TheSocialCo) January 17, 2014

So, how should you wisely spend money on social media?

1.  Understand your target segment

Don\’t confuse apple and oranges. If you know your product line, you also know who will buy it and how much time will that segment spend online. Choose the right social media tool and the time you wish to get it.

2. Have Money, Will Spend

How do you ensure that the spending you do on social media is commensurate with the benefits you derive?

Spend your on :

  • Great People
  • Great Content

You will soon find that things take care of themselves.

3. Promote kick-ass content

A lot of social media feed is dull or just a glorified press release. Ensure you stand out in the herd. The new algorithm has created a vicious circle where Paid ads and sponsored content will help drive the “organic” reach of your other content. In addition, brands with more Facebook likes are going to see a lower cost for paid distribution because paid social ads will show greater social context. More likes and followers will lead to cheaper ads!

Being the best will drive your cost down.

4. Analyze

Customers have woken up to their value in the world of social media. On Facebook, your life is the product. More than half the marketers on Facebook have requested someone to mention their product. Until you don\’t figure out what people like and share of their own volition, you\’ll be a laggard in the race to like, share and follow.

5. A Few Great Men 

The best people will get you the best results and drive down your costs. There\’s a demand for SEO specialists, data scientists, content writers and digital marketers like never been before. You need people who\’ll measure, analyze and show you off to the best. Unfortunately, they do not come cheap. Fortunately, you can catch them young and save on your costs.

The world of social media needs better content, better people and more results. Is your brand ready?

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About Ayushi Mona

I believe Content is king and dissect it so that you can separate the pretenders from the contenders. When I am not typing away to glory on beta21.com, I quiz and make sense of financial statements.
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