By Reid Neubert, February 7, 2012
Categories: Online Marketing
Is it Really Free?
All the buzz is about social media marketing. What the term means, basically, is using channels such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social sites, to interact with customers, prospects and others. For retailers and some other businesses, it can be a great way to get customer feedback, provide information, keep your brand visible, and help build your business.
For instance, according to Fortune Magazine, “…when people go to an e-commerce site from a Facebook page, they’re twice as likely to buy something than if they go there some other way.” That’s huge!
And it’s free! Or that’s what we hear, anyway. But when you consider what it takes to effectively use social media, you find that it’s anything but free. Either you have to spend a great deal of time on it (and time is money) or you have to pay someone else to do it for you.
The Daily Grind
To get a better idea what is involved, here’s the daily drill one social media marketing professional reports that he follows for himself. Note this is before … and in addition to … the time he spends on clients’ work.
He says he writes a blog post of at least 300 words around his important keyword phrases, with cross links to pages on his site. He then works sites like Digg, Delicious, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Stumble Upon, and Twitter, to build back links to the blog post. Next he Googles his keywords and related keywords, then spends time leaving comments on blogs that may have showed up in his search.
That’s just the warm-up. He spends even more time getting connections on the social sites and sharing links with others to build connections, “likes,” and followers. Oh, and let’s not forget the videos he says he makes and posts on YouTube almost daily to try to further build visibility and links to his site.
Can You Afford “Free”?
I don’t know about you, but that would take me all day, leaving no time for actual paying work. Or a life. The videos I have made and posted (branding video; website design video) have each taken me days to write, design and produce. He probably just records more spontaneous talking head videos.
A large business can readily afford to employ someone to work the social sites, but for a smaller business, it’s another story. Can social media still work for you? You need to think of it as another marketing channel to be considered in the overall mix in your marketing plan. Social media marketing should be approached and executed strategically just like a company’s other branding and marketing.