SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT FREE!
Another point I’ve been thinking about after reading the “B2B Barometer” reports produced by the Institute of Direct Marketing and the Association of B2B Agencies. They noted that 86% of ‘client-side’ respondents expect their spending on social media to increase during the next 12 months.
Well that does not surprise me in the least! One of social media’s big hooks for businesses facing the prospect of a recession was that it was supposed to be ‘free’. That wasn’t strictly true. It was only free in the same way that a PR campaign is ‘free’. You might not have to pay a title to print your content but the costs of researching, developing, producing and distributing that content all have to be met. It can be a time-consuming task that requires a specialist skill set. Social media is exactly the same. Looks like businesses have just woken up to the fact that sometimes you have to pay to get lucky. No intentional reference to Wayne Rooney intended!
Businesses are now starting to give their social media activities the attention and budget they deserve. Social media is like most things in life: you get out what you put in, and administering a company’s profiles is not something that can be done by the receptionist during their lunch hour. Not that I have anything against receptionists, it’s just that in an area of marketing which is evolving on a daily basis, keeping up with the latest developments and understanding how to take advantage of them is a full-time job.
The fact so many companies plan to spend more on social media suggests they now appreciate that they need this kind of expertise. Good news all round, not only for agencies that can cater to this demand, but for the clients too. By engaging people who understand how to plan, deliver and measure the impact of online content - how to manage a social media strategy - they will be able to watch their social media activities blossom into a useful and productive element of their communications mix, rather than being that ‘new-fangled’ stuff that nobody in their company quite understands.
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By on 15 April 2012