The Future of Social Media

According to Altimeter, a research company, corporate spending on social business averaged just $833,000 in 2010.  Scaling these programs for efficiency becomes the big challenge as companies expand their web presence on the social web to keep up with customers and manage content, workflow and customer data. Erica Swallow wrote an  article for Mashable about this – Optimizing Your Social Media Budget here.

Meeting with the sponsorship and marketing manager at a very popular website yesterday, we were talking about what social media really means for smaller brands looking to grab some attention from their millions of monthly visitors. (side note: it took about 11 years to build this site to what it is today).

She said, more often than not, she listens to potential clients tell her that they do a lot of “free” advertising. When she asks them what they mean by free, they say, you know Facebook.

We looked at each other and said, What’s “free” about Facebook?

Even if the company doesn’t have a Facebook ad budget or actually pays anyone to properly design, strategize or manage campaigns around social media, the time spent on it alone, certainly isn’t “free” and it’s almost impossible for one person to manage it alone.   Typically, these companies don’t have regular updates, engaged customers, or socially acceptable status updates.  Many small businesses also don’t realize that their social media budget will include earned, owned and paid social media. This is certainly not “free”.  Funny, Google knows that smaller businesses are still searching for that “free model” and advertise their Google Ad Campaigns as “Free Online Advertising” – See What $75.00 of Google Ads Can Do for Your Business.

What businesses like this one and even mid-sized and larger corporations need to focus on is staff education (how to use social media) to maximize their social media potential in all areas of their company. In the future everyone from human resources to sales managers in your company will be experts in using social platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn that can help them do their jobs better.

  • There are some interesting posts about agency costs for Twitter and Facebook management, including this one from The Content Factor.
  • Wonder how much a Twitter follower costs? Check out this article from ClickZ on Mashable –
  • Finally, check out this infograph on the “real cost” of social media.

Social media marketing and marketing in general is a process of decreasing the time, money, and resources required to communicate with customers, clients and employees and make it easy for them to buy products and services, but it certainly isn’t free.

Companies with new social media programs should first focus on what social media platforms really matter for their business and who in their company can use these platforms to strengthen their overall organization.

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