What Does Social Media Really Cost?

A few weeks ago I was speaking to a local business group about the advantages of using social media marketing for business promotion and I included a slide that showed the costs of using social media. The main point I was trying to drive home was “Time is Money.” Basically you have two options you can pay an outside consultant or company to help you or manage you social media in house, either way someone will be investing time, and that costs money.

In the middle of the discussion a business owner made the comment isn’t that contradictory to “Social Media is free?” The simple answer, yes. Unfortunately too many business have this mentality and when they decide to take the plunge into social media they are sourly disappointed by the cost of outsourcing and discouraged by the results of doing it in house.

I was reminded of this again this morning when I came across an article over on Clickz.com.

This year analysts are saying that the social media marketing will be a $3.08 billion industry and this is expected to grow. What’s included in this calculation? An Altimeter survey from eMarketer shows that the biggest expenses will fall under staff, advertising, influencer/blogger programs, custom technology, and social customer relationship management (CRM). Using a CRM in coordination with website analytics is where you begin to see your ROI.

Social media costs 2011

The bottom line is that to successfully use social media marketing, businesses need to take the time to create a plan that includes a realistic budget. Simply throwing up a Facebook page and sending a few tweets is not going to cut it.

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