Social media: What's free and what isn't

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A lot of people make the mistake of believing social media is free. I thought I'd take a moment to outline what's free and not free in social media.

Free

  • The platforms themselves, i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+
  • Basic analytics provided directly within the platforms
  • Google Analytics 
  • Some tools that give you basic analytics/tracking capabilities

Not free

  • Someone to curate and post content on the networks*
  • Someone to manage responses*
  • Someone to build up a brand presence on one or more networks*
  • Someone to create and execute a strategy to use each platform well* 
  • Someone to interpret analytics and adjust strategies accordingly* 
  • Someone to coordinate with various departments in your organization to build a content calendar*
  • Continuing education and networking opportunities for someone to keep learning and improving their skills with social media
  • Ads to promote your accounts
  • Tools that provide deep analytics, sentiment analysis, and more

* To clarify the personnel-related points above:

  1. Yes, oftentimes all these tasks are done by the same person.
  2. Yes, you could tack these things onto an existing employee's job description, but be aware you will need to rearrange some of their other duties to make it work. And either way, you're still paying for the labor.
  3. Yes, you could get a volunteer or an intern to do these things, but I know of very, very few instances where that situation was sustainable over the long-term.

And for those organizations who feel like there's no way they will be able to do all of this well within their time and budgetary constraints, I commend to you this webinar.