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Costs encourage longtime commitment to social media

No easy fixes. Think through your media plan.

“Social media is a great tool to implement into your business because it’s so cost-effective and will give you quicker results.” That statement, according to Danny Brown, chief technologist at ArCompany and a marketing blogger, is mostly myth.

True, savings versus an equivalent push via a traditional multimedia advertising blitz will be recognized, with available means to measure returns on your investment. The perception is that social media is cheap and quick, but Brown says it is neither, especially when implementing a full-power strategy-based social media campaign.

Engaging with social media for business is far more involved than setting up a Facebook page and supplementing it with Twitter and YouTube accounts. A battery of questions first need to be asked: Have you thought out your strategy and determined your costs and a budget? Have you set measurements in place? Have you contacted a reliable outlet for outsourcing?

The answers to those questions take many dedicated hours of research to fulfill. Says Brown: “Multiply that by the payscale of the person/people doing that research and your costs are already starting.”

If you or your company is intent on coordinating such an effort in-house, Brown points out, annual  costs for a media strategist and community manager, plus one-time expenses for micro-site build-up, mobile app development, and use of third-party specialists for maintenance, will run you between $200,000 and $400,000. By comparison the cost of producing and running a print ad may fall between $50,000-100,000. By that standard, social media appears far less expensive, but the problem is that prospective clients with a certain expectation may erroneously conclude that social media is practically free and its results can be easily measured.

At MIPX.NET, we counsel our social media clients to commit for the long run. There are no magic fixes with the new media. The ease of Internet technology encourages us to think so, but social media is only a part of the marketing mix, not the whole solution. Remember several tried and true business maxims that continue to serve excellent advice: There are no free lunches, build slowly, and outsource to reputable contractors for work that is beyond your scope.

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