How Truly “Free” Is Social Media Marketing

I know a lot of you might be confused about social media marketing costs. Perhaps, the reason for such uncertainty is due to the vague service charges of digital marketing agencies. Or, you might have seen other small-time businesses boast they’ve never used ads on social media and gained success – which means no marketing ad cost. But is that really the case? Is it possible to have a successful social media marketing strategy that’s free?

To answer the question above, I’m going to be brutally honest and say NO. If you think that not spending any money on ads makes it free, then you’re not seeing the whole picture. Social media advertising is just a speck of marketing. There are other charges that you should take note of. Those other charges are the ones you can do yourself that will cost you time and effort, and the things that you can hire other people to do it for you.

 

Here are just a few things that are part of the total cost in any social media marketing strategy:

Content

This speaks for itself. Whenever you have a social media profile, you can’t benefit if you’re not giving them content you own (a blog post to your site to drive traffic is a typical example). Create original content that’s unique, informative, entertaining, and valuable to your audience. This takes a lot of your time, and if you run the business yourself, you will lose more unless you don’t sleep – which is impossible. And, you just can’t curate all day and gain something unless your general plan is to promote others than yourself.

The point here is, if you have a business, you will spend most of your time taking care of it. You can’t write an article, make a video, take pictures, and create infographics all on your own while managing at the same time. You have to pause your business, which doesn’t make sense, especially if it’s already providing money. What you can do is hire someone to do it for you – making it absolutely not FREE. And even if you do it yourself, it will cost you a lot of time and effort.

Management

Now knowing that content is another part of your budget – and it is not FREE – we should move on to the second part, management. Like content, managing a social media profile is difficult. It takes a lot of time to respond and reply to comments and messages. And, it entails searching for other potential businesses to collaborate with. Usually, it requires a full 4 to 6 hours a day of work just to make sure everything is going according to plan – even with the right tools, especially if the business is huge.

This is why huge businesses will have virtual assistants taking care of the social media profiles. Though smaller business will not require having a full-time employee, it is still beneficial to have this taken care of. There are so many freelancers online and paying them by the hour or per post will save you time and money. This gives you more time to focus on more important aspects of your business.

Promoting

Though it doesn’t always have to be paid, especially if you prefer more organic methods, such as reaching out manually, it still consumes a lot of time – more time compared to managing but promises better results. Doing the promotion all by yourself, study without the help of an expert, can be devastating; even planning the strategy alone will sometimes lead to frustration. That’s because it takes a lot study to make it right.

This leads a lot of businesses to hire professional services from digital marketing agencies or companies. But it doesn’t mean it’s a must; it’s just a sure way. Then again, there are still a lot of freelancers that can greatly help you with this that will cost you only half the price.

Conclusion

Overall, social media marketing isn’t free, no matter what angle you look at it. However, it is still one of the best and cheapest ways to promote your business and get the benefits of having a fast and deep relationship with your audience. Though it might be a handful at the beginning, it still provides great ROI, which is why it’s always a top choice among giant companies.

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