The marketing myth of "free" social media

Marketers and PR people are all over Twitter, FaceBook, etc. They love "social media" because they can get past the "gate keepers" in traditional media.
Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor
Marketers and PR people are all over Twitter, FaceBook, etc. They love "social media" because they can get past the "gate keepers" in traditional media. And there have been several instances where they've managed to promote their clients at seemingly little or no cost. But they haven't asked how this affects their business model? For a long time I've been saying that the same media technologies transforming the business model for media are transforming the business model for PR. Yet this relationship wasn't as evident in PR for several years because the old business model was still working. The difference between the two industries has been in the timing of the disruptive trends affecting them. But as the economy cuts budgets and clients look toward social media to get their messages out, will they continue to pay for PR at traditional levels? They won't because they see social media as being close to free. However, social media is not free. Here are some more thoughts on this topic: Social Media Is Not Free - And The Disruption Of The PR Business Model
This situation is fine if you are still able to sell the traditional PR services of media relations, etc. But as the economy cuts budgets, and as media shrinks and shatters into a thousand shards of "social media," the reality of having to manage media relations in this kind of world becomes daunting and extremely time consuming.

A Smart Bear: Please stop saying social media marketing is free -

Social media is expensive. In fact, it's more expensive than traditional media. It just comes in the form of spending time instead of spending money.

The "cheap" claim is everywhere.

A Social Media Gut Check | Altitude Branding | Brand Elevation through Social Media

Are we willing to spend money on this?

Social media is not free. You need time and money. 2-5% of your marketing budget on average, more if you need to develop specific tools or applications to accomplish your goals.

FRANDEAVOR BLOGS ON (AND ON) » Franchise Lead Generation

Social Media is not free. You need a staff member and a brand champion to lead your social media efforts. This person needs to be a skilled writer, fluent in the language of social media, and they need to be an authentic FAN of your brand. You need to pay for their dedicated time in executing your social media plan. Don’t assign your social media efforts to the intern or the receptionist; assign it to a key member of your team.

MediaPost The Future Agency Of Record Will Be Social

Because "free media" is a bigger fairy tale than unicorns. There will be significant capital outlay to earn people's attention in social media, which will need to be spread across various social media vendors and creative partners. It will be incredibly important to track real costs and measure ROI.

Top 10 Social Media Myths BUSTED | Digital Operative

...planning and launching a social media campaign is extremely expensive in man-hours. The amount of time it takes to research your audience, architect conversations, build creative, and engage them effectively is anything but cheap.

New Social Media Marketing Industry Report | Implications for B2B Marketing | B2B Marketing Blog

64% of marketers are using social media for 5 hours or more each week; 39% for 10 hours or more. The median for people using social media marketing for years was 20+ hours per week. Social media is not free. While you’re not paying for hard costs, like advertising placement, it requires a dedication of time and talent to create great content, to engage in conversations, and to continually learn.

Just as Difficult as it Seems | chrisbrogan.com

Building a new plan for your organization that encompasses using listening tools, media creation like blogs and podcasts, social network interactions on services like Twitter and Facebook, is very difficult.

Help! The Recession Ate My Marketing Budget.

Unless you consider man hours free, social media is not free and it can in fact be a costly time suck without a clear vision of the social media campaign...

Social Media - Do Big Business Get It? SES Toronto 2009 | Search Engine People | Toronto

Social Media is NOT FREE… although to sign-up to most platforms maybe free the strategy, time and equity that need to be built and doing any of this takes energy and money. If a company is not able to commit to this investment they need to stay out of this space.

...Social Media is not easy. There has to be a tremendous amount of research, content development, engagement and tracking that goes into any social media effort.

Also, taking part in social media is not free. Here is a view from the ground floor:

Some Fantastic: Social Media is Not Free: The Broke Blogger Blues

I don't sit behind a desk all day, I don't have the internet in my pocket and I can't afford too.

I'm offended when these socialmedia/tech enthusiasts think that this is free, easy and accessible for everyone. You know what? It's not.

...I mean, if it was truly free and accessible to all, why aren't we seeing more blogs written by joe-blows like me. People that don't have computer access at all times. Waiters, bus drivers, mail carriers, massage-therapy receptionists! I know I'd like to read those.

How do you reach the people that can't afford to take part in social media?

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