Is Social Media Really Free?

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Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all tools that businesses use to connect with today’s always-on client. Each of these platforms gives today’s new and growing businesses the ability to get started on their sites absolutely free. This is true: to set-up a Facebook company page or launch a Pinterest business account you do not have to pay anything. However, understanding, managing, and driving interest to these tools is not free.

Over the past six to seven months, platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have been identifying new approaches to monetization. We need to remember that these platforms are not philanthropic organizations – and they’re not the benefits of anyone’s charity. It takes a tremendous amount of resources to design and maintain a social media platform.


Recent Changes and Investing in The Platform

Facebook:

money-facebookBack in November 2012, many business pages noticed a drop off in traffic to and engagement with their pages. Facebook changed the way the News Feed worked and fewer fans saw updates from pages they had liked. The truth is, without prodding from the News Feed, the over stimulated Facebook user was not interacting with brands and companies as much as they had originally. This change made business owners realize that they would now need to pay for better exposure.

Staying in front of existing customers and clients will now mean that businesses must establish a budget for promoting their page content. When done effectively, you will not only reach your existing clients but you will also attract new ones. Post promotion is like paying for email marketing; you’re ensuring that your fan base has seen you. Be sure your page has great images, information and elements for engagement and you’ll not only drive traffic to your Facebook page, you will also drive interest in your business.

Twitter:

money-twitterIt is my personal opinion that to see a real return on investment on Twitter you need to be active on this platform all day long, just like email. You need to be pushing out content, retweeting and engaging with other twitterers. If you do not have that kind of time and you want to ensure you are reaching people, you can promote your tweets just like you could promote a post on Facebook. Twitter too is monetizing their platform, giving business a paid method of extending the reach of their tweets and their profiles.

If you are not getting the traction you were hoping for and you do not have the time to keep your Twitter account open all day long to cultivate relationships as much as you’d like, this may be an option for you. Just like with Facebook, your tweets need to have value. Tweet out things your audience will appreciate and do not forget about adding images or Vine videos to better connect with your followers.

LinkedIn:

money-linkedinSeptember 2012 was the launch of the new and improved LinkedIn company page, giving businesses a greater voice on LinkedIn. Company pages now have a cover, a tab for products and services, and a status feed.

It’s no surprise, however, that right under the edit tab for your business page is an option to promote your company page with an ad. If you want to get your company page seen by more potential clients, or even job candidates, this may be a tool you want to explore.

To follow suit with the other two platforms, keep in mind that your LinkedIn company page needs to have all the information filled in to give real value to visitors. You should also have a recent status update on your page to show followers and potential followers that you keep your page up to date.


The Cost of Social Media Tools Tomorrow

Expect social media platforms to continue identifying new ways to generate income from the tools they have spent time and money creating. We know as business owners that paying for attraction is not going to sustain our connection with our audience. Today’s businesses do so much more, like running webinars, writing white papers, and hosting events. Product placement marketing is evolving into exciting new territory, with companies aggressively competing for the opportunity to integrate their products into films, music videos, and video games.

Businesses have found new ways to energize their marketing efforts and stay in front of customers.

Social media platforms are doing the same thing, looking for new, creative ways, to leverage what they’ve built so traditional display advertising does not become their sole source of revenue. I applaud new ways of thinking and encourage all of us to do the same in our businesses.

If you need help energizing your social media or managing the day-to-day, reach out to us for a free consultation.

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