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Social Media is Free. . .

Sure, it doesn’t cost a thing to set up social accounts, but maintaining a presence and reaching your audience takes time and effort—and yes, money. Posted on Thursday, July 6 in Building Your Brand.

​You get what you pay for.

This is particularly true when it comes to your business’ social media presence. In the early years, social media was essentially free. Options were limited and there was little competition. Brands asked consumers to like or follow their pages, and an audience was born. It was almost that easy.

Those days are gone. Understanding and managing these networks takes time and expertise. Add to that the ways that social networks are monetizing their user base, and social media success not only takes commitment, it also requires an investment.

Far reach equals big competition.

Nearly two-thirds of American adults (65%) use social media networking sites, which is up from 7% in 2005. (1) The reach of social media continues to grow—and so does the competition. The ability to get your message delivered in this increasingly competitive space is becoming more and more difficult. Consumers have become smarter and more knowledgeable about social media. Companies are competing for limited space. And clusters of content are everywhere. All of these factors can make it difficult to voice your message.

Pay to play.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and etc. are not philanthropic organizations. Just like any other business, they want to make money. So why wouldn’t they leverage their platforms to favor paying customers? Back in November of 2012, Facebook changed the way its news feed worked, and many businesses saw a significant drop in traffic to and engagement with their pages as a result. (2) To reach the same number of people with their messages on Facebook, businesses had to pay. In the months and years to come, we can expect social media companies to look for new ways to monetize their platforms. As this trend accelerates, businesses that only use free methodologies will find it difficult to sustain their audience.

Strategy is bigger than budget.

Social media marketing is the cost of doing business. So, how much should you spend to be successful? A more important question to ask is how important is it to have a meaningful dialogue with your customers about your business and your brand. Just like any operating expense, you should create a specific budget for social media—and you shouldn’t spend a cent without a strategy.

Your social media efforts should focus on the platforms that reach the best audience for your business. And not all social networking sites are equal. Some boast the biggest audience, while others may reach a more coveted demographic. For example, 72% of adult Internet users are on Facebook, yet only 23% use Twitter. (3)  And 31% use Pinterest, but only 16% of users are male. (3) 

Need help navigating the social landscape? We can help!

We can help you spend wisely.

Posting, tweeting, and blogging, oh my! Don’t get scared off by the expanding number of networks or the changing rules. We’ve got the expertise and strategy to help you reach your audience on social media and beyond. 


(1) “Social media usage: 2005-2015.” Perrin, Andrew. Pew Research Center. 10/8/2015.

(2) “Is Social Media Really Free?”, Shaheen, Jennifer. 05/07/2013.

(3) “The demographics of social media users.”  Duggan, Maeve. Pew Research Center. 8/19/2015.

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