The Social Side, Part 5: Your Social Media Budget

How-To Guides — By on September 21, 2010 at 8:00 am

Even if I had the budget, I wouldn’t dream of letting anyone else Tweet or Facebook for me. Never. I’m not alone. And just take a look at all those obscenely wealthy celebrities who could hire a ghost tweeter in a heartbeat, but don’t. There’s Lindsay Lohan and Ashton Kutcher, to name a few. If they did have someone else tweeting for them, would they be nearly as popular on Twitter?

Nope. Just look at Oprah’s Twitter account– popular by follower count, but a total snooze and therefore not as influential as Ashton’s or Lindsay’s. Your brand is no different. You should never, ever pay for a tweet.

So now you are thinking, “But, Alaina, you created a firm that offers social media services and now you’re telling me not to hire anyone to do it?”

To which I reply, “That’s exactly what I’m telling you and that’s exactly what I tell each and every one of my clients.”

Why?

Because that is the truth. And, as one of my clients pointed out recently, I have a terrible poker face.

If you pay for a Tweet (and the tweeter is not your own employee), you will find, invariably, that you will have less success on Twitter. Same goes for Facebook and the same goes for blogging. That doesn’t mean you won’t have any success, but the success you’ve had while hiring someone to make your social updates would be two-fold if you were doing them yourself.

Now, I have an addendum.

Most small, medium and even larger-sized businesses do not have an employee devoted to social media. So, as a stopgap, they are outsourcing their Twitter and Facebook updating. I can’t say I blame them. It is better than nothing. However, it should be a temporary plan as they make way on their end to create a social media position or train existing employees.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again: You will not succeed online unless you have compelling and very interesting content. This content needs an agent, something within your company spreading the word about said content via social channels. It is hard to find someone more passionate about your brand than you or one of your employees.

So with that said, while Cement Marketing has and continues to update many of our clients’ Facebook and Twitter accounts, several other clients have already graduated to having their own marketing teams or managers take the reins after our one-on-one training and strategy planning– all approved and blessed by the higher-ups.

The following are services you should ask your agency for when it comes to social media. (Costs can vary, depending on the size of your business and whether you already have Twitter or Facebook pages.)

Vision and strategy planning. After identifying our client’s goals and assessing their existing social and search presences, we determine the best strategy their social media presence should take. Then, we create a message pyramid with content guides and recommended posting frequency for both Facebook and Twitter. Ideally, these content guides are driven by a seasonal call to action or promotion. And all content, of course, is driven by the blog editorial calendar (which we help them write).

Training. In one client’s case, we defined a strategy and message pyramid, and removed all existing internal Facebook and Twitter administrators. Cement Marketing then took the helm and updated both for several weeks to rebalance the tone and illustrate how to bring the message pyramid to life. Once they were ready, we sat down and trained our client’s store managers, so they could once again assume control of their Facebook pages. Only this time, they were armed with clear strategy and direction. The results have been absolutely amazing.

Continued Strategy and Consulting. While updating Facebook and Twitter are now natural for you and your team, the big thinking and strategy behind your higher-level messages is best left to marketing professionals. I recommend my clients keep us on consulting retainers to continue developing their social media presence. We use the time to constantly measure your social media performance against your website’s analytics and to come up with social media campaigns that complement existing marketing plans or stand on their own.

So how much should you spend on a Tweet? Zero. Zilch. Nada. Instead, invest your money in vision and strategy planning, training yourself and your employees, and ongoing consulting and professional campaigns for your social media property.

Coming up next week is the final installment in “The Social Side” series:

  • How to get and keep fans: Building your social fan base.
Alaina Sheer (6 Articles)

Alaina Sheer is Chief Digital Strategist and Founder of Cement Marketing, a website design, development, social marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) firm in Columbus. Visit CementMarketing.com or email her at alaina@cementmarketing.com for Sheer's upcoming speaking engagements on social marketing.


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