The Cost of Social Media Success

Here’s an angle that attracts little attention when it comes to companies doing well on social media: success comes at a cost.

There is, of course, the initial investment to get started in social media, mostly the time to create a strategic and tactic plan, set up the different services, and then launch of the program. Maybe someone within the organization has been commandeered to do social media a couple of hours a day, or perhaps a person is hired full-time or on contract.

Then, a company starts doing social media and creating content (e.g Facebook updates, tweets, photos, video, contests, polls, etc.). This content and the company’s engagement efforts begin to resonate with users. As a result, a community starts to be established as more users get involved, leave comments, upload photos, ask questions and provide feedback.

All of a sudden, the person running a company’s social media program starts to feel a little overwhelmed by the growing amount of activity, which is happening 7/24. There is so much to do to create content, engage with thousands of people, monitor and analyze activity, answer questions, provide feedback and generate reports.

Before you know it, the company needs to hire another person or perhaps a couple of people to work at social media headquarters. They may even have to hire a social evangelist or two to attend events and conferences to connect the company’s digital efforts with real-world interaction. In other words, the only way to handle more social activity is scaling your team.

In the end, social media becomes a major expense due to its wild or even solid success – something many companies never anticipated.

Of course, this is a luxury many companies would welcome with open arms given how challenging it can be to be successful with social media. It’s a price they’re likely more than happy to pay but, nevertheless, it is an issue that needs to be considered given the focus on ROI and the allocation of marketing budgets.

6 Comments on “The Cost of Social Media Success”

  1. If a company can afford to employ someone to do their social media full time then they should be able to profit from the following and/or the reputation they have built up using social media. I personally would love to have this problem!

    1. David: This is a problem that many companies would love to have. At that point, they’d be happy to make the investment. Thanks for the comment. Mark

  2. David, ditto what Mark said. Bring on that problem. Question I am often hearing though, does the rise in social traffic reduce other types of traffic?

  3. First, I agree with the others that many would at least prefer the headache of figuring this out rather than scraping for business leads.

    I do want to point out that many of these articles focus around larger businesses. I mention this because smaller business can more easily set expectations that they are not available 24/7 to respond. Many will also not have nearly the scaling issue of larger businesses.

    Either way it puts an emphasis on a long term strategy on how it fits into in-house and agency marketing strategies and on the value of using tools and methodologies for efficiencies. ~ Kevin

  4. Pingback: Weekly Web Wrap-Up: March 11, 2011 | ISSMM

  5. I think what you have outlined is not just the natural progression companies (of all sizes) go through in their social media efforts, but marketing in general. Take out “social media” and replace it with “conferences” and you can see how an organization grows its activities, becomes more successful, hires more people to support new efforts, etc. So, it is not so much the cost of “social media” success as it just success in general.

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