Creating brand affinity using social media is cheap and easy. All you need to do is throw your logo into a Facebook profile page, create a Twitter handle, get an intern to write some content and you’re good to go, right?
Actually, that’s not the case. While at the outset of the social marketing boom our lack of discipline and understanding may have made this seem true, customers are far more savvy and nuanced than that. In order to break through the cluttered space to the customer, a brand’s social media presence needs to be both strategic and deliberate—encompassing research, understanding, strategy, execution, and follow-through.
At its simplest, social media marketing can be broken down into two distinct arms—giving customers content, and having conversations with them. Both do the same thing: create brand affinity. The social space is crowded with brands and in order to be successful there you need to provide real, compelling value. Successfully participating on a social media platform entails—no, requires—being active and not passive—both engaging with customers by responding to concerns and comments, and providing relevant content to them. If you’re dormant but have a presence it can backfire, so strategy and forward thought is critical.
The activities outlined above have real costs associated with them: staff costs, external and third-party costs, tools and integration, the cost of the insights and research required to properly engage different audiences, and even advertising costs to kick start many campaigns.
The bottom line—generating real, tangible brand affinity with social media requires spending time and money. I came across this smart infographic from Focus that details The Real Cost of Social Media (specifically with regards to Twitter)—including costs that aren’t always considered when thinking about a social media campaign like staffing, advertising and analytics. It also includes a cost benefit analysis that says an investment in social media is worth it.
Check it out—and start thinking about how the concept of cost and effort translates across your entire social media initiatives.