Social media marketing – its not free but it is necessary

Over the last week I have staged two workshopping sessions focussed on helping small companies work toward and develop a social media marketing strategy.

It is often said that social media marketing is free. This isn’t true. Certainly the great majority of social media platforms – be they blogs, microblogs, social networks or social bookmarking, are free to join and use, but the time required to use them effectively is not free.

Many small business people feel they have more than enough on their plate without adding social media marketing work to their day. It was this insight that shaped the content of my workshops.

During the workshops I and the attendees discussed the following questions

  1. How important is social media marketing
  2. Why should we make social media marketing an integral part of our already busy working day?
  3. How can we exploit the benefits of social media marketing without it chewing up too much time?

Taking them in order here are some answers.

1. How important is social media marketing and

  • Social media marketing is very important because it is a company’s route to a modern audience that numbers in the millions.
  • The media habits of the majority of people under 40 has moved from television or newspapers to social networks like Facebook, microblogs like Twitter and blogs. Small businesses while they could rarely in the past afford to reach large audiences by buying space in big media outlets like TV or national newspapers no longer have to. The big audiences have moved into the budget reach of everyone.
  • You can’t afford not to have some social media presence. In business it’s becoming as necessary as a telephone.

2. Why should we make social media marketing an integral part of our already busy working day?


  • you have no blog providing up to date information on your industry, new developments , matters of interest to clients and potential clients
  • you have no twitter account where you can keep in touch day to day with the market, where you can draw attention to news and developments of interest to potential business partners and clients you are not at the party!

…then you are very definitely not at THE party!

Don’t see social media marketing as extra work. See it as an opportunity to reduce time and money spent on old stuff.

Take a look at your traditional marketing and ask yourself, to build an audience do I need this anymore?

Do I need to print brochures and if not do I need to spend time arguing with printers? Do I need to attend that trade fair and spend two days on an expensive stand drinking bad coffee and collecting other companies’ free key-rings and stress balls (and the evenings looking out a budget hotel room window across a rainswept carpark in ‘Boondock Nowhere’ wishing I was home)

If you or your colleagues between you can find half an hour a day to tweet, and five hours over a week to prepare a good blog post with an embedded videocast then you will be on the way to building an effective social media marketing plan.

3. How can we exploit the benefits of social media marketing without it chewing up too much time?

Social media marketing chews up time because

  1. It can be fun – you never imagined you might one day be social commentator with a potential audience of millions or editor in chief of a magazine, filmmaker and radio broadcaster but that’s that you become as a tweeter, a blogger, a YouTuber and a podcaster.
  2. It requires thought – there’s no sense in just publishing any old rubbish. Blog posts have to count – to be interesting and informative – if they are to build you an audience.
  3. It requires more fiddling around with your computer

What can be done?

  1. Take the fun out of it? No: But don’t get carried away. Timetable your social media work. Tweet on coffee breaks. Blog an hour each morning, or, using the publishing schedule function, write all the week’s blogs in one session at the start of the week. Go here “Schedule your WordPress Posts” to find out how.
  2. More minds are better: Divide the blogging work amongst your colleagues. They each have their specialist knowledge.
  3. Set up a social media dashboard: Go to Netvibes or Hootsuite and set up a free account where you can manage everything – your twitter accounts, blog, business Facebook page and everything else from one window on your computer screen.


About jonhartl

Jon Hartley is a former manager in international online and traditional publishing. He has over 20 years experience in marketing, training, editing, copywriting and translation.Jon Hartley Internet Marketing is a collective of professionals expert in all aspects of internet including design and IT

One Comment

  1. Genius post, Jon. So informative and hits the real issues right on the head – time loss v money and audience gain.

    Fin :)))

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