Nothing is Free… Not Even Social Media Marketing

Before I was the president of Webster Digital Marketing, Inc. (WDM), I had several different IT jobs, including one as an IT Project manager.  One of the first things project managers learn is the of the project triangle of constraints: scope (or goal), time and cost. Wikipedia says:

The time constraint refers to the amount of time available to complete a project. The cost constraint refers to the budgeted amount available for the project. The scope constraint refers to what must be done to produce the project’s end result. These three constraints are often competing constraints: increased scope typically means increased time and increased cost, a tight time constraint could mean increased costs and reduced scope, and a tight budget could mean increased time and reduced scope.

Social Media Goals Cost Time and Money

Phrased another way, this means that in any project you can pick any two of these: fast, good and cheap. You can’t ever have all three.

Social Media Marketing Also Costs Time and Money

Pick any 2 - good, fast or cheap
Pick Any Two

What many people don’t realize is that these constraints also hold true for your social media marketing efforts.  Let’s say your goals are increased fans for your page and engagement (likes and shares) for your posts (resulting in increased customers for your business). Well, just as with any project, you will get better results the more time and money you put into your social media marketing. If you only spend 1 hour a week on your social media marketing, your goal must be smaller than if you spend 20 hours a week on it. And these results are shown over and over again in surveys where marketers repeatedly report that spending more time on social media marketing increases their results.

Can you get great results from social media without spending any money? Well maybe, but you’ll have to spend a whole lot more time. Facebook has made it increasingly difficult to reach audiences without any kind of ad spend, for example. And you can cut through the chatter more easily – plus reach people who haven’t previously been in contact with more easily, by forking over some cash on LinkedIn.

As you are considering your social media marketing strategy, or even any other aspect of your digital marketing plans, think about what is really most valuable to you. It’s easy to just answer “money” and leave it at that, but for many of us, that is clearly not true. We all pay for a variety of time-saving features from dishwashers to a lawn mowing service or accountant. What’s really important to most of us is that our investment in the cost of a service is realized in the benefits we get from service.  

Where Internet Marketing has an advantage over some of the other services you may pay for is that the results are trackable and should eventually exceed the cost of the service by quite a lot. If you know the worth of one customer to your business, you can easily learn if your digital marketing efforts truly paid for themselves not just in terms of your precious time saved for other tasks, but in terms of real gains for your business.

What is the biggest thing keeping you from spending money on social media marketing or digital marketing? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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