Most people fail to realize the true cost of social media – Time! While it is free to sign up for and use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., things do not post or tweet themselves. The user must create content. Who is going to do this at your business? The same person who barely has time to sleep, eat, spend time with family, or run the business…You. Either you’ll need to commit time to these free tools, or you’ll need to hire/assign someone, both of which have real costs.
Further, the marketing value and effectiveness of social media can certainly be argued, even when used properly, but when used improperly, they can have a negative impact. An outdated Facebook page with no posts for 9 months not only looks unprofessional, people may question if the business is still around. An ill-advised tweet about a given topic may offend a portion of your customer base, and cause negative pushback against your business.
Before you decide if “Free” social media tools are right for your business, know their real costs. While free in upfront costs, there are real costs associated with their use and upkeep – time – arguably the single most valuable item to small business owners. Further, improper use, including lack of use, has a negative impact on your business, another real cost.
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