Are You Paying Too Little For Social Media Management?

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You can use a traditional RSS Feedreader with this fancy-dancy link. I think this approach is harder but if you want to do it the hard way, who am I to say otherwise?

Are You Paying Too Little For Social Media Management?

posted this on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at about 7pm.
Are You Paying Too Little For Social Media Management?

It’s always a good idea to shop around a bit when you are considering hiring someone to perform a service for you. The challenge, very often, is knowing the right way to make the decision.

Usually, we try to guard ourselves against paying too much. We worry so much about paying more than we should that all too often we’ll choose a lower cost provider. In the absence of understanding the value that someone provides, you have to make your decisions based on the only information available. That usually defaults to price.

When was the last time you guarded yourself against paying too little? Did you even consider that might be a problem?

In the world of web, you’ll find prices all over the board. You’ll find services all over as well. The challenge is that there is no real standard to guide what you are doing. It’s not like buying a tire, an iPad or a chair. You can’t properly compare side by side because there are so many factors besides price to consider. You simply can’t compare apples to apples.

I, like most people, get plenty of spam. On my website (both this website and my business website) I get hit up by search engine optimization and social media spammers multiple times per week. They all tell me that they’ve researched me, followed me for a while and know they can help me do better. They are full of something I can’t mention on a family safe blog.

It caused me a moment to pause and think about this today as I saw another self-proclaimed guru talk about how great this person was at providing social media services. On the website this person offers a number of social media services priced at a rock bottom price.

I thought I’d take the opportunity to demystify how much work it takes to properly provide the minimum of management for a business social media presence. I'll just discuss the Twitter service. This particular consultant offers three distinct components for Twitter for one low monthly price. I’ll share the price at the end and you can tell me if you think it’s worth the risk.

Twitter Follower Building

follow me

There are a few automation tools out there. In fact, most of them are mediocre at best. However, even with the automation tools available, building an appropriate follower base that is not full of spammers takes daily effort. To effectively grow a Twitter follower base, prune it to keep it healthy and make sure your account isn't following spammers, we usually plan about five to ten minutes per business day. Depending on the client and the needs, we might spend a lot more time managing the follower building time.

For the purposes of this post, let’s call it an average of 7 minutes per day for 20 days per month for a total of 140 minutes or 2 hours 20 minutes.

Tweet Writing

This particular consultant promises to write 10 to 15 tweets per day. I assume it’s per business day. At an average of 12 tweets per day for 20 days, we are looking at 240 tweets per month.

Let’s talk about what this should take to do.

When you are tweeting for yourself, a tweet might only take 20-30 seconds. You tweet while you are waiting at a stop light. You tweet while you are in line at In-n-Out waiting for your Double-Double Animal Style. You tweet when something comes to your mind.

When tweeting for someone else, this is not how it works.

When tweeting for someone else, you can never be as passionate and engaged unless this other person is your only client. For example, if you are working full-time for someone, you can get truly engaged. When you are working very part-time, you can only devote a tiny amount of mindshare.

twitter bird writing

When tweeting right, you need to write original content, you need to post links to relevant articles that you’ve read and apply to your audience. You need to take the time to write content that is meaningful. You need to write content that is timely.

In fact, this particular consultant even says the strategy includes using hashtags. That’s a funny thing to include in the contract. Hashtags simply mean that you are tweeting based on relevancy to what other people are tweeting. That means more engagement. It should be a standard part of any person or business tweeting.

There are ways to become a little more efficient with your time. Some tweets are going to take less time because you’ll say things like, “Have a great weekend!” Sometimes they’ll be a link to a post somewhere.

For our clients, we plan at least about 5 minutes per tweet between the research overhead, time to get in a mode of understanding the needs of that client and the current topics to consider. But, let’s say it only takes two minutes per tweet.

At two minutes per tweet and 240 tweets per month, we are looking at 480 minutes or 8 hours per month. (Never mind that this number of tweets is probably way too many tweets for one month).

Audience Engagement

This service, we call inbox management, includes creating connections with your audience. It includes identifying followers who have written something compelling and communicating with them through retweets and messages. It includes forwarding leads to sales and problems or concerns to the appropriate department. Depending on the size of your business, this can take hours per month (or even a full time person or team of people).

I’m not sure how much this consultant has included in this service so I’ll suggest that this isn’t really included even though the product description says it does. It just takes too much time and I can't imagine this consultant is actually doing the work required.

The Price Comparison

So, from our example above, we are looking at a minimum of 10 hours per month to manage what this 'guru' is suggesting.

The problem is that this consultant wants to only charge $97 per month to do it.

Now, $9.70 per hour sounds like a pretty good deal, but what level of professionalism are you really getting? What level of marketing or business expertise are you going to see from this outside consultant?

Are you going to get someone that really understands your business and will take the time necessary to communicate your brand properly? Are you going to get someone that learns and understands your voice and engage your audience properly?

Or, are you going to get someone that is going to find any shortcut possible so that he or she can figure out how to recoup the lost dollars because the contract rate is so low.

If you want a real expert, make sure you pay appropriately for it or you'll find that you won't see the success you expect.

Corey Smith and his wife are the proud parents of five wonderful children and live in Meridian, Idaho. He is the president of Tribute Media, a Meridian based Web Design & Marketing Agency.

He is the author of two books, "Do It Right: A CEO's Guide to Web Strategy" and "Tweet It Right: A CEO's Guide to Twitter." You can learn more about his books here.

Interested in having Corey speak for your organization? Need help building or marketing your organization? Want to tell Corey how cool you think he is?