How’s that for click bait? The difference is, this is a true statement based on years of trial and error as a consultant and agency owner. I’ve spent the better part of the last 10 years trying to figure out how to deliver measurable and meaningful results for business owners through social media and all of that experience has led me to this conclusion.
I used to be the biggest cheerleader for SEO…investing in more organic strategies that don’t require the use of what I’ve called “light switch marketing”…tactics that require being turned on and off as budget allows. But the fact of the matter is, small businesses rarely have the budget and patience for SEO to be a viable marketing priority. While organic methods are certainly a great way to market a business, many businesses just don’t have the time, expertise and resources for that work. Thus leveraging those smaller budgets towards smart strategic paid campaigns are much more likely to drive faster, measurable results…not to mention the lower risk involved.
Outfits like 99 Dollar Social or 98 Buck Social have become very successful by enticing business owners with their dirt cheap social media content offerings, and they really do what they say they are going to do…populate your social media channels with content. That’s it. You’d be hard pressed to find any sort of language or sales pitches around their offerings having any measurable impact on your business. The question you have to ask yourself is…what’s the point? What’s the point of just doing something to do it? If you can’t easily measure whether something you are doing for your business isn’t benefiting it, you’re wasting time and money.
So what happens when you don’t spend at least $1000/month?
- Poor Content quality. If you’re spending less than $1000/month, chances are you’re getting sub-standard content posted to your channels. This can mean a number of things including your content being outsourced overseas to non-native speaking resources, or simply templatized content that is being repurposed for multiple businesses. Either way, it’s not going to accomplish anything other than populating your social channels with stuff. That’s why you need to allot a hefty budget for it.
- No paid social. Organic reach on social media is practically non-existent and has continued to plummet as social networks look to increase revenue through their paid offerings. Many reports have organic reach in the single digits which means for every 100 fans or followers you have, you’re lucky if a handful of them actually see what you post. The bottom line is that any successful social media plan HAS to have a paid element as part of it and if you’re paying a few hundred bucks per month for someone to manage that for you, there’s no chance this is part of it.
- Poor service. If you’re spending sub $1000 most agencies or consultants are not making a whole lot, and are less likely to be responsive and available to you. Agencies or consultants that charge less only make money at scale which often means at least hundreds of customers. Chances are you’re one of many and will find yourself lost in the mix.
- No strategy. You’re not going to get any strategic depth. For your social media efforts to truly make any sort of impact on your business, you need real, experienced people spending some amount of time thinking through your business and strategy. You’re just not going to get that for a couple hundred bucks a month. While growing your following should not be the sole focus of your social media strategy, it still pays to have as many followers as possible on social media platforms such as Instagram. There’s plenty of companies like Upleap that can help you get more Instagram followers.
The only exception to the above is handful of specific local business industries that can possibly supplement their social media activity with industry specific content. Business like massage therapists, dentists, lawn care are some examples of industries that can supplement with some templatized content centered around the art, science or philosophies that are fairly standard across all of those businesses. But even spending less still doesn’t replace the need for these types of businesses to still invest time and money into more personalized content and paid strategies.
For many businesses, $1000/month isn’t even enough. If you’re a larger business with closer to 20+ employees or $500k/year in revenue, you need to spend more. Typically $20-$30k/year if you really want to move the needle for your business with your social media efforts. Especially to factor incorporating social media analytics tools into the mix.
The bottom line is that investing in outsourcing your social media is just like anything else in life, you absolutely get what you pay for and if you can’t measure or justify the investments you make in marketing your business, there’s no reason in continuing those relationships.