"Twitter is free. Facebook is free. Foursquare is free. TweetDeck is
(still) free. Google Alerts is free. So, social media is free, right?
Wrong. Beyond even the obvious costs – designing and building a
Foursquare application, or stepping up to a fee-based listening platform
like Alterian, Collective Intellect, Cymfony, BuzzMetrics, or Lithium's
Scout Labs, social media is far from free.
In fact, social media-based marketing costs real money. While it may
not be millions of dollars for 30 seconds of air time, making sense of
the social Web and really getting it right takes planning, creative
insight, product management, and other internal resources, all of which
have costs associated with them that you may not see at the outset.
One of the mistakes often made when contemplating the addition of
social media to an existing marketing program is failing to account for
the significant amounts of time that are required by a social media
program. For example, if your CEO begins blogging on a regular basis,
what's the cost of that person's time? If your marketing communications
team finds itself staring at 10,000 unfiltered listening results, whose
profit and loss gets hit for the hours associated with sorting them out?
Finally, if Facebook and Twitter are available to employees during work
(and for the record, I think they should be), where does this time get
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