Are you paying too much for your Social Media campaign?

It’s happened to the best of us. We invite a sales consultant into our office and have them demonstrate a product or service for us. They whip out a binder or slide-deck of compelling information and data points. Their voice whistles along as they speak about the features and benefits. You are hooked. Then you ask the fateful question. “So how much does something like that cost?”

Consultants many times answer this question with “It depends”. I tend to lean towards full disclosure. While I am not the first to disclose what a Community Manager makes, I may be the first to disclose the costs involved in social media in comparison with other forms of traditional media.42-20042189

I tell companies that I usually charge $499 to setup a blog site, tuned for the search engines, loaded with features and set to effectively market their product. This blog also allows them the ability to update their own content.

“Well.. I don’t have time to write my own content” is the next thing that my clients usually say. OK, I can create unique, creative content to build your brand for between $200 and $300 per month.

$499 one time.
Total first year investment: $3,499

Once presented with the initial years expense many owners will balk at the price stating that they cannot commit that sort of funding to this type of marketing. So, I then set off to find out what these businesses were spending on other sorts of media advertising.

  • 10 day radio spot on one station in a medium sized market: $10,000-$15,000
  • Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising: $3,500 per month
    • Total first year investment for ONE PPC campaign: $42,000
  • Billboard cost: $1,000 and $2,500 per month
    • Total first year investment for ONE billboard ad: $12,000-$30,000
  • Direct postcard mailing to 10,000 households: $3,800 one time
    • Total first year investment to send out 4 postcards per year: $15,200
  • Yellow Pages 1 inch listing: $30-175 per month
    • Total first year investment for ONE Yellow Pages 1 inch listing: $360-$2,100
  • Two magnetic signs for your car/truck: $300 one time cost
  • Pack of 1,000 business cards: $50 one time cost

As you can see, my social media rates sit somewhere between  the 1 inch advertisement in the yellow pages and sending out 10,000 post cards 4 times a year. Available 7x24x365 social media is a very affordable form of advertising. And unlike the yellow pages or post cards, your customer distribution grows exponentially for free. Say 1000 people look at your blog in the first month. 3,000 in the third, and so on and so on. Very quickly you find that you have exceeded the distribution targets of both the yellow pages and direct mail campaigns.

Now that I have fully enraged Community Managers everywhere by revealing my Social Media pricing, I have to throw out a few caveats.

  • First, I am a full-time blogger and can handle multiple campaigns at once. We buy in bulk and pass the savings on to you!
  • Second, I live in the Midwest so I don’t have the overhead my friends on the coasts do.
  • Third, while my rates demonstrate my average blogging and SM consulting fees, I do have several customers with complex needs who pay significantly higher rates.

Again I have to ask.. Are you paying too much for your Social Media campaign?
Is it slurping up cash like a freight train? Does it keep you from paying your utility bill or from sleeping at night? Then yes.. you are probably paying too much, but overall social media has demonstrated that it can be highly effective at reaching more people who are better targets for your advertising dollars with a higher propensity to buy. Think higher conversion. Think Socially.

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