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Business Beat - No such thing as "free" social media marketing

April 18, 2022 @ 9:30am

I’ve been messing around with social media since 1998, and even back then, we knew it would be an ever-evolving marketing beast for businesses of all sizes.

I have never claimed to be a social media expert, I simply consider myself an eternal student of social media. Everything I studied and learned about social media in 1998 became utterly useless by 1999, and everything I learned that year became completely useless the year after. Social media has moved at the speed of light and staying updated on all the changes and trends is enough to drive any entrepreneur crazy. I’m still pulling my hair out over the changes with the Meta Facebook thing. Ugh.

However, I think the biggest problem with social media marketing is that some small business owners and managers think it is “free.” I always cringe when I hear this because I know how much time the Editor of and the Jewel Theatre Manager spend trying to provide good consistent content on social media. While it may not cost anything to set up social media pages for your business, it will take a lot of time to do it effectively. When I hear business owners say, “I just use social media because it is free,” I can tell you that small business owner likely either isn’t spending enough time on social media marketing (either in planning, execution or review), they haven’t clocked the time it takes to do their social media, or they don’t pay themselves.

Knowing you need social media for your business is not enough; you need to build social media funding into your budget just like any other marketing. If you were working for another company, you would get paid because your time is worth something. Anyone doing social media for your business needs time to do it and their time (and yours!) is worth money therefore, you need a budget for social media marketing.

Another problem I often see with small businesses and organizations using social media marketing is that there was never a plan on who would manage the social media or a discussion on the best content to reflect the business's goals. An effective social media marketing plan requires what I call “One to do it and two to talk it.” One person has to be given the time and authority to manage your social media marketing, and they need at least one other person to discuss the content with for feedback and ideas to ensure there is a consistent message.

“[Social Media] Presence does not maintain itself, and while content has its unique half-life on each platform, no platform is designed to benefit an account that lies idle. - Jemully Social Media

I could go on here for many pages about branding, best practices, when to post, what platforms work best for which businesses, videos, how to get followers, blogging, websites, etc. There is tons to talk about on this topic; however, for those of you who are struggling with social media marketing or new to being an entrepreneur, here are a few basics :

  1. Find someone who enjoys social media to manage it. Assigning it to someone who doesn’t like it, or doesn’t see the value in social media, NEVER works.

  2. Make social media part of a weekly meeting. If you don’t do weekly meetings, set aside 15 minutes a week just to discuss social media with your social media manager.

  3. Decide what exactly you will post on social media and when.

  4. After one week, review the posts for content and try to add more value for your customer. Maybe try different times for posts to be published according to their content. An excellent example of post timing is Brenda’s Cozy Café consistently posting their lunch specials every morning. Or, post times could refer to something seasonal like Stettler Building Supplies promoting their greenhouses right now.

  5. By the time the 3rd meeting rolls around, you and your social media manager will have more to discuss to fine-tune your posts ensuring even more value to your customers and to your business. You’ll find a method and begin to find your “voice.”

  6. Post consistently. If you need help with this, there are many ways to schedule your posts with Social Media Publishers like Hootsuite or Sprout.

  7. Don’t always push selling, have a little fun. PatchouliMint gives us the occasional fun videos of the ladies goofing around when nobody is in the store or check out Aspen Ford’s Facebook page for their “4 o’clock Funny”. These fun posts connect us with people in our community and this connects us with the business and organizations they work in.

  8. Don’t sweat the screwups! Just keep swimming!

  9. Google specific questions you have and try to learn something small every week.

You don't have to be perfect with social media just be determined!

Wendy Rairdan

Owner Rairdan Services, Inc.


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