Using Social Media isn’t “Free”

In the article “P&G To Lay Off 1,600 After Discovering It’s Free To Advertise On Facebook​” published in Business Insider, it is reported that one of the world’s biggest advertisers, Procter & Gamble, “would lay off 1,600 staffers, including marketers, as part of a cost-cutting exercise.”

P&G is one of many major marketing organizations finally waking up to the effectiveness and cost efficiency (when compared to traditional media like print and TV) of using digital media, especially social media like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

One troubling reference however is the notion that social media is “free”. While using social media as a communications channel is certainly very cost effective, especially on a cost-per-reach or cost-per-engagement basis, mounting an effective social media strategy does require sustained investment.

For example, SingTel has succeeded in growing its Facebook fan base from less than 8,000 fans in January 2011 to over 95,000 fans today by dedicating both team resources and marketing dollars towards content creation, web development and advertising. While growing the number of “fans” is not the goal in itself, having a larger fan community is what enables SingTel to spread its message to thousands of unique individuals without dramatic incremental costs. Having a large fan base is what allows each of our wall posts to appear on over 40,000 unique screens and our Youtube videos​ be viewed over 70,000 times. These are numbers that are on par with traditional media yet achieved at the fraction of the cost.

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