I often see entrepreneurs asking for free or low cost marketing tactics and the advice given is ‘to get onto social media because it’s free’.

Whilst joining social media platforms is free, using them requires time and sometimes money and other resources.

So, we know that it’s not free, but what DO we invest in?

Some of the investments in social media are:

1. Your time

Your time is valuable, you only have a certain number of hours per day and you have to choose what you wish to do with that time. If you decide to put it towards creating and scheduling content for your social media platforms, you are not using it for other tasks in your business. Tasks that could be generating income.

2. Payment for resources

If you’re not a skilled designer, you may want to get some images designed that showcase your brand and have engaging content. Images tend to perform better on social media, so you want to make sure that yours stand out in a crowded news feed. Your designer will charge for designing these images.

You may want to outsource your social media management, mainly because you prefer to stay in your zone of genius and focus on income generating tasks. Investing in a social media manager will require you to invest some dollars.

3. Advertising fees

Especially on Facebook, advertising is a great way to increase your reach and get in front of more ‘eye balls’. I’ve heard a lot of businesses complain that organic reach is down, and yes, if you are talking about promotional posts I have to agree. In terms of engaging posts, it depends on how engaging your content is and how much you post. I recommend aiming for 80% social content and 20% subtle sales content. Of this 20% I would put some advertising spend towards it to ensure it is shown to more of your fans and people who are not fans just yet.

I think a better way to formulate the cost of social media, is to say that social media requires a low upfront investment but it’s certainly not free. If done well, you will most certainly reap the rewards.