ESM Digital's Higher Ed Marketing Blog

The Cost of Social Media: 4 Reasons it’s Getting More Expensive

For a long time people have thought the cost of social media was free. The assumption was that since it’s free to create profiles or pages on social media sites and post to them, that there’s no cost. Well, that’s wrong. And if you have this belief going into 2014, then your marketing is going to suffer.

A brand or school’s social media presence should never be left up to the intern or entry level professional. More and more schools are starting to outsource their social media marketing to agencies because there’s so much to keep up with and not enough time in the day. In fact, according to eMarketer, content creation, video marketing, and social media content creation has become a $118.4 billion dollar industry.

In addition, social media is becoming more competitive by the day, making it more difficult for brands to keep up. Sites such as Facebook realize they can charge money for the privilege of having content reach fans, resulting in a significant drop in organic reach. In a recent Ad Age article, Facebook told marketers to consider paid distribution of their content “to maximize delivery of your message in news feed.”

In order to keep up with how fast social media networks are changing, schools are allocating more resources and implementing more advanced distribution strategies. Simply creating valuable content and engaging with your online community is no longer enough. Check out the list of 4 ways the cost of social media is going up and how schools will spend more money on it in 2014:

Content creation

In order to stand out from other schools, the quality of content needs to be better than what you’re used to. Shooting videos on your iPhone or Android is still fine, but be sure to mix in higher quality video as well. For example, if you’re creating a video to show off a campus, consider having it done professionally. There should also be a plan in place to produce even more valuable content than you’re already doing. Think about different ways to show off your students, graduates, and instructors. Content creation is being taken to the next level – don’t get left behind!

Paid media

Paid ads and sponsored content will guarantee that people are seeing your posts. Since you’re investing more money into social media and content creation, it would be a waste if no one was seeing it. In addition, paid media will boost your “organic” reach of other content. The lesson here is that you need to pay to increase your reach. If you’re still not convinced that you need to pay to have your content seen, check out Facebook Organic Reach Continues to Decline.

Monitoring conversations and sentiment

Your students are online, listening to their peers, and making recommendations. What are they saying about your school? Monitoring conversations and tracking sentiment helps to identify problems early on before they spiral out of control. It also helps to identify the positive influencers and prospective students. If your school can engage with a prospect during their decision process and answer any questions, that will stand out when they’re ready to choose their school. Learn more about the Reputation Management services that Effective Student Marketing offers here.

Outsourcing social media marketing

As you create more content and implement a more advanced paid distribution strategy, it’ll soon be obvious that one person can’t handle your school’s social media presence. More people will be needed to create content, moderate, measure, analyze, and continuously revise the strategy to keep up. In order to have the best advantage over your competition, you should consider hiring an agency to take on the role.

Takeaway

The cost of social media is going up because of the competitiveness on the sites. With the majority of schools, businesses, and companies on social media, these sites know they can make you pay in order to have content reach fans! A few years ago you could find a company or school that didn’t have a Facebook or Twitter presence. Nowadays that’s unheard of. How does your school plan to keep up in 2014? Let us know in the comments below!

If your school needs help implementing social media, content, and content distribution strategies Effective Student Marketing can help! Request your free consultation now.