Social media and networking is hot hot hot! More and more businesses are wanting it. But few know how much work is involved with running social media for a business. Doing it well can create a steady rythm of sales for a product or service professionals. Doing it poorly can dry up a brand by making it look old and ancient even if it's alive and kicking and screaming to get more sales. We talked with Nathan Kirk, a successful and full time social networker for brands including Palmetto Cheese, a South Carolina based cheese spread that has "spread" into grocery stores and tummies all over the country. Here is what he told Tin Shingle:
Time spent on social media varies on the client. Palmetto Cheese, for example, is all encompassing. I spend on average 20+ hours a week on social media. I do research and create the photography or graphics needed for each post and also program the website if it's something I'm trying to direct people to on the site or blog. What you put out in social media feeds can impact what you put on the website, so it's good to have your web team be in contact with your social media editor so that messages can be consistent and timely.
A brand usually has several social media streams they need to be active on. At Palmetto Cheese, we have Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, Instagram, and Youtube to send all the same materials out on. But sending out a message or photo into a social stream is just the first step. Then of course is time spent monitoring the reaction to the information. In the case of Palmetto Cheese, more time is needed to monitor our Facebook page than other social media feeds because of the response rate.
Several other clients might just want ads created and monitored and not post creation and story telling. Or they just might want an initial webpage setup with graphics and direction on what to do. In that case, just a few hours a week is allotted for a client project. Because of the level of attention needed, I limit how much I offer social media services, since I also do graphic design, website programming, photography, video and of course tech support since I'm apparently the geek everyone calls, LOL.
Most clients don't understand the costs involved with social media until they start doing it themselves and realize it's more than pressing a few buttons and posting a question or a link. There is no easy button. No quick tricks. And unfortunately, the technology powering social media platforms changes daily, as do some of the rules, or what social media platforms want to start charging ad rates for. Yes, something can be free one day, and the next day there is a charge for it because the platform wants to monetize activity from businesses trying to reach people.