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Resourcing for Social Media

Gone are the days of “set and forget”. Social media websites continuously change their layouts, their graphic requirements and their features. Some of them will gradually disappear, merge, or morph into something completely different. Only recently, Facebook introduced Timeline, the new layout for individual profiles, followed soon after with the new Timeline for businesses. By the time we got around to organize 5 photos in a row for the featured images, we had to scrape it and find one larger image to be the Timeline Cover.  The profile picture (avatar) also has changed in size and now stands on 160x160px.

Google have also completely overhauled their front end with Google+, making user experience easier (!?) and more streamlined. Although this time we didn’t have to change the profile page, we did need to adjust to the new layout.

We see this pattern of behaviour repeating across all networks, from the dominant Facebook /  Twitter / LinkedIn to the smaller ones – Foursquare, Path, and Pinterest.

No Biggie, right? Things change, and we’re ok with that, right? I wish… Although companies may say they understand the social media space, their budget allocation shows the exact opposite.

In many cases, companies allocate minimum resources to social media. A recent study has shown companies around the world allocate less then 10% of their marketing budget to social media activities. A couple of weeks ago I was made aware of a major company (mainly B2C), with revenues in the $10s of Billions, asking marketing and advertising agencies to bid for outsourcing their Social Media activities, allocating up-to $60,000 PA. This includes setup, content calendar, ongoing maintenance, responses and monitoring, detailed progress reports, and campaign management. This particular company have realised that they need to participate in social media activities. By reading their brief they understand the importance and magnitude, but their budget doesn’t reflect this. What is likely going to happen is that the company ending up winning that tender will allocate some time to set up the networks and tools, and put it on autopilot, scheduling posts and updates months in advance, and try to keep up with the inflow of information. Since the time allocated on an ongoing basis will be minimal, there will be no time or money to keep track and update the appearance and functionality of the social networks. But as the company will be expected to keep on top of things, and in order to keep the account (it’s a major global brand, after all), they will allocate more resources than they are paid for.

What we need to keep in mind, that social media changes daily. It would’ve been great to have a Facebook page, a twitter account, schedule some updates and be done with it. Unfortunately this isn’t the case. Social Media takes a lot of time and effort. It’s no longer a question of whether or not we need to participate – many companies are already over this hurdle. Now it’s a question of how seriously we take Social Media, and what resources are we allocating to it. It’s perfectly ok to outsource some of your social media activities. There are companies out there who will monitor, design, create copy, and ran campaigns on your behalf. What’s NOT ok is to think that that’s where it ends.

Since social media is a two-way communication platform, people will talk TO you, ABOUT you, and you’d need to respond. NO ONE can do this for you, successfully. You would have to have someone internally to analyse the reports, to respond to inquiries and comments (negative or positive), and implement changes to your products or services as market demand.

What internal resources does your company allocate to Social Media?