Along with the benefits of social media for business, comes the cost of operating and maintaining it. Most costs of social media come from the marketing department of businesses, whereas other departments may use social media in order to bring costs down. In 2014, marketers used, on average, 9% of their budget on social media, with an increase to 13% in 2015. It is predicted that in 2019, they will be spending somewhere around 21% of their budget on social media. (Lee, 2015)The content factory reported that “creating a comprehensive strategy for social media marketing and outsourcing all work for all channels costs anywhere from $3,000-$20,000 per month, with the industry average settling between $4,000-$7,000 per month”, where marketers had a minimum of two social medias. (The Content Factory, 2011) For small and medium sized enterprises this can be a big investment to make considering it may not be effective, and they may not be able to calculate their return on the investment.
Many marketers are unsure about the effectiveness of their efforts of social media. The social examiner found that only 45% of marketers think that their Facebook efforts are effective, and seeing that 93% of marketers are using Facebook to benefit their business, it is hard to believe that less than half are benefiting. (Stelzner, 2015) This may be demoralizing for marketers, but they do recognise the benefits that can arise from social media, as 68% of marketers said that they wanted to learn more about how to market effectively on social media.
Being able to work out the return on investment has proved problematic for marketers since social media marketing begun. Stelzner reported that a shocking 88% of marketers want to know how to measure their return on investment (ROI) for social activities. Although it is one of the bigger problems that marketers face, they are beginning to overcome the problem, seeing as only 26% of marketers could calculate their ROI on social activities in 2013, compared to 37% and 42% in 2014 and 2015 respectively. (Stelzner, 2015)
The use of social media is continuously changing. In the beginning, social media was mainly used for advertising and publicity. Today, there are several aims of social media, such as developing loyal fans and trying to gain an insight into the marketplace. Trying to achieve these aims through social media may be difficult for marketers who have just begun social media marketing. The way in which marketers advertise their goods and services is also changing. Video marketing is said to be the future of content marketing according to the guardian. Cisco predict that by 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic. (Trimble, 2015) Adjusting to video content marketing is more costly and time consuming than traditional advertising, and so it is another reason for some marketers may fall behind due to a lack of resources.
Although there are many obstacles to becoming an effective social media marketer, the benefits that it brings to a business should outweigh these obstacles once it is operated effectively.
Lee, K. (2015, April). How to spend a social media budget. Retrieved Nov 26, 2015, from bufferapp.com: https://blog.bufferapp.com/social-media-marketing-budget
Stelzner, M. A. (2015, May). 2015 SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING INDUSTRY REPORT. Retrieved Nov 26, 2015, from Social Media Examiner: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/SocialMediaMarketingIndustryReport2015.pdf
The Content Factory. (2011). How much does social media marketing cost. Retrieved November 26, 2015, from contentfac.com: http://www.contentfac.com/how-much-does-social-media-marketing-cost/
Trimble, C. (2015, July 30). Why online video is the future of content marketing. Retrieved Nov 26, 2015, from The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2014/jan/14/video-content-marketing-media-online