What am I getting for my social media marketing services budget?

Social Media Strategy and Management – How Much Do I Get for My Money?

When your car needs repairs, you know you’ll have a bill for parts and labor. Did you know that the hours listed on your bill might have no basis at all in reality? Yes, it’s true. I heard it on CarTalk. Seriously, though (and I am serious about CarTalk), most auto repair shops standardize pricing for common auto repair tasks. Timing belt on a ’95 Honda Civic? That’ll be 5 hours labor (I’m guessing – do they even have a timing belt? I digress). It may be that the work is done by a mechanic so experienced that it’ll take him 90 minutes, or it may be done by his kid who takes 7 hours and What am I getting for my social media marketing services budget? via @scalablesocial http://scalablesocialmedia.com/2014/07/social-media-strategy-management-much-get-money/requires a trip to the ER. In either case, you’re paying for 5 hours.

“Outrageous,” you say! “A rip-off,” you cry! But I ask you – did you get your timing belt changed? Does it really matter to you whether it took two guys two hours each, or one guy 8 hours to get it done? Not if your car is running. Not if you knew what you were going to pay. It’s just that somehow, we have been trained to believe that we must have an itemized breakdown of exactly what we are paying for – or we’re just a little squeamish about handing over the credit card.

And really, it’s no wonder. If we don’t understand something (like cars, or social media) we are always afraid we’ll be cheated. And sometimes we are! Still, when someone wants me to tell them how many hours a week will go in to my social media services, or how many interactions I’ll complete on Facebook, I shudder. Then I explain. Then sometimes I run away.

Why We Don’t Itemize Social Media Services

When we propose social media services, typically we start with a look at your customers, their pain points, their motivations and their behaviors. Then we determine your goals. Then we devise a strategy for social media which would include which platforms we’ll focus on, what content will be behind the social updates, etc. Then we do what works.

If we tell someone that we will use best practices to increase traffic and lead generation using Pinterest, we might mention certain activities such as participating in group boards, commenting on pins, following relevant accounts, etc. This is not so that we have a formula to follow, it’s so that the potential customer has a very high-level understanding of what goes in to the management.

If I were to tell you that we’ll pin 3 times a day, comment once and network weekly, then I find that is working but it isn’t enough, but what we’re doing on Facebook isn’t working at all, we need to be able to shift on-the-fly.

Then there’s the question, “Well, can you tell me how much TIME you’ll be spending, then?” No, not really. I mean, I can estimate how much time it will take between me and the community manager and writers, designers, etc. but it might be more this week and less next week. I’m not trying to be evasive, it just takes the time it takes to do it right. And we will always do it right.

Just like that seasoned auto mechanic who can change your timing belt in his sleep in a third of the time you’d expect, the hours we spend might now seem like a lot to you. You might think, “Hey, I could pay my kid $10 an hour to do that!” But, you are investing in your business, and it’s worth investing in the experience of those you hire to promote it.

Why This Doesn’t Mean I Expect You to “Just Trust Me”

I get it. Honest. I like to know exactly what I’m paying for, too. But, what I’m more interested in is, did it work? Am I happy with the results? It’s the same thing when it comes to your social media strategy. Aren’t you more interested in knowing that you’re reaching your goals than in seeing that I checked off all 10 promised daily Tweets? Sure you are!

To that end, we set up tracking methods and reporting that will allow us to show you what is working. Even better, this shows us how to adjust our efforts.

So, while I can’t tell you how many hours a week or month or how many actions I’ll take, I can promise you this – I will do what will work. Just like your auto mechanic (I hope). What I do differently is I don’t tell you how much time I’ll spend. That way, when your water pump replacement bill shows 8 hours of labor, but you only dropped it off 6 hours ago, you won’t wonder if I’m cheating you. I’m doing what works and you will know it!

Social Media – What You Get for Your Money

There are some checklist items we can include:

  • A strategy.
  • Assurance that the foundation is in place to meet your goals, or assistance in putting this in place.
  • Your social profiles will be optimized.
  • We’ll prioritize our efforts based on your goals, your audience and your budget.
  • We’ll use best practices on every platform.
  • We will always be professional.
  • You will know what is working.

Your turn! Does that assurance work for you, or would you refuse to do business with a company that wouldn’t specifically outline every step they take in filling your social media needs? If you provide social media services, how do you handle this question of “What (exactly) am I getting for my money?”


Article Name
Social Media Strategy and Management – How Much Do I Get for My Money?
Why some marketing agencies don’t supply a task-by-task or hourly breakdown of services provided. Guess what? Your auto mechanic doesn’t either!

About the Author Alisa Meredith (311 Posts)

As co-owner and chief inbound marketing consultant at Scalable Social Media, Alisa Meredith spends a lot of time keeping up with online marketing trends for the benefit of our customers. Computers have been a passion of hers since her first T1-99, so inbound and social media marketing is a natural fit.

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