Biggest Social Media Misconception: Nothing is FREE

Many people in marketing or not, assume getting involved with social media as a marketing tool is a no brainer because it is FREE.  Well, I am here to tell you that is NOT true.

It is FREE to access, but not to do.  That is a subtle yet critical point to make when venturing the wild west of social media.  Sure it takes a few minutes to set up a twitter account, Facebook page or a LinkedIn discussion group.  But that is when the “juice” starts running!  I know, because when I worked for the Cisco Interaction Network (online technology TV program), that is what I walked into….literally a dozen social media sites where up in running….we even had fans and followers.  Each site had a different look–no brand consistency.  There was no editorial calendar or update process.  But we were there….we were “active” in social media.  Many managers were excited we were one of the firsts on several social media platforms–from Ning groups, to tech chat rooms and discussion forums, to wikis and blogs.  Once I stepped into the job, I was already drowning…where are we? what are the usernames? passwords? who is updating what and when? who is the audience for each?  It was a reconnaissance mission the CIA would be overwhelmed by.

Here is what I learned from my mission.  It takes 10 times longer to keep a social media presence vibrant and engaging than any other marketing tool.  That doesn’t even include the strategy, or the integration into other marketing efforts.

Posts, tweets, status updates...oh my!

Just think, when you put together a print piece or an advertising campaign–you create, write, approve and publish.  Then more or less you are done.  Well social, never done.  It is on 24/7.  And the expectations….man, they are high. Just like you wouldn’t ignore someone you knew if you were face to face, same is true in social media. It is RUDE and a path to de-fanning or unfollowing with a click of the button.  You have to monitor not only for damaging info, but also opportunities…again 24/7, universal access…that adds up to tons of google alerts, tweet feeds and exponential responses and engagements.  It literally takes an army to monitor, respond, debunk and engage.

Just don’t be fooled by the FREE.  My advice…think before you profile.

  • Who is your customer or audience?
  • Where is my competition?
  • What are my goals?
  • How am I going to maintain and nurture?

Then create a plan, including a maintenance plan and updating structure.  Then dive in…I would suggest one at the time.  It is better to do one thing right than a million things wrong.



About the author

Melissa Kennedy

I am an innovative, practical problem-solver with an MBA. Pioneered one of the first social media strategic plans for a Fortune 100 company, including monthly online TV program viewed by 120,000 customers. Created a scalable channel marketing service model and established a new customer communication channel through partner web syndication. Developed marketing plan for start-up technology firm. Launched first comprehensive marketing campaign for major science and technology university's $1 Billion fund-raising effort. Award-winning performance for 15 years across functions, industries and organizations.

My passion for results goes beyond professional pursuits. I am a global facilitator and co-organizer of Startup Weekends and serve as an advocate and volunteer for many local charities including Food Bank of Central/Eastern NC, North Carolina International Affairs Council and Connected Women of North Carolina. Plus, I have served as the President for the Triangle Interactive Marketing Association,


  1. Linc

    There is no doubt the Marketing innovation you have delivered!!! Definately way way ahead of the times!!! Thanks!!!

  2. site

    Awesome post . Thank you for, posting on this blog page mate! Ill email you again! I didnt know that!

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