The Cost of Social Media

I often hear it said that social media is the best, FREE marketing tool around. This is pretty awesome… except for the fact that it’s blatantly false.

It’s interesting how many people are led astray concerning this bit of information. According to Mac Collier in his article about social media expenses, even launching a Facebook page from the ground up with limited on-going training costs anywhere from $1,500-7,500 a month for 3-6 months.

Holy guacamole. But wait… It gets better.

Social media strategy creation by a professional can cost anywhere from $3,000-$20,000…. A MONTH. A lot of this cost is shed through training and hiring of employees.

According to our book, on average, even beginner companies that are engaging in social media marketing for the first time have a team of three people. That’s three hourly/monthly salaries and three benefit packaging. The cost of employees to maintain social media isn’t weighted as significantly as it should be. However, as social media sites begin to dominate our communication spectrum, a company can’t afford to hire just any Joe-Shmo to take care of its online image. We’re talking professionals, people with degrees and extensive background in using, maintaining and analyzing social media on the web.

The cost of employment isn’t the only thing to be considered either. Training workshops, consulting, advertising, design, analytics—all of these things will end up costing the company. It’s important to be away of these expenses, and how to understand how each expenditure contributes to an overarching objective.

Just for fun, here is a nifty infographic to help you understand some of the nitty gritty details:


In the long run, understanding and expecting the expenses that social media encompasses with help the company, and help you portray how they contribute to the growth and development of the company.

By: Mariah Suddarth

Convincing Mr(s). FancyPants

aka Getting the C-Suite Buy-In


posted by Amanda


So, you’ve got your whole social media campaign plan put together, huh?  You intend to turn this company around and make the world a better place.  Right?  Well, depending on how you present your idea, you might get a big fat NO from the other side of the table.  So what do you do?

First, this:

Then, this:

Don’t worry!  Be better-prepared next time!

In this HootSuite blog post by Evan LePage, he explains how most executives still are not on the social media bandwagon.  Although most recognize that it is beneficial, they have no idea how, or even how to use it.  LinkedIn is the top platform in use by such professionals but only for recruitment and networking purposes.

DHR International and Modern Survey conducted some research among executives and the results are somewhat shocking.  The customers, the employees and the competition all use social media, but:

  • 60 percent of executives use social media less than one hour per week
  • 90 percent of the polled executives said they would use it “if it were helpful to their business.”
  • 80 per cent said they would use it more “if they thought it was a better use of their time.”

Clearly, there is some form of miscommunication going on!

Our textbook offers (p 349) a list of advice for approaching the top executives.  Your approach and presentation might quite literally make or break the success of your campaign even getting a chance to see the light of day.

Identify with the mindset of these executives
Deliver the broad brushstrokes of the big picture.  NOT the little details about increasing Facebook followers.

Show them the payoff
Bottom line, they want to know about the MONEY!  ROI is why they show up to work, so give them a reason to come back tomorrow.

Present a detailed budget request
Just as much as they want to know about the return, they will also want to know how their money is being spent up-front. And why.

Show them the timetable for reaching milestones
Be specific with the projected time.  They want to know how long they have to wait to see the results of the efforts that they might already be doubting.

Close the deal
Summarize.  Be honest about the risk, but have the crisis plan available.  Proactive measures are always more beneficial than reactive.

It’s a Fast Food War!

As you guys all know, I like Taco Bell. Okay, LOVE Taco Bell. I was super stoked when they decided to start serving breakfast. The way they decided to advertise for it was interesting, though. They decided to find actual people named Ronald McDonald and have them talk about how much they loved Taco Bell’s new breakfast. As we all know, Ronald McDonald is McDonald’s mascot! Here is a snapshot of Taco Bell’s video ad: 


Do I think it’s funny? Well, yeaaah. Taco Bell over McDonalds any day. But McDonald’s fired back! :



Will Taco Bell respond with another ad? WE SHALL SEEEE. But for now go get all the free coffee you want at McDonald’s.


Social Media Crisis

Telegraph, telephone, tell a twitter account… And it’s all downhill from there.

Okay. What am I talking about? Well. It’s simple: Social Media Crises.

We live in a day and age where social media reigns. While our Facebook and Twitter accounts are perfect for spreading message and building brand equity, they are also renowned for breaking them down as well. So, what’s the kicker? Well, the impacts are almost instantaneous. There are, however, some steps that you can follow to save face for your company during a crisis..

Buffer, an online application company, relays their tips on how they handled their social media crisis:

Do it the RIGHT way:

1.) Own the mistake

2.) Frequent, transparent update

3.) All hands-on

What NOT to do:

1.)    Going dark during a crisis

2.) Rogue employees

3.)    Keeping your cards too close

4.)    Take things personally

5.)    Let problems fester


By: Mariah Suddarth

What a disaster!

posted by: Amanda

What to pick… What to pick… What to pick…


If you Google “PR disasters”, get ready to do some reading and sorting.  For the sake of just picking one, here are Ten of the Biggest Social Media PR Disasters. Some of these, we have already covered in class. Below are the newbies.

Perhaps this is just a giant advertisement for COMM 4670 Strategic Crisis Communication because each of these situations sound AWFUL for a company to have to handle.  To be honest, I never want to have to deal with any of them.

BTW, Heapes, why isn’t Crisis Comm available in the fall??

Taco Bell
Local news stations received an anonymous tip about rats in a local Taco Bell location.  They responded and so did the consumers.

Whole Foods
A real-life lesson against trolling.  The link above provides some insight but this NY Times article from 2007 goes a little deeper.

Offered to pay people 65 cents for each 100 percent positive review left on review sites.  Because it is authentic and ethical.  Here’s more.

A D.C. man needed some help with his router so he called Comcast to send a technician to his home.  This is what happened:

Well, apparently, Dell Lies and Dell Sucks. After Jeff Jarvis purchased a new Dell laptop, things did not go as they should.  And so he told the world.

Johnson & Johnson and the American Red Cross
This one bores me. Basically, J&J were being big babies.

To generate buzz about their products, Asus created a blog competition.  X amount of bloggers would get a kit of products, blog about them and then voters would pick the best blog.  The writer of said blog would get to keep said products.  Gavyn Britton won by popular vote but Asus suddenly changed the rules after the votes were counted and picked THEIR favorite blogger.  Dumb. But wait! According to this poorly written article:
“Unfortunately, during the voting process, Electric Pig became aware that the voting system had become susceptible to a person (or people) looking to unfairly influence the outcome of the vote,” Asus spinner John Swatton told us. “One of the bloggers received in excess of 800 votes, all generated from the same IP address,” he added, but stopped short of pointing a finger at Gavyn Britton’s mum. And that for compensation for the whole debacle, Asus awarded all the other bloggers an Eee PC 1000H (an upgrade from the original Eee PC 900 prize).

KPIs, Quantitative and Qualitative Measurements for Social Media

Arguably one of the most powerful skills a PR practitioner can develop is his/her ability to measure or determine the volume of content and the sentiment toward a brand or topic on the social web.

In other words:  social media measurement.

This can be done in one of two different ways:

1.)    Quantitatively: a determination of the volume of content; i.e. the number of posts, comments, tweets, retweets, likes, and follows one receives.

2.)    Qualitatively: a determination of the sentiment of content; i.e. metrics, while mentions, comments, conversations, and feedback about a specific brand.

According to Barker, Barker, Bormann, and Neher in “Social Media Marketing: A Strategic Approach,” both of these methods are measured by a nifty little metric called Key Performance Indicators. These are a social media metric that indicates the progress of strategies in achieving goals.


However, before choosing the right social media KPI, you must have a good understanding of the social media goals that are important to your organization. As with any other marketing goal, this needs to be measurable. Next, choose a mixture of qualitative and quantitative KPIs that could accurately measure progress in achieving your goals. It is then necessary to set a baseline or benchmark to create a standard against which all social media KPIs are measured. Essentially, benchmarks/baselines establish a starting point. The last step is comparing an organization’s social media KPIs to its benchmarks over a person of time. This measures the pace and degree of progress.


It is important to remember that these steps will be applied differently per each social media outlet. For example, this article from Avinash Kaushik offers some great advice for quantitatively monitoring one of today’s most popular social media mediums: Twitter.
1.)    Don’t just utilize generic, data-puking analytics. You must make sure you create a goal, find your metric, and analyze the “what does this data mean” and “what can I do with it?”

2.)    Klout is a wonderful tool, but don’t just use it as a compound measurement to seek “influence.” Break it down into four categories: Reach, Demand, Engagement, and Velocity.

3.)    Invesitigate the analytic sites you’re using. For example, GraphEdge actually weans out the spam accounts and calculates your influence and information from more accurate, initial data.

4.)     Keep in mind that your reach is primarily dependent on “unique” names. This means that if you have ten followers and they all follow each other, your network is encapsulated within that number. 


By: Mariah Suddarth

Why Monitor Social Media?

There are many reasons why you should be monitoring all your social media outlets. lists 10 reasons. The top 5 are:

1) Reach ready prospects- Social media gives instant insight into the habits of your best prospects. 

2) Discover the influencers- Social media allows you to discover the journalists and bloggers who have the most influence on your topic. 

3) Spot the trends- Social media is like seeing the future. By monitoring it you will be able to spot the trends that will be making big news tomorrow. 

4) Monitor the competition- Using social media you can see what good things and bad things people are saying about your competition. 

5) Manage any crisis- Social media allows you to respond to a crisis immediately. has a list of 50 tools for monitoring social media. Some are free, but most of them cost a little bit of money. 

Argyle Social:











Stalkin’ folks on the ‘ol Facebook

To me, the phrase “social media monitoring” sounds like an official way to say “stalking people on Facebook”.

SOCIAL MEDIA = Facebook, Twitter, Etc.

MONITORING = Watching, observing….STALKING ??

And that might or might not be the case.

Courtesy of the textbook, below is a five-step approach to efficiently and effectively find relevant content on the social web via tracking:  (how to look stuff up well!)

1. Choose Focus Area
It is necessary to track an organization as well as its competitors.

2. Select Target-rich Platforms
Find the platform that the target audience uses.  The data will be richer and more accurate.

3. Identify the Appropriate Keywords and Phrases
Use the proper lingo!  Not everyone uses tech-speak or proper terms.  The Google Adwords Keyword Tool provides a good way to find frequently used search terms.

4. Restrict or Widen the Search
Boolean operators like AND, OR and NOT can be used in a search query to modify the results.

5. Adjust Searches
If a brand or company is new, a marketer can still find valuable information by searching its competitors or even by searching its target audience.  In addition, B2B companies will have little-to-no presence on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, but might be on LinkedIn.

Finding the source is just part of it.  Tools such as Google Alerts and RSS can help a follower monitor the appropriate sources.

Chelsea Varney says in this post on Brandwatch:
Measuring what is happening on your social networks isn’t always about measuring the big numbers.

Sometimes it’s the engagement on a particular post which can be the most precious piece of information.

If you have a small but active fanbase on Facebook, then your profile is arguably far better than that of a big brand with millions of likes yet receives little interactions on their posts.

One million silent, uninterested followers is no better than none at all.




Branded Mobile Social Networks

A branded social network is a social network created by and for a specific brand. They are typically delivered through applications on a mobile device. Users can connect with each other in some way that leads back to the brand.

Some examples:

Children with Diabetes- This is an online community which allows parents and children to connect with other families with the same type of disease. There is an online newsletter, FAQs, private chat rooms, and discussion forums for specific topics. (Book does not say brand that created this, some sort of pharmaceutical company)

SitOrSquat- This is an app created by Charmin. This app allows users to add, find, and rate nearby restrooms. Image


These type of social networks can be difficult to create. They must have a strong value incentive for the user to create yet another social media account. Before you decide to create one for your brand determine the pros and cons of using an already existing social network for marketing your brand. Some companies use their Facebook or Twitter to direct consumers to their app. It all depend on what is best for your company.

Jordan Rafferty

“Tinder” Lovin’ and Marketing: Location-Based Social Networks

First comes love. Then comes Marriage. Then comes… Tinder? And a marketing strategy… carriage… thing.

…Hold the phone!

But it’s true. With the evolution of location based marketing, more and more mobile applications are being used by marketers to engage with their public.  While Foursquare and Facebook are generally at the forefront of this strategy, there have been some new social media applications showin’ some love in the marketing arena.

Puns. Ten points for me.

So. Traditionally, location-based marketing is used by businesses to offer discounts or different promotions by asking publics to engage in the company’s social media. This can be done through checking in or liking a photo. In comes modern day, social media generation gurus who are apparently lookin’ for love in all the cyber places…

…That sounded worse than I had intended.

I digress. Ahem! With this emergence of this love-sick-sappy crew comes the application Tinder.

Basically, Tinder allows for you to create a profile that has up to five photos, your first name, your age, and a tiny tagline. Most importantly: It uses your location to connect you with others in that same area.

I would tie this all together for you, but my good friend Ankur Nagpal does a mighty fine job of doing it already in this article.