Why Do So Many Small Businesses Believe Social Media Is Free?

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

Many small business owners today still think that social media is free to use and market with. If they get approached by someone to manage their social media or do social marketing ads they think they don’t need it. They begin to say their child, niece or nephew manages their Facebook page and or Instagram or Twitter.

They then go on to say social media marketing isn’t working for them.  These small business owners go on to say that word of mouth is what works best for them.

Social Media Free

Social Media Free

1. Isn’t Social Media Word of Mouth Today?

If people are online – on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter isn’t that another form of word of mouth? If people are talking, networking and such on these networks it is form of word of mouth. And that mouthpiece can be large depending on one’s social circle.

Small businesses tend to shy away from networking on the social networks and push their content out. Most of the time the content is announcing their sales or products. That does not work well on social media. People like being informed on social media but not sold to.

2. Social Media Ads

Social Media Ads

Social Media Ads

To get a small business ahead of the curve they must invest in time or money. Purchasing ads on social media does help spread the word out. They can target people who are interested in their products or services. They can target via where people live and what their demographics are.

It is just like spending money with Google ads. IF you want to be found online you can spend a lot of time doing your own SEO or pay for ads on the Google network to be found asap. Even if you pay for SEO services they take up to 6 months to begin to work.

3. It Cost Time or Money

Most things in life either cost money or take time. There is no getting around this. Therefore, the same holds true for social media. You either must spend a lot of time managing your social networks or spend ads on them where people today are spending time. (it’s like the SEO services mentioned above).

According to Statista the average person today spends just over 2 hours a day on social media. That is over 2 hours per day = 14 hours per week! That is more time than is being spent watching TV.  If you are not marketing to this audience today you are truly missing out.

According to Hootsuite social media advertising revenue is forecast at $51.3 billion USD for 2018. That’s $17.24 per user. Revenue is set to grow 10.5 percent annually.

Social media is open 24/7. That means you need to have quick response time around the clock today to monitor your brand and answer customers questions, etc. There are tools like chatbots that can help out with that. (Another cost to add to your social media marketing budget!)

4. How Content Helps Your Social Media Efforts

Social Content

Social Content

When a small business has a story to tell having that content on their website is key today. A company’s website is the hub of their digital footprint. As mentioned earlier content is being evolved more and more as more business are using it for their marketing efforts today.

Being able to share from a company website’s blog to social media is a great way to promote services and products without pushing them out. Social media is not the place to use push marketing.

5. It’s Not All Writing Either for the Content

Today’s content includes video’s, infographics, emoji’s, and much more. It’s not just text and the written word anymore that make up what is being shared on social media.

Marketers need to have photography skills and much more to make the content stand out from the rest when being shared on the social networks.

Tools like Canva come in handy for marketers to create these types of images and content marketing pieces to stand out when posting or advertising on social media today.

Companies also need to have fast websites and a great hosting company to make it all happen. People today have no patience for slow websites!

6. Why Social Media Costs More Today Than Before



Most prices in life do go up. How often do you see prices going down? When social media began it was FREE. The algorithms allowed for everyone to see what everyone else had posted. There was no cost for anyone to join any of the networks.

How would these businesses like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter make money and survive? They had to rely on ads. But it was tricky. Not everyone wanted to see ads. So, they changed up the algorithms – especially over on Facebook. Businesses posts over time would not be seen organically.

These businesses had to purchase ads or even “post boosts” (different than ads) to get their messages seen by their followers. It became a pay to play arena. The social networks got clever by offering ads in the timelines instead of over on the side bars.

7. Clever Marketing for Social Media

The social networks had to become clever. They wanted the ads to be part of their networks. They realized they had so much information on the users that they could offer better targeting than even Google! (Then of course, came the Cambridge Analytics fiasco.

That shift in advertising was huge. That is when money began pouring into Facebook and later the other social networks for advertising. At the same time print began to lose money big time for advertisements. Businesses were starting to advertise more digitally. Google now had a competitor in the marketplace.

8. Going Forward for Social Media Marketing

It will be interesting to see how it all plays out after the Cambridge Analytics and how third-party information will not be able to be used in the future. Marketers will once again have to become very clever in the way in which they market. There will have to be new ideas and new ways to reach people.

Niche marketing may be the answer. But one will have to have permission from people before emailing them or contact them in other ways or means. Personalization will become more clear and unique.

People love being part of a story and marketers will find ways to include customers and future customers in part of their featured content. This is how content will get great shares and increase a brand’s awareness along with their products and services.

2 responses to “Why Do So Many Small Businesses Believe Social Media Is Free?”

  1. Robert says:

    Social media for small business is often something that gets regulated to the “whenever I have the time” category. But inconsistent activity isn’t a good look for any brand.

  2. Robert says:

    By simply having active “social media” profiles, you’re actually doing your business a favor & increasing its visibility through “search result pages.” Interacting with consumers on social media is an important marketing strategy for “small businesses.” Using social media helps you build brand awareness, increase your customer base, and connect with current customers.

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