Is social media marketing too labor intensive?

I was looking at a list of clients that I had worked with over the past couple of years and it’s well over 40.  It’s not a big number, but what caught my eye was that I had created a matrix of what I had done specifically for each client.

More importantly what struck me was that as much as I had done, in the grand scheme of things, a lot was predicated on how much the company I was working with embraced what I was doing.

It’s easy to assume someone is not working when it seems something is not working…

Some of these companies embraced what I did and others did not, so the results were mixed. In some cases, I made mistakes, which made me better the next time I did it, but it also gave some individuals within these companies the notion that social media does not work. What they needed to say was that, “We needed to give it more time”.

Here’s what’s interesting.

“Doing” Social media can sometimes give you the impression or sense that you have done or accomplished a lot, but the reality is that as a channel, as a stand alone entity, it needs the support of a lot of other “things” in order to truly “work” and be most effective. And then, it works best if it’s in conjunction with all the other activities, marketing or otherwise within your organization or the organization you’re working with.

What do those activities look like? Here is a slight list of some of the activities that were done with my clients and that I do for clients.

  • Increase awareness of and interaction with a company’s brand through brand mentions and participation in social networks
  • Create a community for customers and fans
  • Create new business opportunities or leads through landing pages and targeted email campaigns supported by social media
  • Create listening posts
  • Monitor Buzz, mentions and opportunities
  • Instruct and show companies and clients how to use social networks to sell directly to consumers
  • Build and create databases
  • Increase traffic to websites through social bookmarking
  • Create and manage Facebook fan pages for products, communities and companies
  • Create microsites using social platform providers
  • Create and manage multiple blogs
  • Show and educate brands and companies how to use social networks and how to act on those social networks
  • Create and Post videos
  • Create widgets
  • Create customized social media landing pages to reflect brand
  • Did/Do a ton of research on clients, their partners and/or their vendors through their social media presence and engagement
  • Write  key word rich/tagged social content to optimize search
  • Engage brand champions to become consumers, creators and leaders within communities
  • Measure everything

So as you can see, it’s a lot, and it’s not even a complete list of all the things that I have done or that it can encompass.  Funny thing is, that social media can sometimes give you the sense or a business for that matter, as I said, that you’ve accomplished a lot more than you really have. Or at least that might be the false perception of the client. The actuality again, as has been said many times by myself and others, is that social media marketing and engagement is very labor intensive. You just have to look under the hood. How do you feel about that?


12 Responses to “Is social media marketing too labor intensive?”

  1. 1 Adam Cohen May 28, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Not only are these activities labor intensive, the labor increases relative to the level of success and engagement within each tactic. Hmm – you;ve inspired a blog post, coming shortly…

  2. 2 marc meyer May 28, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    @adam, What a great point that I neglected to point out Adam..The other side being successful implementation which leads to more labor because of the quality of the engagement!! Looking forward to reading it!

  3. 3 Cindi May 28, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    anything worth doing is worth doing…


    and yes…all those things are labor intensive. But then so is rowing a boat…you want to sit still and never move or do you want to pick up the oars and create some waves? 🙂

    and since you asked the question and then listed what you do for your clients…what exactly is labor intensive for them? or did I misread it? these were things you suggested for them to do or services you provided for clients. *scratching my head*

  4. 4 marc meyer May 28, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    @Cindi I’m sorry that you misinterpreted what I have written. That’s my fault for not being better at articulating what I am thinking, I’ll add that to the list of things that are labor intensive for me. and yes you’re right, rowing a boat is labor intensive too.:)

  5. 5 John McTigue May 29, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    I think the term social media marketing is too narrow for what really needs to be done for clients looking to put social media to work. It’s a combination of what we used to call PR, content marketing, social networking, seo, social marketing campaigns, and all of the other things you include in your list. There is a lot to do, and you really need to try (at least) to measure the effectiveness of each channel to improve your strategy as you go. This is the most difficult part of selling these services – an itemized list of activities (with hours per activity) just doesn’t do the project justice, even though it may be required for a budget. I’d love to hear your take on how to market your services to prospective clients in light of what you know about the labor required.

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Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.


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