Social media advocates are often quoted as claiming that social media is the greatest form of advertising because it is free. At Silicon Beach Training we use social media in a big way; we use it to increase exposure for our training courses. We use it to build relationships with key influencers and our customers. We also use it extensively to promote and share our flow of content generated to inform and inspire our existing customers and potential clients. One of the most important paybacks for all of this activity is it seriously improves our ranking.
I believe that Google is going to up the stakes on this one, too; social shares are going to become even stronger signals that affect page position. In order to sustain these benefits, however, we need to employ people. We employ full-time people and we need to tap many external sources for content generation, paid for in currency and in back-links. Time and people are costly commodities, so free it certainly isn’t. It’s also important to train your employees so that they fully understand the concepts behind the practice. That’s why we are constantly updating our social media training and our SEO courses to help businesses adapt and survive in challenging economic times when all of your investments need to be sustainable and, most importantly, effective at generating new business.
Whilst the possibility of using social media as a marketing tool does even out the playing field, anyone can use it and accounts are free to set up; if you are going to do it well and effectively, it is going to cost.

Most of your resources will be spent on content generation; quality content doesn’t fall into your lap. You will need to invest in the creation of quality content that may include image editing, video creation, research and keeping up to date with developments in your field.  If you are outsourcing content it will take time to find and build relationships with reliable writers who can write compelling content. If you are using tools such as MyBlogGuest to source articles for publication, or sending out requests for content to people who write content to link-build, you are going to have to sift through the rubbish to locate the gems. You need to read through everything to make sure it is accurate.
Other areas that will take investment of your time or your employees’ time will be monitoring all of your social media networks. It’s okay to keep pumping out the content, opinions and generating discussion, but it will do you more harm than good if users are trying to communicate with you and nobody is there to respond. People will comment on your content too, so you need to be responsive and answer every question with care and with thought.
Social networking is not so much about the social platforms themselves; it’s about more than technology; it’s about people – that’s the whole point! Business need to invest and train people based on their ability to write and to connect, engage, and build relationships with people. Creating social media accounts doesn’t make you an influencer. Despite our reliance on technology to make social networking possible, social media is not just about apps, WordPress, smartphones, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. It’s about knowing and understanding what makes us human and using this to connect and relate to potential customers. Once you have mastered this, people will then identify with your brand, products, and services.
The most effective social media marketing campaigns are created by combining the constant provision of quality, useful or entertaining content with a rich understanding the target audience.
Social media marketing and effective SEO campaigns will only be as good as your content writers, researchers, marketers, community managers, and designers. This is where you should be investing, so although the tools may be free, you will need to invest in people.
About the author: Silicon Beach Training provides some of the best SEO training courses and Social Media Training in the UK. We provide training all over the world but many clients love to come down to our training rooms in Brighton to enjoy our vibrant city. We don’t just teach technology, we also provide accredited business skills training courses such as PRINCE2 Practitioner and Foundation training.