The Americans have this saying that if you pay peanuts you get monkeys.

The tools for Social Media activities online are mostly free, but does this mean that you can have your Social Media campaign done without any cost?

B.L. Ochman for BusinessWeek wrote that your Social Media can come cheap, but it is not free.

Wrote Ochman,

The budget for an effective social media marketing campaign begins at $50,000 for two to three months. I'm sure companies have spent less, and I know they've spent more.

Building a site that incorporates interactivity, allows user-generated content, and perhaps also includes e-commerce doesn't come cheap from anyone who knows what they are doing. Even taking free software like WordPress and making it function as an effective interactive site, incorporating e-commerce, creating style sheets that integrate with the company's branding, takes more than time. That takes skill, experience, and money.

Though I have not been given $50,000 for a two-three month campaign yet, it is important that while the tools are free, the executor doesn’t come free.

Take for example starting a blog, you could get it out into the blog-o-sphere within minutes but ensuring that you have the right content to get your target audience in requires time and effort.

This time and effort indeed requires the skill, experience and money.

For example, your blogging effort might need an editorial calendar to ensure that you have regular updates.

You might want a video or podcast and that will require somebody who can angle the camera angle at the right position and the skills for editing, unless you want it raw and uncut.

Where does the cheap come in?

Obviously, the tools and the medium. For example, if you wanted to put a commercial on TV, you have to pay for that airtime that would cost you $50,000 for 30secs.

As Social Media is still at its infancy stage, you should still consider traditional medium as part of your marketing mix and optimise your marketing activities.

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