Christian Brothers Services (CBS) has posted on its website concise and clear answers to eleven frequently asked questions about social media. I would like to comment on their second question and answer today: Is social media free? Here is their answer:
Yes, most of the social media tools are free to use. Although, just like in the public relations field, there may be a cost involved with utilizing the time and expertise of professionals you may hire to brand, promote, and develop quality content. While some companies may be hesitant to pay for a social media agency, often times by hiring an agency, the company could possibly save internal resources and be provided with strategy, direction, and positive results.
As CBS indicates, most social media tools such as blog software, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are free. Dioceses, parishes, organizations, and religious communities may have people on staff who are adept at learning how to use these tools and are providing social media services to the organization. Staff members taking on these responsibilities need time (equals money) to learn best practices; to keep up with advances or changes in the tools; to research, create and upload the content; and to stay in contact with those who respond. The more sophisticated the tool, the longer the learning curve. Organizational leaders must allow staff the time to do what is required to use social media tools consistently well.
In some organizations, volunteers provide website and social media services. Someone from the staff still needs to work with them to make sure that they are on message and providing high quality service.
Social Media Managers
Lastly, an organization may hire someone to manage their social media for them. Social media managers offer a variety of services. They set up the profiles, ghost write and post content, script and record videos or podcasts, respond to some or most comments and questions. If they are to do a good job, someone from the organization will need to work along with them to assure the right message and the best responses.
The Cost of Getting It Right
While social media tools are often free, organizations that wish to use them to advance their mission invest time, effort and human resources to use them well. Whether social media is handled in-house, with volunteers or outside contractors, it is best to have a social media plan, guidelines regarding content and a line of accountability for all involved. Using social media for mission is using it to build and strengthen relationships with members, potential members, customers, donors and those we serve. It is too important not to do well.
Your comments are most welcome.
Click here to find all eleven questions answered by Christian Brother Services.