‘Value For Money’ – those three simple words which are so important in these turbulent times. When it comes to social media, a big question you’ll be asked is “Does it provide value for money to your organisation?”
“Yes!” I hear you cry. “It’s free! It definitely provides VFM…”
But is that really the case?
I must admit I struggled with this question when setting up Flagship‘s Facebook and Twitter profiles. Yes, social media channels are free and take literally minutes to set up, but there are so many added costs involved that you do need to consider.
Your time is a cost to your business. Managing social media effectively is a cost – it should not be seen as a role just ‘tacked on’ to your day job. You need to be proactive, to formulate plans, to schedule updates, to react to feedback and sometimes crisis manage. After all, if you set up a Facebook profile you will receive complaints and you will need to implement a process to manage them.
I tend to spend around 2-3 hours a day in managing Flagship’s social media. This involves engaging with followers and friends, writing and updating the website and pointing people to new developments and new content. I work closely with staff in our contact centre (two are appointed to specifically deal with complaints) and am in regular contact with them so they understand what I’m doing on the engagement side, and flag up issues they may not have seen complaint-wise.
I would estimate that social media takes up around 30 hours a week in total across our group – and when you think about it like that it’s virtually a full-time role – something you need to seriously consider if you want to do social media successfully.
2) External fees
As I spoke about in previous posts, advertising Flagship’s Facebook and Twitter profiles has come at a financial cost to us. We designed a poster to display in reception areas and community notice boards, we paid a small fee to set up the ‘F’ and ‘T’ buttons on our website and embedded on email disclaimers. We also have these displayed on company vans and signage… all of these costs do add up.
3) Prize draws and competitions
We have found that holding prize draws when we reach a friend target or a competition specifically for social media friends are extremely popular. These are very small prizes, perhaps £10 or £20 at the most and take the shape of Love2Shop vouchers, but do they provide VFM? Although we only have 700 friends out of 21,000 properties, I would argue that they do…
- You will get positive feedback from friends who will engage with you
- You can generate some excellent publicity and advertise this in your tenant newsletters
- You can use it to demonstrate how many people you can hit with a simple update through the page impressions….after all, sending out 700 letters costs far more than £10!
However, if you plan to go down this route, make sure that as many people know you are holding a prize draw or competition as possible. Also remember to stipulate that it is only for your tenants only – else you could leave yourself open to criticism.
Overall, I do think social media provides value for money. It’s a free and instant way to reach and engage with your tenants, provide them with information and generate some excellent feedback. However, there are costs involved which need to be carefully considered – if you are happy you can assign adequate resources to it and are able to advertise it in ways other than your customer newsletter then go for it!