Business Magazine

Ending the Money Grab

Posted on the 04 September 2011 by Alizasherman @alizasherman

Stock-moneygrab I think I've seen enough "Discover the Secrets of Social Media" messages, haven't you? I'm also starting to get riled up when I see what some agencies are charging for basic social media channel set up. It's absurd. Highway robbery.

I watched this happen in the 90s with Web development. As soon as the big agencies got involved, suddenly something that took a few minutes or a few hours to do went from costing hundreds of dollars to thousands then tens of thousands then more...

It doesn't cost that much to set up a Facebook Page, a Twitter account, a YouTube channel, a blog. At least not the basic framework along with a clean and professional design (or in the case of Facebook the minimal add-ons to make it useful). It doesn't even take that long to do, and there are many third-party tools out there that can help even a novice or non-techie handle it.

The higher fees should be for the other stuff, the more complex stuff, like coming up with the strategy behind having a Facebook Page or a Twitter account or a blog. And for the planning for how to integrate these new tools into an existing toolkit. And the long-term management, monitoring and measuring of these things. I'm not saying there shouldn't be a cost for someone's time for setting up these channels, but if that is all they are doing - and if that is all the customer wants (or can afford) - then they shouldn't try to rip someone off. 

Now I do agree that someone who knows how to do this kind of work should be properly compensated based on their experience, their portfolio, the usual gauges we use to vet a service provider, particularly a creative designer/developer. And I don't think it is wrong that one person charges a few hundred dollars for a Facebook Page while another charges a few thousand as long as you know what you are getting and from whom. I also am fully aware that building a page or channel doesn't mean anything will come out of it. Just like the websites of the 90s, it isn't automatically "Build it, and they will come."

But I feel like there needs to be a shift to bring quality and affordable social media services to the masses. It's time. 

This isn't a dis to agencies. I think there is a place for them, of course. Some of my best friends are at big agencies - and I even co-founded one myself. But not everyone can afford an agency. And those are the people who shouldn't be led to believe there are "secrets" to social media. There are just things they may not yet know yet.

Of course, people can put their money toward a slew of "secret revealing" documents and try the DIY method. Or they can partner with a reputable, trust-worthy consultant - and be able to find one in their price range - and be able to start using social media as another tool in their business tool kit. I just think people should have a choice from an array of good, solid, reputable options where they aren't getting ripped off.

If someone wants to blow $100,000 on their social media foray, personally I wish they'd give some of that money to a worthy charity and spend a fraction of that on their social media efforts. Then I'd recommend they spend some of it on learning. There is so much we don't understand about how our businesses, communications, marketing, customer service, and everything else is changing because of social media. We can all benefit from becoming smarter about the way we use it both in our work and our lives.

We're all just babes in the woods on this stuff. Those of us around in the 90s doing similar work have a huge leg up on those who entered the foray after 2008, but they may have some fresh ideas, too. I hope folks move away from this Wild West land grab and gold rush into a more sensible exchange of goods and services at a reasonable price.

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