Wikipedia defines an opportunity cost as, “the cost of any activity measured in terms of the best alternative forgone. It is the sacrifice related to the second best choice available to someone who has picked among several mutually exclusive choices”. Many organizations who select to use social media for marketing purposes often rush to be on the popular tools without thinking about the opportunity costs of not having a content strategy. In fact, some may not be aware of the costs that may have repercussions in the long term.
Below are five opportunity costs that should come to mind when organizations decide to just “wing it” in regards to a content strategy.
1. Finding a fit within an overall marketing plan
A social media presence with a lack of a coherent content strategy in terms of reaching established objectives will have a tough time being integrated into a marketing plan. Whether it be a Facebook Page or a Twitter account that does not play its role in the communications mix will be considered to be expendable without any hesitation. Imagine spending all that time to recruit individuals to become fans of the page or followers over a matter of weeks and then finding out that the initiative has to be stopped because it does not fit into the scope of the current marketing plan?
2. Obtaining the sufficient supporting resources
Similar to a business plan for a potential money making venture, a content strategy allows for key decision makers to allocate the necessary supporting resources for a social media initiative. Forgoing a content strategy will significantly hinder a social media manager seeking the resources necessary to go forward in terms of acquiring qualified personnel, information technology support and additional content that should be generated (i.e. professionally filming videos for a YouTube Channel).
3. Engaging the wrong target audience members
Not having a planned out content strategy may lead to some unwelcome results. These results can come in the form of engaging the wrong target audience members. Unknown to organizations, content that is posted without any guidance from a strategy may lead to engaging individuals that may not have any intentions in buying or obtaining a service. As a result, efforts to communicate via social media applications will be wasted.
4. Utilizing the wrong selection of applications
Since the type of content available will dictate the selection of social media applications that will be used, a lack of a strategy will inhibit an organization’s ability to implement specific applications efficiently. In situations where organizations have white papers, reports and articles to repurpose, an easy avenue (i.e., without a content strategy) would call for a simple posting of a hyperlink on Facebook or Twitter however; creating a blog post with the subject content would probably be more engaging with insights and illustrations.
5. Ignoring the existing content that can be used to engage
A social media presence without a content strategy will overlook the fact that there could be existing content in-house which can be used on a frequent basis. At times where there is not enough ideas to generate a simple post to engage an audience, a plan to reach out to colleagues and back to content that was prepared for another reason can be convenient. Although it may sound easy to ask around the organization to see if anyone has something to post, remember the content that is offered must be aligned with the established business objectives.
This post highlighted some of the risks that are usually associated with not having a content strategy for social media marketing. These risks are often overlooked due to the marketing advantages that social media applications offer. In order to turn the marketing advantages into real competitive advantages, these risks must be proactively managed with a plan that considers all the resources that can be used to overcome present and future challenges on social media.
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