Now that many of us small business owners are slowly coming to terms with the fact that social media is no longer free, the next most obvious question is: What social media tools should I pay for?
There isn’t 1 solution that is the perfect mix for all small businesses, but I’ll shine a little light on how we’ve determined what we are willing to pay for, and what online tools those are.
How to Determine What Online Services Are Worth The Money
Here are the things we consider:
- Does it make us more effective and efficient at doing our jobs? For us, this has been adding services like an online bookkeeping system and Buffer subscription to our overhead. We save time and have easier follow-up with our clients in regard to invoicing and receivables with an affordable online bookkeeping system. And Buffer has allowed us to fill up content to share to the Eli Rose social media streams as well as specific accounts for our clients. This saves time so we don’t have to continually visit several platforms multiple times a day to make these same postings.
- Is it required to do our jobs well? Not to be confused with the above point, these would be items you probably need to do your social media tasks “correctly”. For all the people who are not naturally graphic designers, this line item would likely include a subscription to an easy-to-use online image editing tool like PicMonkey. If your clients want some social media analytics reports, you may decide to pay for a Sprout Social subscription or an upgraded version of HootSuite. And if Facebook is your main (or sole) social media platform, you really do need to budget for ads if you want your fans to see what you have to say.
- Is the monthly cost something that won’t “break the bank”? It’s amazing how wide the range of costs can be, and what you get for those costs (Hint: The higher the cost doesn’t mean the greater the capabilities). We joined Sprout Social early on, and as a result, were grandfathered in to their $9/month pricing even though that cost is now around the $40/month mark. We shopped around possible online bookkeeping systems, and weighed their pros, cons, capabilities, and ease-of-use before deciding which to select.
- Does it “fix” your business’ weak spot or add credibility? On-going education is common for many industries. You might need to spend some money on a social media training class, learn how to improve your email marketing efforts, or attain a certification that adds some credibility to your services. If the outcome of that expense will pay off for you for years to come, it may be worth the expenditure.
These are the 4 points we use to evaluate our online tool expenditures. What helps you determine what you are willing to pay for?