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Most advisors are frustrated and ready to throw social media out the window, but the game is about to get even tougher. Social media won’t be free much longer. Here’s how I see it happening and what it will mean for advisors who are counting on it.

Too good to be free much longer

For zero money, social media opens up a variety of doors to anyone with access to the internet. For this reason it has been an equalizer for smaller brands with tons of creativity but with a decimal of the marketing budgets that the big brands have.

I take that back.

Social media isn’t entirely free. It’s mostly free.

If you want to lurk and passively exist on social media, there is no charge. It’s free to join LinkedIn, set up a profile and invite people to follow you. It’s free to post content to your news feed consisting of your organic followers. But to execute marketing strategies that get more visibility, you have to pay. Examples include:

  • Paying for LinkedIn “In-mail,” which messages people (including some semi-famous ones) on LinkedIn without being connected prior;
  • Placing advertisements into the news feeds or email inboxes of people you are not connected to who you are including in a marketing campaign (example: I want to put my blog about defined-benefit-plan terminations into all employees of UPS); and
  • Conducting espionage, such as seeing who viewed your profile by purchasing a LinkedIn plan.

In other words, for advanced marketing capabilities you have to hand over the cash.