Wendy: Well, what do we think about the value of social media – is it worth paying for? Ryan Shelley is the Founder and Director of Pepper IT, a social media company in Sydney, and he joins us now. G’day there Ryan.
Ryan: Good morning Wendy.
Wendy: As I said, a lot of criticism towards the state government for spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on the Greater Sydney Commission’s social media pages; cultivating its Twitter feed and Facebook pages. People are saying, what an absolute waste of money that is. What are your thoughts?
Ryan: Look, I think social media has its place like any form of media but I’m probably inclined to agree with you. Half a million dollars on a four to eleven-month social media campaign, you’d have to really look into the detail of how that money was spent. On the surface, it probably doesn’t look like it’s money well spent.
Wendy: Well, how this came about was there was an estimates hearing about the Greater Sydney Commission recently and it came out in this hearing that the commission had awarded a contract for $300,000 to a PR firm for work between May and August. Then another mob got another $224,000, so that added up to half a million dollars for work on social media.
Now we know that the Greater Sydney Commission is going to release its plans for six Sydney districts by the end of the year for consultation. So perhaps it’s a good idea that they’re getting their social media ducks in a row.
Ryan: Oh definitely it’s a good idea but again I would probably challenge, does it cost half a million dollars to get your social media ducks in a row? From having a very quick look at it, they have around 4,000 followers on Facebook almost 2,000 followers on Twitter, with half a million dollars it’s costing them $86 per person that follows them to get their message across.
Wendy: Man that’s not a lot of followers, I think I have more than that myself.
Ryan: You could probably argue and say you could pay someone to pick up the phone and call 6,000 people and get the same message across. Again, I think it’s very important for government agencies to be on social media, though I just wonder if that has been the best use of money and I hope that they haven’t had the social media wool pulled over their eyes and that they haven’t been paying more than they should have been.
Wendy: Ah huh! So, we’re not mentioning these particular companies specifically, but there are a few traps for young players. If you don’t know much about social media there will be plenty of people out there prepared to charge you a *poultice* for their services.
Ryan: Exactly, I think that with any service where people might not know exactly what they’re getting into. Not that people take advantage, but like anything, if you’re not sure about automotive or building there are mechanics or builders out there that might encourage you to do things at a higher price than you would usually need to spend.
Wendy: Don’t talk to me about outsourcing or I’ll go completely bonkers. But the interesting thing of course, with this consultation coming out, you would imagine that the Greater Sydney Commission could gather those Facebook and Twitter followers in a very quick time almost organically, wouldn’t you think? If you had big plans to announce.
Ryan: You’d hope so, we always encourage our clients that you have to do things organically you can’t just go and buy followers. You’d think that with the Greater Sydney Commission sharing their story about their people and their plans of Sydney that they would grow that organic following. Even if you did pay some advertising because unfortunately the world of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook those suppliers make it almost a necessity that you have to a marketing budget and pay them for advertising. Even if you were paying them a substantial amount of advertising, I’m still confident that the same results could be gathered for a lot less than half a million dollars.
Wendy: Okay, so what we’re saying is the State Government are a bunch of wood ducks.
Ryan: Look, like any government organisation I just think that they’re not quite sure what they’ve got into and perhaps they’re paying for things that they may not need to pay for at an elevated price.
Wendy: Alright, got cha, wood ducks – that’s what that means! Thank you very much for joining us Ryan.
Ryan: Thanks Wendy.
Having a social media presence is definitely a good idea for any government organisation. However you need to have a trusted social media expert to guide along the way and making sure of investment well spent. If you have a query or require expert advice, we’re only a phone call or email away.