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Home Social media Forty-five days planning for a single Tweet: Social media’s disproportionate cost

Forty-five days planning for a single Tweet: Social media’s disproportionate cost

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45 days of effort to generate a single tweet, that “has not been retweeted, but generated two favorites”. Does this seem to be worthy social media investment/effort to you?

This Business Insider article is worthy reading for any business thinking of “investing” in social media. The story describes how a social media marketing agency strategizes and co-ordinates the social media publicity for larger brands.

Maybe there is value, but I find it hard to justify the ROI in spending dozens of hours and allocating expensive resources for a bit of social media puffery.

The tweet that took two months

While those interactions require real-time reflexes, other posts are planned well in advance. Take?this tweet, which Huge posted for its client President Cheese on April 30, but had been in the making for nearly two months.


President Cheese tweet


The planning process began in early March, when one of Cunningham’s colleagues on the social media team, Jessica Lindsay, sat down with a Huge project manager and someone from the agency’s strategy department to begin planning social media posts for April.

There, they discussed general themes the brand could talk about over the course of the month and create a calendar of proposed post ideas. In April, the brand would be continuing its “Art of Cheese” campaign, which provides its 100 Twitter followers and 220 Facebook fans with tips on how to best enjoy its products.

Shortly after, Lindsay met with a copywriter and graphic designer to brainstorm tweet ideas for the next month. It was then that the copywriter suggested a tweet centered around the idea that Camembert, a French cheese popular during the spring, was best served at room temperature.

The copywriter and designer met the next week to create the image for the tweet, which was then pitched at a team meeting alongside other posts for April. The team meeting includes Lindsay, the copywriter and designer team, and between 10 and 20 of Huge’s strategists who work on President Cheese advertising.

Then it’s on to an internal review process, where senior copywriters and strategists sign off on the work over the course of the following week. The post was then sent to President Cheese and, some 45 days after conception, published on the internet for the world to see.

Thus far, the post has yet to be retweeted, but it has generated two favorites.

Wow, 45 days and all that energy for a “post that has yet to be retweeted, but has generated two favorites.” (my bolding).

I suppose the story/tweet will gain a bit of traction with the third-party media publicity, and broadcasting at sites like mine; but I don’t really feel motivated to rush out and purchase this particular cheese brand because of the publicity (nor, in fairness, do I feel offended or have suddenly decided I don’t want the cheese at all.) But how much did that tweet really cost, for how much return?

This story could be disturbing for smaller to medium-sized businesses, of course. Few have the money to pour into truly costly and presumably utterly ineffective marketing, like this.But the mass of amateurs out there can trash your brand/image, especially if you have the misfortune to run into a troll or organized group that doesn’t like what you’ve done. (Virtually every honorable business has over the years experienced one or two bad customers.)

This story doesn’t change my advice for AEC practitioners (outlined in my social media marketing book), to use some inexpensive and relatively easy to manage social media management tools such as or to keep an eye on trends and, more specifically, for comments/observations about your business, so you can respond proactively. As a rule, you can handle the social media monitoring with a social-media savvy office employee, who should have both the authority/access and freedom to respond (following corporate guidelines) quickly and effectively. If you wish to spend money on social media advertising, and have the resources, specialist consultants/services can guide you — for a cost that may be mind-blowing for the results you will likely attain, at least if this article holds true.

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