Live From SES NY: Marketers Claim Social Media Doesn’t Cost a Dime

New York – Marketers, it seems, don’t know how to put a price tag on their social media marketing. That’s what they told e-commerce advisory firm Econsultancy in a recent survey, though Rebecca Lieb, its vice president-U.S. operations, disputes those results.

Speaking at the SES New York conference on March 24, Lieb said 32% of marketers who responded to its recent survey on social media usage said they spend 0% of its marketing budget on its annual social media spend. What’s more, 36% said they spend less than $5,000 annually on social media.

But the dollar figures don’t match the social media penetration of the respondents: More than four-fifth – or 86% – say they are marketing on Facebook, while 77% are tweeting and 58% are using LinkedIn.

Lieb’s theory is the respondents are considering dollar figures to equal the amount of money spent within the social media networks. So companies are not accounting for resources such as manpower involved to shore up their social media presence.

“It doesn’t make for an honest answer,” Lieb said. “Most marketers said they spent between five and 10 hours per week on social media, and plan will spend more time in social media in 2010.”

And even with marketers saying they are not spending money on social media, 67% of company respondents said that the amount of money spent on social media has increased since last year, while 30% say it has stayed the same.

What’s more, 81% of companies expect social media budgets to increase over the next year, while 18% expect it to stay the same.

The Value of Social Media report was based on an online survey of more than 400 companies and agencies, which took place in December 2009 and January 2010.