With all the constant “tips” on the absolute latest social media tactics that appear in our inbox on a daily basis, we recently happened upon an insightful article titled 5 lies about social media, by Samantha Collier in PR News. Among some of the myths Collier dispels, including “You’re guaranteed a new client within X amount of days,” one in particular stood out for us:

“Social media is free.”

Don’t get us wrong – social media is a fantastic way to even garner organic support from your customers. You remember – that support you didn’t have to pay for because someone actually likes your product or service, and is willing to give you honest feedback without a chance to “win a $500 gift card?”

Still, have you considered the amount of time you need to dedicate to a legitimate and fruitful social media presence? The old saying “time is money” rings true here as well.

As Collier points out:

“This is one of the biggest misconceptions of them all. Social media is not free. It takes time, and the last I checked, time equals money. Even if you decide to keep your social media marketing in-house, you will always be paying someone to monitor your accounts.”

When considering your social media strategy, ensure that your budget accounts for the several-plus hours per week it takes to sustain, thrive and measure. This means that those labor hours you’re applying towards your tweets, posts and pins should be viewed as an investment in your organization. Investing in your reputation and client relationships earns more than revenue – it earns trust – something money simply cannot buy.

Ensure that your leadership or client understands that including social media as part of your communication strategy is a budget line-item, but also assure them of all the meaningful aspects that a two-way communication relationship yields with your client base.

This may not be the latest and greatest “tip” on social media – but rather old school advice that you need to remain budget conscious when considering your communication tools and tactics.

Popular iPhone Apps

It seems that everyday someone new jumps on the iPhone or iPad bandwagon; talking about their new apps and the innovative and exciting capability they just acquired. Companies and agencies recognize this new medium to reach consumers, and some even created their own apps. But the true question is – how to do it effectively?

How can an organization reach their target audience through an app? It must be useful and optimize the brand all at the same time.

When contemplating the best way to launch an iPhone app, consider these suggestions to boost its success.

1) Clearly identify the target audience, and expectations
Like any marketing plan, identify the target audience and outline the expectations and objectives. Creating an app reaches an entirely new audience, and this form of mobile marketing is interactive, driven to cause consumers to act. Most importantly, do not confuse your wants with your target audience’s expectations. Ensure that your app clearly adheres to your brand.

2) Optimize your App’s Name
Recognize the importance of creating a concise name that communicates the purpose of your app to your target audience. Be clever and creative to cut through the static but hold true to what your app delivers.

Incorporate keyword phrases into description copy. Because pages get indexed within iTunes and then ranked by major search engines, do not use the app or company in the keyword descriptions. Utilize auto-suggested keywords since these optimize the search functionality.

3) Blog about it
Create buzz around the new app by blogging. Bloggers create a cyber environment that discusses the functions of the app, what it does and why they like it. Try and get ahead of the curve and start your own blogs before others begin writing about it. Create positive messaging and lay the groundwork for other bloggers and traditional media outlets.

4) Plan, Plan, Plan
Plan how to measure success of your app. Whether this involves financial success or overall awareness and recognition of your brand, a carefully crafted plan must be implemented and results monitored.

Now that we’ve shared our thoughts about creating apps, check out some of A. Bright Idea’s favorites:

• Trover
• Photosynth
• Facebook
• Pandora
• Fooducate
• Mashable!
• WalletZero