Government departments in the US are increasingly looking to outsource social media activities as part of cost-saving measures.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with limited online marketing budgets can take a leaf out of the books of the Food and Drug Administration and the Defence Advance Research Projects Agency.
Speaking to the Washington Post, Adobe's Barry Leffew, who liaises with government agencies on business strategies, suggested public bodies can benefit from social media.
He claimed a better understanding of how they are perceived by the public and better service delivery will be among the advantages of being on social media and analysing activities accurately.
And the relatively low cost of social media as a communication tool will be an attractive prospect for government agencies and SMEs alike.
Mr Leffew added: "It's very clear that an interaction with the public through social media is a lot less expensive than having someone show up at an office … or call a call centre."
What is the cost of social media for SMEs?
Social media channels may be free to join, but money – or at least resource – still needs to be spent by businesses on Twitter, Facebook or any other network.
"The cost issues are critical for a small business," eMarketer senior analyst Paul Verna told MSN's Business on Main site. "Even having one person dedicated to your social media profile better have an intense payoff at the other end."
Therefore, small businesses' investment in social media needs to be savvy. It may be prudent for SMEs to start small and monitor results before they appoint large proportions of marketing budget to the activity.
Alternatively, for small businesses that do not have the staff or the internal skills and knowledge available, outsourcing social media campaigns can be a sensible choice.
More ContentPlus tips on social media for small budgets:
Best online marketing channel for limited budgets
Proportion of marketing money spent on social is increasing
Why online marketing is an SME must-have
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