As social media evolves, so should your social media marketing budget. Changing trends and platforms may mean putting some advertising dollars behind your campaigns and investing in creative talent to help you create and manage content.
When determining your social media marketing spend, it’s important to create an effective and specific marketing budget that factors in the content, paid ads and other investments that allow you to market to the right audience. To that end, a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members explained the specific questions you can consider when deciding how to break down your social media budget.
1. What’s my overall budget?
First thing is to understand how much money you have available to allocate to this and what the desired outcomes are. My clients often ask me if they can afford a budget of “X” and my answer is always, “I don’t know—not without more understanding around the desired outcome and the market landscape.” What are your alternative options? How much cash do you have in the bank? What’s the timeline of returned capital on these investments? These are all solid questions that your CFO or controller should be asking about any budgets the C-suite is trying to approve. – Michael Hsu, DeepSky
2. What are my goals?
Your company’s goals should be the foundation of your social media marketing budget—without them, you won’t know how to properly allocate the time. Do you want to use resources to create new strategies or expand on previous ideas? Looking for more brand exposure? You may want to invest more time and money into paid ads. Once these items are clearly defined, you can properly outline how to administer the budget to successfully reach your end goal. – Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design
3. What giveaways am I offering?
When putting together a social media budget, leave room for giveaways. Most companies set aside budgets for ad campaigns, social media managers and content creation, but giveaways are a powerful tool when used correctly. Oftentimes giveaways are an afterthought, but including them in your budget allows for the flexibility to create compelling and effective giveaways that can increase engagement, following and interest in your product and/or service. – Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR
4. What is social media’s importance to my overall brand?
Consider how important social media will be to your overall brand and sales. Research whether or not that particular platform can generate any leads for your business model. Maybe nobody hires lawyers off Instagram, for example. Consider the culture of what you do and the culture on each social media platform. Use your best instincts about whether social media should be a dalliance or driving force for your particular brand. – Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts
5. How saturated is the market?
When considering how to allocate budgets for social media marketing, it’s important to think about how cluttered each available channel is. Will you be competing against companies that are in completely different verticals and, hence, be bidding against buyers with giant marketing budgets that drive your cost per acquisition up? There are plenty of unique marketing channels in social media today and ways to niche down so you aren’t competing with as many well-funded media buyers. – Richard Fong, SeniorStrong.org
6. Which platforms are relevant to my business?
One factor to look at when deciding how to allocate your social media marketing budget is what platforms are the most relevant to your business. For example, spending your budget on Instagram advertising may not make sense if you can’t post regular picture updates or create stories. Instead, you may want to use your budget for advertising on a professional network like LinkedIn. Ask yourself if your company’s main goal is to educate or entertain and then choose platforms and set your budget accordingly. – Benjamin Rojas, All in One SEO
7. How much do I want to spend on ads?
One of the most important factors to consider when deciding how to allocate your social media marketing budget is to determine how much you want to spend on advertising. Knowing what your social media advertising budget is in advance will help you determine what your expected return on investment is as well as dictate the location and frequency of where you run those ads. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC
8. What areas do I need to outsource?
When allocating our social media marketing budget, consider what areas you’ll need to hire for and what you can do on your own. Do you need someone to create visual content or videos for your social media channels? Do you need someone to create and take over social campaigns to boost conversions? Decide where you need the most help and how much of your budget will go toward hiring the right people for the best results. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
9. What can I afford for the long term?
Social media marketing, unlike media buying, can be incredibly difficult to measure. On top of that, it may take a long time to show a true return. For that reason, it’s important to set social media marketing budgets that the business can afford for a decent period of time without having to worry about quick returns. The flipside of this is that good social media marketing compounds. Meaning that as the reach of the brand grows on a given platform, it tends to snowball and grow faster and faster. So, when returns eventually come via influencers, collaborations or subtle promotions, they tend to really pay off. – Emily Stallings, Casely, Inc.