It has been a relatively short amount of time since social media became a medium through which business could promote their products and services and much has changed in the landscape since. Back then internet advertising budgets were mainly devoted to banner ads and email campaigns and were rather small as a result. Social media advertising was more or less free, with Facebook only really having brand pages and a Like button, with targeted advertising being the stuff of the future.
However, all of that is different now. If you want your business to make an impact on social media, it is going to require a significant investment. This means that there are many factors to consider when developing your social media strategy and chief amongst them is how much money to set aside.
Bearing that in mind we present our rough guide on how to organise your social media budget.
Make Sure The Budget Suits Your Needs
This may seem obvious, but no two businesses are the same and there is no one size fits all solution to budgeting. Think about what you want to achieve with your marketing and consider the importance of factors such as brand development and promotional materials. You need to think about all of the elements that will make up your marketing budget before you can start costing things up.
A good place to start is to look at your sales revenue. Only a small percentage of businesses spend over 20% of their sales revenue on marketing and this is a good figure to aim for. You want to spend as little as possible without sacrificing performance so, if your business is very cost efficient, you may be able to get away with less.
Don’t forget that you can always reallocate money if your needs change. For example, if your logos and graphics are already completed then you can use those funds elsewhere.
Think About The Importance Of Digital Marketing To Your Business
There is more to digital marketing than just Facebook and Twitter and you need to think about all of the things that you want to incorporate into your strategy. Do you think that your business may benefit from having a blog (more on this later – in short, the answer is yes) and if so, are you able to write it yourself or are you going to want to hire a company to write it for you? What about email and other content marketing?
You need to think about how much of your money will be coming from digital means and plan accordingly. For example, if you are a predominantly online business, then social media is going to make up a significant proportion of your marketing strategy. However if you have a shop in a busy town centre, then you may have more of a focus on search engine optimisation and local Google listings.
The importance of digital marketing in 2015 cannot be overstated enough. Many businesses think of their social media presence much in the same way that they think of their personal accounts, but they are very different. Don’t forget that running a successful social media strategy isn’t just about short-lived boosts in business, but rather long-term successes that will endure over time.
Now To Focus On Social Media
It is no secret that many people research their purchases online before making a decision, so search engine optimisation (SEO) is obviously very important to any business. However, you also need to make room for social media investment as well. If you utilise both of these facets of digital marketing correctly, then you will find that one will boost the other and increase the productivity of the two. There is a reason why investment in social media by businesses has been steadily increasing and that’s because it works.
You want to be thinking about content as well. Social media on its own is all well and good, but it’ll work a lot better if people have something to share. This is where blogging comes into play. By creating original and most importantly free content for your website, you can make yourself a trusted source of information. By sharing these articles via your social media platforms, you will not only draw people to your website, but you will also spread the reach of your social platforms themselves.
However, you may not have the time or the writing prowess to create this content for yourself. This means that you are going to need a content creator to write them for you, which will need to be budgeted for. Of course, you are not limited to just blogs when you are considering content for your social media campaigns. You can share other related content, or make promotional videos, podcasts or any number of things. Think about what is relevant for your business and whether you will need to spend money to create it.
Don’t Make It Too Rigid
We already touched on the fact that you can reallocate resources as the needs of your business change, but you also need to keep an eye on your social media performance and make adjustments as you go along.
You may find that your target demographics simply aren’t responding to your carefully constructed social media strategy. In this case you need to sit down and rethink whether or not the strategy is appropriate for the potential customers that you wish to target.
It could be that you have a really robust email campaign, but your target demographic is young and more active on social media. Inversely, it could be that you are putting all of your efforts into Facebook or Snapchat, but your customers are more elderly and don’t use these platforms. Either way you need to make sure that your strategy is appropriate for your audience.
You also need to make sure that your business is appropriate for social media. For example, if you work in the healthcare industry then your customers may not appreciate the relatively public forums of Facebook and Twitter. If you are dealing with private and/or sensitive information or issues, then you need to think carefully about your social media strategy and whether it is the right fit for your business and adjust accordingly.
Also don’t be afraid to experiment. As already discussed there is no one size fits all solution to social media marketing (or any marketing for that matter), and you will have to feel a lot of things out as you go. Maybe a new social network will come along in a few months, so don’t be afraid to be a trail-blazer and give it a go.
Video games company Bethesda hit the headlines in August by setting up a page for their upcoming release Fallout 4 on Tinder (of all things). So don’t be afraid to think outside of the box (or vault as the case may be). You never know, your clever marketing idea could be the next big viral sensation which will bring people flocking to your website.
Well, there is our rough guide to sorting out your budget for your brand new and shiny social media marketing campaign. Plan ahead, think about what you need and budget accordingly. But then don’t assume that the job is done and the business is just going to roll in. You need to be constantly monitoring your progress and tweaking and making necessary adjustments as you go.
Make sure that your strategy is appropriate and that it’s working as you want it to and you should be enjoying a boon to your business that will be apparent in your bottom line year on year. Not only that, but the various arms of your entire digital marketing strategy will feed into one another and create a (somewhat) perpetual engine of promotion.
I say “somewhat” as you should never feel like you can take your eye off the ball and let things slip. Keep shifting your budget around until you find that sweet spot and then make sure that it stays there.
Please let us know any of your tips for budgeting for social media marketing. Have you found a good balance between SEO and social media? Also have you invested in any unusual forms of social media that have yielded good results? Please let us know in the comments below.