Budgeting for Social Media Marketing in 2013

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Social media is recognized as the third most popular marketing strategy currently being used to reach out to consumers worldwide. That may be because an estimated 60% of users are likely to act positively on a product or service they hear about from a friend on a social networking site (according to a report published by Nielsen and NM Incite). It’s no wonder then that businesses are making the most of social media!

However, if you don’t adopt the right strategies, the medium can turn into a cash guzzler. So it’s important to be properly managing and budgeting for social media marketing. After all, how can you truly measure your marketing strategy’s success if you don’t even know it’s true cost?

Before you commit to any social media marketing plan, your first step should be drawing up a budget for it. The following are the key areas you must allocate funds for:

Drawing Up Your Strategy

You may think it doesn’t really cost anything to strategize a marketing program, but that’s not necessarily true. Some businesses choose to hire a marketing agency or social media consultant to draw up their strategy for them and that, of course, costs money.

Even if you choose to do your strategizing in-house, you’ll still need to spend money on wages and bonuses for your social media marketing team. You’ll also be spending office resources and a considerable amount of time on this plan.

If you outsource the job to a small social media service provider, you could get the job done for a few hundred dollars. But, if you are a mid-size company, looking for top quality services, you can expect to spend $5000 upwards.

Channel Setup

Once you have your strategy in place, it’s time to gear up for your channel setup. There are several channels you can choose from such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest. It’s best to study what channels your target market commonly uses and then focus your marketing efforts on those channels. Setting up your chosen channels typically involves creating custom skins, graphics, and images for your landing pages.

Your profiles on each of these channels also need to be set up such that it can effectively deliver your brand’s message and encourage people to check out the rest of what you have to offer.

For this phase of social media marketing, you should be setting a budget for graphic design, planning, training, and technology development.

It’s a known fact that in graphics and designing, there are solutions suited to all kinds of budget requirements. The higher the quality of the output required, the more you’ll have to pay! There are online agencies that will create all your graphics for a couple of 100 dollars, and there are companies, which would charge you up to $5000 to create your social media landing page. You need to decide how much you can afford to pay, and what kind of quality do you want.

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Content Development

Of course, social media marketing, like most of the other forms of online marketing, relies heavily on the quality of content found on your social media sites. Unless you engage your target audience from the get-go and provide them with a positive experience from the start, they aren’t likely to visit your pages again.

You’ll therefore have to commit a considerable amount of time to the process of engaging your prospects. This can mean spending at least an hour each day just posting and answering queries on your social media pages.

And if you want your content to be really engaging and effective, you may have to hire the services of external content providers or hire an in-house team of writers and content developers.

Content can be anywhere from web articles to blog posts to infographics to marketing videos to podcasts to reports.

Your budget here would depend on your specific needs. If you only want articles, blogs and infographics, you could allocate a budget of $1000 and expect to get around 40-50 quality pieces. But, for a complete package, including videos, podcasts, E-books, etc, you may have to spend $2500 upwards. It might be a bit pricey, but marketers are increasing their budget for content marketing this year.

For business’ on a small budget, a clever way of making the most of their limited content is by smart planning and re-packaging.

For example, let’s say you create mobile apps. Now you could simply hire a couple of freelancers and ask them to give 50 articles/blogs on mobile apps. Or, you could strategize and plan your content topics based on the branding message you want to send out and the different kinds of content that you want to distribute through your social media channels. Let’s say you want to distribute E-books, videos and podcasts to educate small business about mobile apps and their marketing potential.

The most cost-effective technique for you in this case would be, to plan an E-book on How small businesses can use apps, plan each chapter in a manner that it can be used as a stand-alone blog. The blogs can then be converted into video presentations and podcasts. This way from one piece of content you create multiple information products.

 

These are just the most basic things you need to set a budget for when you’re putting your social media marketing program in place. Remember that you’ll still have to manage your channels, keep and invest in advertising as well. So, you need to allocate funds for that as well.

Of course, each business has different requirements and there isn’t a single approach that can work for all. What’s important is for you to decide where your business priorities lie and plan your marketing budget from there.

Where are you focusing your social media marketing budget?

 

Author: Emma-Julie Fox writes for Pitstop Media Inc, a Vancouver company that provides SEO services to businesses across North America.

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