Social media is an extremely powerful tool for business marketing and promotion. One reason for that is because it has the ability to provide a massive amount of organic traffic–something that we love as bloggers and website owners. Free traffic? Heck yes, we’ll take it!
However, including a social media marketing budget as a part of your strategy helps to make this tool even more powerful. There are many different avenues for what to spend your social media marketing budget on. Maybe your budget will go towards outsourcing. (Time = money, people. If your time is better spent on your business, outsource or hire someone to do your social media.) Or maybe your plan is to do your social media yourself, so your budget will go towards social media ads and things like that. (Don’t fret if this is your plan–it’s totally cool! I write an entire blog helping solopreneurs, small business owners and bloggers to DIY their own social media marketing.)
But whatever you choose to put your budget towards, it is important for you to first have a budget. Follow these steps to determine your particular social media marketing budget.
Who does your marketing?
I touched on this just a bit ago, but if you still weren’t sure who was going to be doing your marketing, now is the time to decide.
If you’re a solopreneur or small business owner, it’s probably wisest to do your own social media marketing–especially if you don’t have enough revenue coming in to hire someone. If you’re a small (or maybe larger) business owner, outsourcing to a social media manager/agency is always a great idea. Or, if you have the funds to allocate it, you could even hire your own dedicated marketing director.
Determine your online platforms
Your main social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn. (Don’t forget YouTube if video is a big part of your business!) If you don’t know which platforms will best benefit your business, check out this post here.
You also need to decide which other online marketing avenues you will allocate a budget to. This could be things like AdWords, email marketing, SEO, and content. (However, I believe that content and social media really can’t work without each other.)
Calculate your budget
If your business is just starting out, then your entire marketing budget should be 15-20% of your sales/revenue. More established companies can reduce the amount to 10-15% of sales/revenue.
Think about your marketing strategy. How much of that is going to be online? In 2013, companies allocated about 35% of their marketing budgets to digital marketing. However, over the past couple of years, 74% of businesses have been reducing traditional advertising budgets to make more room for the power of digital and social media marketing. So if you want to devote 50% of your marketing budget to digital marketing, that’s fantastic! Even 75-80%.
However, there are a few traditional marketing channels that you want to keep open, so leave at least a little bit of your budget for those. Here are a few examples:
- Business cards
- Networking events
- Referral cards (i.e., small cards sent with physical items)
- For those who sell items, decorative packaging materials
Determine which of these traditional marketing avenues you need to budget for and subtract those costs from your overall marketing budget.
Your digital marketing budget will be split between email marketing (Mailchimp subscription, etc.), SEO (virtual assistant/SEO specialist), AdWords (or other PPC marketing), and social media/content. If you will be using any other digital marketing avenues other than social media, determine the cost and subtract that from your budget. You have two avenues now:
1. Outsourcing your social media.
Now you know what you will be able to afford if you plan on outsourcing. You can find a virtual assistant, freelance social media manager, or social media agency to help run your social media.
2. DIYing your social media.
Depending on which social media platforms you use most for your business and which are most engaging/beneficial to you, that will tell you where you need to allocate your social media funds. A common breakdown of a social media budget can look like this:
- Facebook: 40%
- LinkedIn: 25%
- Instagram: 25%
- Twitter: 10%
You can determine if this breakdown will work for you or if you need to move platforms around. For example, if you sell a product, LinkedIn and Twitter might not be as important to you as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Know your most popular and beneficial platforms and allocate funds accordingly.
Download the Free Worksheet!
Use this download to help you calculate your own social media marketing budget.
About the author: Chloe West is a blogger and social media manager who creates content meant to help bloggers and small business owners learn how to DIY their own social media marketing.