The BizFilings blog covering business tips and trends.
How to Budget Your Social Marketing Plan
Published on Jun 2, 2013
Read our article, 'How to Budget Your Social Marketing Plan' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
When carried out effectively, social media marketing has the potential to boost a company’s bottom line. Social marketing can make a pivotal difference in a business’ initial stages, whether it’s starting an online business or first incorporating a company.
Gone are the days when businesses could post on Twitter or Facebook at random and consider this sufficient social marketing management. It’s evident that businesses are taking social marketing more seriously – according to a recent article in Forbes magazine (“Do Marketers Know What They Want From Social Media?” Christine Moorman, February 26, 2013) spending on social media will more than double as a percentage of marketing budgets over the next five years. This begs the question, how do businesses effectively budget their social marketing plan?
Building a Strategy
When beginning a multi-faceted project, most businesses will take into consideration exactly what it is they wish to accomplish. This is the planning phase – obviously, exactly what the company hopes to accomplish, as well as strategies and budget chosen, are dependent upon the type of business being run.
In some cases, it may be helpful to bring in a social marketing consultant or strategist, who can help determine which platforms and content strategies are most appropriate for the company. A professional social marketing consultant may charge anywhere from $500 to $5,000. If it’s a smaller operation, with a smaller budget, it’s also entirely possible to handle social media marketing internally. It’s essential, however, to lay a few ground rules before getting started: Is there a clearly defined budget?
Which social media platforms will be used?
How often will content be developed and delivered?
What strategies or approaches will be used to drive sales with social media followers and fans?
Taking on social marketing internally will likely save the company a considerable amount of money, but it’ll certainly require research and an investment of time.
Developing the Platform
Once a strategy is in place, the next step involves building the required platforms. This may include custom skins, pages and graphics for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more.
Consistency in design across all social marketing channels is an excellent branding tool. Of course, this process can be expensive as well as time consuming. Once again, sticking to the amount budgeted in the initial social marketing plan is crucial. When considering how to execute social marketing platform development, there are several options: hiring a consultant outsourcing the platform development (job boards such as Odesk.com and eLance.com provide access to qualified professional designers), hiring new employees with the right technical skills, or assigning the development to existing staff. Regardless of the chosen method, platform development typically requires a significant investment in either money or time.
Creating the Content
Once a social market framework has been established, care must be taken to see that there is a plan for ongoing content creation, as content is the primary focus for those viewing a business’ social page. Content must be compelling and in a number of formats, including:
Graphics and images
Live and/or recorded webinars and special events
There are many ways to go about content creation, but it must be high quality content, as its sole purpose is to promote a business.
Companies must think thoughtfully, and dedicate the appropriate amount of time and money, into a social marketing strategy. With any luck, the business will reap the benefits in terms of increased ROI.