Social media is the ever-growing digital marketing channel that requires the most important place within your digital marketing strategy. Indeed, they allow you to present your company to prospective clients, establish your brand and engage with them. In short, they provide the visibility that you need to win clients and expand your business. So as you set out digital marketing goals and budgets for your business, you want to make sure you plan a social media strategy and budget for it as well.
Now, how do you budget for your social media strategy? How do you determine how much time and resources you should allocate to your social media presence versus working on your main business products and services?
Let us give you a step-by-step guide to determine your social media budget. Starting with general guidelines to determine your needs and what you will have to focus on, we will cover how to set social media goals and what to include in your budget.
The Big Picture
The rule of thumb for a marketing budget is that it should equal 2-5% of revenue for a B2B company and 5-10% for a B2C company. Keep in mind that your social media budget should only be a part of your overall marketing budget–its serving size being up to you and depending on the characteristics of your business! Keep reading.
Where to Start
1. Consider your limits
The first step is to examine where you’re at in terms of social media strategy and what you have at your disposal. If you’ve just started a business, you probably have low resources in terms of time and revenues to be spent, which means you should first focus on one or two social media platforms that are most suited to your activity and maintain a minimal but efficient presence there (specific tips are coming). On the contrary, if your business is well established, you’ll want to use your available resources to deploy a social media strategy that will grow engagement with your audience and build a strong social media community.
In any case, understanding and acknowledging your limits in terms of time and budget is the essential first step that will allow you to set the right goals.
2. Set growth goals
Setting clearly defined goals for your social media strategy is important for you to measure whether it is working and decide if you should revise it after a set period of time. You should define three types of goals: (a) community building, (b) engagement generated, (c) website traffic. To ensure your goals are well defined and realistic, follow the SMART method: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound. Here is an example of how to use the SMART method to set a video creation goal to generate more engagement:
A non-specific goal: getting better at video editing.
A specific goal: increasing my video trimming speed.
Example: increasing my video trimming speed from 1 minute of video created per 2.5 hours to 1 minute of video every 2 hours.
A non-attainable goal would be too ambitious in terms of measurement or time limit, such as: increasing my video trimming speed from 1 minute of video created per 2.5 hours to 1 minute of video every 1.5 hours in one month.
A relevant goal focuses on a skill that aligns with long-term objectives and values. For instance, increasing my trimming speed is relevant if I want to create more video content in less time or use my time on other activities. It may be irrelevant if I am planning to hire someone else to do video editing in the near future.
It is essential that you set a realistic yet ambitious time limit so that you stay motivated and prioritise tasks that will help you reach your goal. Example: increasing my video trimming speed from 1 minute of video created per 2.5 hours to 1 minute of video every 2 hours over the next two months.
How to Spend Your Budget
3. Identify the optimal social media marketing components for your business
The next step is to clearly define which social media marketing components you will use as part of your social media strategy. Here are the main social media components to consider:
Quality Content Creation
Producing good quality content is essential to spark the interest of your audience and to grow it. This is the most difficult and time-consuming element of your social media strategy and will likely take 50% or more of your social media budget. Specific skills to look for include video content creation, photography, graphic design, and copywriting. Video content is increasingly valuable and has become a must to retain an audience’s attention. We recommend that you get equipped with camera gear and look to add a video content creator to your team. If you’ve just started your business and need time and resources to be spent on your products or services, aim for a simple but consistent social media presence: posting 3 photos per week with a short caption should allow you to start building an audience without being too diverted from your main occupation. You can focus on growing your community later, once you’re more financially stable.
Technological tools to manage and analyse your social media will (1) help you gain precious time in your daily social media management organisation and (2) help identify elements of your strategy that you need to change. Having a social media management platform (e.g., Sprout Social or Hootsuite) and a social listening platform will be of great help. If you can afford them, stock photography and video subscriptions on one hand, and photo and video editing programs on the other–will allow you to produce better quality content.
Paid ads on the social platforms that are most suited to your target audience are also highly recommended as it is difficult to reach growth results with organic social media marketing alone. Consider them as your magic wand for business growth!
Training your employees to learn how to best use content creation and digital marketing tools will improve your content quality. Use educational resources such as LinkedIn Learning, Hootsuite Academy, Facebook Blueprint or Google Garage. You may want to check out The Digital Skills You Need in 2021 to learn more about which training you should pick.
Sound Social Media Management
Lastly, if you have already allocated resources to all the previous digital marketing strategy components and still have some of your budget left to use, focus on engaging with your audience for community building. This can include answering comments, doing Q&A or Ask Me Anything sessions, and engaging in private conversations with your audience.
Remember, don’t overwhelm yourself if you have a small budget or no available time. Start small but be consistent. We hope this helps!
If you need new talents for your social media team, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.