How to Create a Budget for Social Media Marketing
With its ease of use and access to billions of active users, it’s no surprise that social media has become a powerful marketing venue.
Businesses and marketers are spending more than ever on social media marketing, but that’s no guarantee of success. Don’t risk throwing money away. Spend wisely by creating a comprehensive social media marketing budget to ensure that you’re getting value out of every dollar. Here’s what you need to know to get started.
1. Create a Plan
You can’t budget without knowing what you can afford to spend, so start by identifying how much you’d like to invest and what you need to achieve in order to justify your expenditure.
While marketing budgets typically take a percentage of annual revenue, that may not be feasible if you’re just starting out.
If that’s the case for your brand, taking on short-term debt in order to launch a marketing campaign may be a worthwhile risk. Regardless of where the money comes from, be sure to conduct cost-benefit analyses for each expense to ensure that you’re making the right moves. Social media marketing is an investment, and it should always be done with clear goals and benefits in mind.
2. Define Your Audience
The greatest advantage of social media marketing is not only the ability to sell products, but the ability to build relationships. You first need to understand who you’re trying to build relationships with.
Different audiences respond to different content, and using analytics tools —as well as any insights drawn from your own market research—can help you narrow down your targets and identify the kinds of content they find most engaging. Use this information to determine where and how to spend your marketing budget and avoid spending on audiences that are unlikely to generate results.
3. Diversify Your Content
Producing great social media content that is engaging and shareable is essential, but it’s not easy. A successful marketing campaign should make use of multiple content types.This includes blog posts, videos, GIFs, photos and memes, news, and everything in between. Remember: diversify your content types, but keep your messaging (visual and text) consistent.
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Use your knowledge of your target audiences to determine the best content types, and be sure to track their performance in engagement, conversion, and other key metrics. This may require some experimentation, so make sure that your marketing budget accounts for the varying cost of different content types, and production and measurement tools.
4. Broaden Your Scope
Facebook and Twitter dominate the social media space, which brings both good and bad news. The good news is that both platforms boast gigantic user bases, but the bad news is that everyone’s already marketing there.
To maximize the value of your budget, it’s important to keep an open mind and seek out new opportunities as they emerge. Make a concerted effort to explore alternative platforms and platform features that your target audiences are using—then develop content specifically for them. Entering into developing platforms means less competition and the opportunity to engage with audiences in totally new ways, giving you a real leg up on the competition.
5. Plan for Innovation
In marketing, there’s nothing more dangerous than stagnation. Spend your money on strategies that have proven successful, but be sure to leave some room in your budget to experiment and pursue new ideas. Social media marketing is fast-paced, competitive, and ever-evolving, and it demands flexibility, innovation, and creativity to maintain success.
Make use of social media analytics to generate new insights about your audience and devise new marketing strategies to keep you one step ahead of the crowd. Not every new idea will be successful, but even failures offer great opportunities to learn and grow.
Social media has opened up tremendous opportunities for marketers to reach and engage with audiences, and with the explosive growth of smartphones and other mobile devices, it’s likely that its importance will only grow in the future.
Developing a comprehensive social media marketing budget is the best way to ensure that you’re getting the most bang for your marketing buck, and whether you’re flush with cash or operating on a shoestring budget, these tips will help you identify where and how your money should be spent.
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Maricel Tabalba is a freelance contributor for Credit.com who is interested in writing about personal finance advice for Millennials and college students. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago.