One of the best things about social media is that it’s totally free to set up accounts on every platform imaginable – you can create a Facebook and LinkedIn profile, a YouTube and Vimeo account, set up Instagram and Snapchat, start posting on Reddit and Tumblr and Imgur, all without paying a single cent. That’s part of what makes it such an amazing marketing tool – it costs nothing to start using it and because it’s free, billions of people use it.
So why should your business budget for social media? Well, it’s simple: as a business owner or marketer, unless you have unlimited time to spend creating content and posting it, unlimited creativity to keep your content fun, exciting, interesting and relevant, and unlimited patience to deal with the positive and negative feedback you are going to receive, you’re going to need someone else to handle it for you.
But how much should you be paying? If you do a quick google search, you’re going to get answers that range from anywhere between $500 per month and $50,000 per month and all of them are going to tell you, it depends on what you want. We figured we’d make it a little easier and show you how to create a social media budget template which will help you figure out your social media budget plan. This will also help you compare providers and choose who to go with.
Your social media budget allocation is going to depend on a few different factors, and you should take these into consideration when drawing up your template:
How many platforms do you want to post on?
There are several social media platforms available, but not all of them will be useful or relevant to your business. The first step on your social media budget breakdown should specify how many and which platforms you want to engage on.
A competent social media expert will help you create a strategy that works – and yes, you will need to pay for this strategy, in some cases as much as $5,000 for an initial strategy, or between $4,000 and $7,000 per month for ongoing strategizing, analysis and planning.
Take a very close look at this strategy before you go any further, though, because there are, unfortunately, some unscrupulous social media marketers who will try to convince you that you should be using far more platforms than strictly necessary, just to get more cash out of you.
How regularly do you want to post?
This part of your monthly marketing budget template should take into consideration the platforms you’ll be using and the speed at which they work. Twitter, for example, is a very high-engagement platform, but has a very fast turnaround time. YouTube, on the other hand, has a slower burn, with videos picking up views for weeks, month and even years. Where you might want anything from three to ten tweets each day, you might only want a new video every week or two.
That said, it takes a whole lot less time to compose a tweet than it does to conceptualize, script, record, edit and upload a video, so each individual tweet will cost you significantly less than a single video. Your social media budget breakdown should detail how much each different type of post will cost you.
Do you want monitoring and active engagement?
The answer to this question should probably be “yes”. Social media accounts that just post content and don’t engage with followers quickly lose momentum and potential customers slip away. Active engagement means you are in touch with customers, which helps improve your brand image. It also helps you stay on top of what customers think of you.
Active engagement as part of your social media budget plan needs to include how much time you expect your social media manager to spend actively monitoring your accounts. It could be a matter of watching your feed 24/7, or it could be a matter of scanning through everything once every two hours, taking a few to several minutes. Discuss hourly rates or fixed retainers for this – a fixed monthly fee can be between $2,000 and $15,000, depending on how much time you need them to spend on it.
Who is going to create the content?
Most social media marketing management companies either have full-time employees or remote freelance staff who will create your content for you. Alternatively, you might want your in-house staff to do it for you. Whichever you choose, this will have an effect on your social media budget, so include this on your template.
Content creators usually work on an hourly rate of between $20 and $60 per hour for those with little or no experience, to between $80 and $150 or for more experienced creators. Highly experienced creators who can churn out massive quality volume quickly can charge up to $250 per hour, but they will also produce content a lot faster than a newbie.
When you have all this information together, it’s time to create your digital marketing budget template, which you can use to request quotes and compare rates for different social media marketing management options.
Have you had any interesting or useful experiences working out your social media marketing budget? Let us know in the comments.
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