Budgeting is no fun for most small business owners and the reason why is because there are lots of variables to account for in addition of course to the limited resources small businesses have!
If you had a marketing budget like Coca-Cola does, then I assure you that it will be fun to budget for social media marketing, but unfortunately, we can’t afford to make lots of mistakes as small business owners because that is the shortest way to bankruptcy
The mistake businesses usually make when budgeting for social media marketing is that they set a specific budget first, let’s say $3,000 a month and then select what is suitable for that budget. There is nothing wrong about this approach, but it has some limitations because when you think about the budget first and then move to strategy, you’re going to make the wrong decisions. My approach is a little bit different. I make a strategy with an outline of everything my clients need to accomplish (with a budget range of course) and then think about how to budget for their social media marketing efforts. In other words, I always think of how to budget for a given strategy NOT how to create a strategy while strictly focusing on the budget. This way, we’ll make sure that we only invest in what the company needs the most to achieve their objectives!
That being said, here is my budgeting process for social media marketing.
Step 01: Select Which Channels You’re Going to Be Using
There is no way you’re going to be able to budget correctly for social media marketing without having a strategy first.
After determining your business objectives and building your buyer personas, the channel selection comes next.
What I mean by channels is the platforms you ideal customer uses that you’re going to use to communicate with them.
In the example of social media marketing, it could be Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn…etc.
Make sure you don’t just select channels out of guess-work, but only from data you gathered about your prospects, customers and competition.
Step 02: See Which Tactics Will Help You Achieve Your Business Objectives
After you select the right channels for your business, now it’s time to choose the right tactics that work best with these channels and that will help you achieve your business objectives, whether it’s increasing awareness or getting more leads and sales.
If one of the channels you selected for example is Facebook, then the tactics could be:
- Run a giveaway each month.
- Use Facebook advertising to direct people to a squeeze page with your lead magnet.
- Use a social referral program to get more new customers from you existing ones using Facebook…etc
As you can see, the previous tactics will help you get more awareness for your business as well as generate more leads and sales. Everything should be traced back to business objectives!
Step 03: See What Is Needed to Execute Your Tactics
In order for you to execute those tactics properly, there are several things you need:
- Team: You should decide whether you make new hires (part-time OR full-time) or assign roles for existing team members.
- Tools: These will help you save tons of time and execute your tactics properly. There is a wide variety of social media marketing tools from management and monitoring to listening and referral. Again, all of them should be selected based on your tactics.
- Consulting/services: This is necessary especially if you or your team aren’t familiar with the execution process of some of the tactics mentioned to achieve your objectives. You should account for this as well in your budgeting. Let’s say that you want to invest a considerable amount of resources in Facebook advertising. Working with a consultant who knows Facebook advertising will help you save tons of money that you can invest in other areas. Also, you might need ongoing graphic design services for your Facebook posts, that should be accounted for as well.
Step 04: Prioritize Channels and Tactics
If your strategy estimate is within your budget range, then there is no need to prioritize anything except when you’re executing your strategy. However, if you see that you’re over your budget range, then you need to prioritize the channels and tactics that will bring you fast ROI so you can invest more in long term tactics in the future. That is one way of doing it, but tactic selection is not always an easy process. The way I do it is to start with tactics that contribute directly to the first business objectives my client wants to accomplish. When we have more resources, then we jump on the rest of the tactics that are designed to achieve secondary objectives. See again how everything is tied to business objectives
Step 05: Assign Budgets
The last step in the process after prioritizing channels and tactics is to assign your a budget for every resource needed to execute your strategy whether it’s tools, team, consultants, advertising…etc.
You should try as much as possible to stick with your budget, but if you happen to face cash flow problems, then you can adjust accordingly until it’s solved.
So, that was my process of budgeting for social media marketing, if you need any help setting up a social media or digital marketing strategy for your business, then let me know.
Also, I would love your questions and comments. Make sure you leave them in the comment section below!
Image Credit: iprole