Social Media

Social Media Marketing Budget Breakdown: Develop a Comprehensive Plan for Future Success

 September 19, 2019

By  Madelyn Young


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Great! You have an amazing social media strategy all mapped out. Now what? Your social media budget is what comes next. Creating a solid social media budget can make or break your social media strategy. In this post, we’ll explain the advantages of proper social media budgeting, five factors to consider when you create a budget, and some of the average costs you can expect to invest in each of these categories.  

There are several advantages to creating a social media budget. For example, budgets always help prioritize your objectives; given a limited spend, what’s most important to accomplish? Creating a social media budget also provides you with the ability to demonstrate the success of your social media strategy in terms of ROI. Nothing is better to justify your recommendations than clear data to share with management. 

And, while clear ROI is the holy grail; measurement is one of the biggest challenges social media managers (we don’t live in a perfect world where every $1 invested in social advertising, you’ll see $1.50 in sales growth.) Another advantage of creating a social media budget is that it can keep you from making impulsive decisions that could hurt your social media campaign and won’t produce the intended outcome.  

Now that we’ve outlined some of the advantages of proper budgeting, there’s no generic template or A/B test that can instantly determine what’s right for your campaign. Your budget depends on the resources and priorities of your business. According to The Content Factory the average amount businesses can expect to pay for a complete social media strategy is between $4,000-$7,000 per month.

But whether you have a budget of $5,000 or a budget of $500, there are several common key factors to consider. Let’s dive in.

Key Factors to consider when creating your social media budget:

1. The cost of content creation

Every successful social media strategy consists of thoughtful, quality content. But quality content takes subject-matter expertise, strategy and persuasive skills to be effective. To determine what percentage of your budget you should allocate to content creation, ask yourself: “What type of content do I need to achieve the desired action?”

Is your goal to educate prospects in order to drive downloads of a cost-savings calculator app or appointments for a free in-home analysis? Or is your goal aimed at addressing more bottom-of-the-funnel outcomes, where buyers decide on a specific product, service or approach to help them resolve their problem? 

There are certainly free tools out there that social media managers or businesses can leverage to support quality content. Some of our favorites are Canva for graphic design made simple, UnSplash for stock photography and Lumen5 for easy video creation. There are also some great free social listening tools like Google Alerts, Hashtagify and Social Searcher to name a few. You can use these tools to monitor what people are saying about your brand and to bolster your content research toolbox.

On the other hand, there are paid tools that can really up your content creation game and make your social strategy a force to be reckoned with. These include the Adobe Suite, Canva’s paid version Stencil (an online graphic design tool) and Soapbox solo, a video creation tool. 

It’s difficult to provide an accurate amount you should plan on spending on content creation. It depends on the type of content your create and how often you will be posting. On average you should allocate between $100-$150 an hour for quality content. It’s important for managers to understand that poorly written content or cheap creative/graphics will not magically become more engaging or enjoy stronger CTRs by adding more money to boost or promote. If a post isn’t yielding results this month, it won’t improve performance next month by throwing more money at the problem. Ideally, strong creative/copy will require LESS advertising spend. 

2. The cost of paid advertising

The value of organic content has drastically decreased over the past few years. This is evident when you look at your KPIs from organic social media posts versus paid ads. Learn more about setting effective KPIs here. Social media giants have successfully monetized their platforms, so increasing your brand’s visibility has become a “Pay-to-Play” game. 

To determine how much you should spend on paid social media advertising ask yourself: “How much advertising will I require to meet my objectives?”

It’s important to understand that paid social is different on every platform and the breadth and pace of changes to paid strategies are mind-numbing. Even the best social media managers (wink, wink) are still learning and adjusting to ever-changing rules of the road. Strategies that worked seamlessly for years are suddenly discontinued. Audience targeting tools that brands built their growth around are, one day, no longer available. To stay ahead, brands need a team of experts devoted to maximizing every platform’s features, and capable of adapting to a constantly changing landscape.

Breaking down the advertising process of every single social media platform would turn this into a complete downloadable guide ( who knows, watch this space). But, this is a blog post, so let’s look at some of the costs of advertising on major platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Socal Media Marketing Budget

Click here to see Adstage’s complete Paid Media Benchmark Report.

It’s worth mentioning that social media advertising has a vocabulary of its own. Our blog post on Social Media ROI calculations can help you better understand definitions like Cost Per Click (CPC), Cost Per Lead (CPL) and Cost Per Sale (CPS). CPM (cost per thousand) is used to equally compare the advertising yield across online campaigns and platforms. In the example above, it cost $8.40 to reach 1,000 prospects on Facebook, but just $4.20 for the same reach on Twitter.

TIP: You can spend all the money in the world on social media advertising, but your ad campaigns won’t generate revenue if you invest in low quality social media assets and content. Instead, start with strong content and professional strategy.  Put our team of experienced social media managers to work.

3. The cost of Social Media Management and Analytics tools

Just having one social media page and creating content for it can be difficult, never mind managing multiple platforms without any type of help. This is why social media managers use social media management tools, to help consolidate tasks and keep track of all of the moving parts. Using a social media management tool has a lot of benefits.

Social Media Today provides a list of 10 Reasons why to use a social media management tool. Some of these reasons being to keep up with social engagement, manage multiple social pages, to manage customer relationships and to monitor relevant keywords.

Hootsuite, Buffer and Hubspot are some of the best Social Media Management Tools of 2019. When deciding what percentage of your social media budget to allocate to social media management and analytics tools-ask yourself: “Which services and tools do I need to measure and monitor my KPI goals?”

According to our calculations, the average cost of a social media management tool varies between $50-$400 per month, depending on the size of your campaign.

4. The cost of Social Media Influencers

Reaching out to and partnering with Social Media Influencers can take your social media strategy to the next level. An influencer in your industry is a great way to extend your brand’s reach. But once again, this kind of exposure comes at a cost, for the most part. There are many different types of influencers your brand can utilize such as celebrity influencers, industry influencers, media influencers, content creators, micro-influencers and local influencers. Knowing what to pay an influencer is tough for many brands and social media managers.

According to Buffer an influencer marketing platform named HYPR claims you can expect to pay $5,000 to $10,000 for a post by an influencer with 500,000 to one million followers across their social media profiles. The cost can vary depending on factors like the type of social media platform, the influencer’s following, the engagement on their pages and the product or service you’re selling. For these types of relationships, we advise our clients to use a formal contract that outlines specific deliverables (e.g., frequency and length of posts, product demos/reviews, % engagement, use of tagging and hashtags, etc.)  

But let’s get real, not everyone has that kind of budget. That’s why we suggest using micro-influencers or local influencers instead. These types of influencers are everyday folk and just happen to have a large and usually very passionate audience on their social pages. Micro-influencers will usually accept a $50-200 gift card in exchange for their services. This way you don’t have to break the bank to get the exposure your brand deserves. There’s even the possibility of asking your brand’s loyal customers or followers to serve as brand ambassadors for your business. This kind of user-testimonial and first-hand review can be immensely valuable because of the “believability” factor involved. Plus there’s tremendous cache in word-of-mouth endorsements.

5. The cost of labor

Whether you plan to do it all yourself or leverage the services of professional social media strategists, someone’s going to have to design and implement a strategy for your brand. According to Indeed.com the average social media manager’s salary is $47,719 per year. 

Creating a realistic, solid social media budget can be a daunting task. Take a step back, examine the factors you need to prioritize and how you will measure success. Ask yourself what factors will truly help you reach the objectives of your social media strategy or campaign. Once you’ve identified these factors, you can determine what percentage of your budget to allocate to each component.

Our experienced social media managers can help you develop an effective social media campaign, and a solid social media budget to help you move your brand’s needle.


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