Social media is, without a doubt, one of the most popular marketing platforms used by businesses today.
Budget allocation is small but growing. According to research from Duke University, marketers currently spend 9% of their budget on social media, but will spend up to 13% by 2018. In another five years, social media is expected to take up 21% of marketing budgets.
However, spending money on social media and achieving results from social media are two very different things. If you want to get the best ROI out of your social media expenditure, you need a smart, well-constructed social media budget.
Here are seven integral elements to focus on.
Copywriting is a huge part of your social media strategy, and I’m not just talking about the social media intern who drafts 140-character tweets. You will inevitably need a person (depending on the size of your business, maybe even more than one person!) to create engaging and compelling copy to convert visitors who land on your website from social media into bonafide customers.
Here are three main areas where you’ll need a good wordsmitih:
To create topical blog content that will interest your target audience and bring value into their lives. The sky’s the limit with how many blog posts you can publish – some businesses publish new content on the daily! But no matter how many posts you’re publishing, you can’t expect to get away with bad writing or with promoting the same two content pieces over and over again on social media. You’re going to need a dedicated copywriter or content producer to keep it fresh.
- Lead magnets
To create premium content that you can use to get people to sign up for your mailing list such as ebooks, whitepapers, how-to guides or other downloads. A good copywriter can repurpose blog posts into slide decks, infographics, etc to share across your social media accounts to ensure you have a good mix of promotional and value-driven posts.
- Product pages
To create great copy for your product pages. Good copywriting can make all the difference here – good copywriters write creative, funny, punchy and evocative copy that makes things sell better. Bad copywriters write generic, clichéd, sloppy and sleazy copy that makes people click away.
2. Visual content creation
According to the Content Marketing Institute, social media is the number one go-to for B2B content marketers… and the vast majority of social media content is visual.
If you want your posts to generate buzz, then visual content creation should be a major part of your social media budget.
Visual content can include:
- Images to share and promote your blog content
- GIFs and memes
- Eye-catching infographics
- Cover and profile photos
If your budget is small, you can get away with doing this all for free. Canva, for instance, will let you create social sharing graphics for zilch. However, you’ll have to cough up for more advanced features.
There are also many, many free versions of infographic tools and meme creators.
3. Creative video content
An Animoto survey found that upward of 60% of Facebook users watch branded video content every day. So if you don’t use video content, you could be missing out on a huge potential audience who prefer this medium over anything else.
You can make videos out of everything, even your blog posts! The most affordable way to do this is to commission someone on Fiverr to create these videos for you (but beware of quality issues with this strategy). If you’d rather have someone in your team create videos, you can sign up for a tool like Animoto. It helps amateurs make short social videos in a snap. A basic Animoto plan costs $8/month and you can create as many videos as you want.
4. Social media advertising
Social media advertising is an absolute must if you want to seriously build your reach and grow your audience. All the major social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Pinterest) offer some form of paid advertising these days.
There are two main social advertising areas you can focus on:
- Content promotion
This involves publishing website content, sharing it on social media and then paying for that content to appear in people’s feeds. On Facebook they call this a ‘Boost’, while on Twitter it’s a ‘Promoted Tweet’. Either way, it’s an effective strategy for traffic generation.
- Display ads and remarketing
Display ads are a more traditional advertising route. You create an ad with the goal of getting people to sign up, download a lead magnet, or even make a purchase. Then you pay to have those ads appear in people’s news feeds. Facebook calls them ‘Suggested posts’. The best performing display ads are usually targeted towards a ‘remarketing audience’, such as previous website visitors or your customer database.
With either advertising option, you remain in complete control of your budget, so you can invest as little or as much as you want. That said, if you invest too little in your ads, then your reach might not grow enough to show scaleable results. So basically, it’s better to invest more in advertising on one or two key platforms than investing a little in all of them.
5. Extra marketing initiatives
For the majority of businesses, the main goal of their social media efforts is to drive their bottom line. Attracting traffic back to your site with great content is one thing, but you also need to move people through your sales funnel.
That’s what your promotional material exists for. These initiatives can include:
- A social media competition to encourage signups and generate buzz
- A sweepstakes or giveaway to introduce people to your products
- Promotions like the below post from Cat Lover’s Paradise
For this option, you’ll need to invest in prizes for your campaigns. This could be one of your products or something else entirely. You’ll also need a lead capture tool on your landing page to encourage people to sign up. Your email marketing software probably has features you can use for this exact purpose.
You’ll also need graphics for your promotional material and time from your community manager to promote and post updates about your competition or promotion.
Here’s a breakdown of potential costs:
- Email marketing software: $0-$XXX per month depending on your platform. MailChimp is free up to a certain point.
- Prizes: $0 plus the cost of manufacturing a product for the giveaway.
- Advertising copywriting: $0 (do it yourself) or $0.25 to $3 per word for hire.
6. Social media and community management
Social media and community management is all about engaging with your audience and building lasting relationships on social media. This is a tricky art and it’s a good idea to appoint a particular person to the position of social media manager. Depending on how much you invest in this tactic, it could either be a full or part-time position, but either way they will be an integral part of your social media team.
Your social media manager will be in charge of:
- Drafting and scheduling posts with a content sharing tool such as FlypChart
- Regularly logging into all of your social accounts to comment on people’s posts and respond to comments
- Engaging in relevant social groups and using hashtag-driven conversations to help build your audience
- Finding new ways to market your business or brand
Your social media manager will be the ‘voice’ of your business – the human messenger between your business and other people. They may also be in charge of hosting Twitter Chats, using Facebook Live, or hosting Reddit #AMAs.
7. Tracking data and results
The only way you’re going to know your social media strategy is really paying off is to track and measure your results. This is actually very easy to do, and will take up little to none of your social media budget.
Every social platform has built-in analytics features you can use for free – for example, check out Twitter Analytics. These help you see how well your content is performing and which posts get the most engagement, shares, etc. But if you want to achieve a more holistic look at your social media efforts, you’ll need to pony up for a third-party tool.
You can also track social media traffic back to your site for free using Google Analytics. You can manage Google Analytics yourself, or hire a professional to compile the insights for you. The cheapest way to do this is to find a expert to analyze the data on your accounts on a part-time or freelance basis.
A good social media strategy has a whole heap of different elements that work together to make it effective. If you forget to invest in one important part, your ROI will suffer.
These seven key components of a well-constructed social media budget that I’ve listed above are pretty essential. You can’t really skimp on copywriting or community management, let alone graphics and advertising.
Always give enough of your social media budget to each of these areas when you are drawing it up, and you’ll be well-positioned for success. Fail to do so and you may have a major *facepalm* moment later.
Do you tend to think of a social media budget as being complicated? What do you think is the most important area to put money towards? Let me know in the comments below.