Social Media Budgeting: Where Do You Start?

by Ivan Walsh on March 16, 2010

Guest article by Shannon Suetos from Resource Nation

The terms social media and social networking have been tossed around for quite some time now, but businesses are struggling with how to implement these strategies in their budgets.  How much is too much, how much is too little?  There are many factors on how to plan a budget, and the same goes for social media.

A study done by Econsultancy and bigmouthmedia has found that of the, “companies (86%) [they] surveyed plan to spend more money on social media in 2010, and a further 13% are planning to keep the same level of budget.”  With that being said, it seems the biggest struggle for companies is not that they don’t want to spend the money, but they don’t know what to spend it on.

Credit: TW Collins

The good news is many social media outlets are free.  Yes, there are programs you can purchase to help manage your accounts and are necessary for some social networking efforts, but for the most part it’s free to sign up on these sites.

Time

The main cost is how much time you are going to dedicate to your social media campaign.  Someone has to put into action your ideas, and they most likely aren’t going to work for free.  When writing up your budget make sure you take into account the time your employee(s) are going to be dedicating to this new project.

You also need to take into account if you need to hire someone to run your social media efforts.  With the social media industry becoming more popular, there are many people out there claiming to be social media gurus.  There are plenty of quality people in the industry who know what they are doing, but make sure you are getting someone with enough background in social media that makes you comfortable.

Monitoring

Once you have set up who and how much time will be spent on social media, the next step is to decide how you are going to monitor everything.  These analytical tools come in all shapes and sizes and the cost varies from application to application—and in some circumstances are free.

If you are just getting your feet wet, it is a good idea to start small and then grow.  See how effective your efforts are before going full blast.  You need to know where your target audience is engaging.  If your customers are mostly on Twitter and you aren’t there how will they get your message?  Play around with the different social networking sites and figure out which sites are best for your company.

Time will tell

Once you have done some research and dabbled in the different social networking you should be able to get a feel of what tactics work for your company and what don’t.  After you get a better feeling for where your key audience is participating with you, you can then focus your efforts and better know how to manage your time and money.

Shannon Suetos is a writer based in San Diego, California. She writes extensively for an online resource that provides expert advice on purchasing and outsourcing decisions for small business owners and entrepreneurs such as postage meters & postage scales at Resource Nation.

Ivan Walsh, Editor at Klariti About Ivan Walsh

Got a question about improving your business? Contact me on Google Plus, @KlaritiDotCom, and Facebook

  • http://twitter.com/afdujardin Florence Dujardin

    Your comments about the time dimension set me thinking about what activities to take into account. There's getting familiar with the social media, finding people, deciding on what type of messages – broadcasting and responding are just the tip of the iceberg… And then there's evaluating the value (eg how many Friends or tweets do you need to make a sale?)

    • http://www.ivanwalsh.com Ivan Walsh

      Hello Florence,
      It’s interesting that you say that as I raised a similar point over the The Age of Social Networks

      Brian made the point that “Social networks share a common ingredient in design and intent, the connection of people and the facilitation of conversations, sharing, and discovery. What they do not share however, are culture, behavior, and prevailing demographics. Each network is unique in its genetic and cultural composition and it is for that reason that we benefit by becoming digital anthropologists in addition to new media marketers.”

      Another factor is how effective each group is in using its own channel, i.e. as a means to reach its objective – which of course may differ across each user group.

      Some more good comments on this over here

      http://www.briansolis.com/2010/03/the-age-of-so

      Regards,

      Ivan

      • http://twitter.com/drmargaretlee Biz Blogger

        Ivan,

        I think you need to be realistic and focus on one ROI you can nail.
        E.g. look at getting more onto your Facebook fan page and zoom in on that.

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