Important Marketing Budget Advice: Social Media, Blogging and Email
Social media marketing, blogging with search engine optimization (SEO) best practices, and email marketing are three of the most common forms of content marketing businesses rely on. But before you jump into managing your company’s Facebook page or sending out an e-newsletter, you need to have your marketing budget in place. Last week I shared an overview of creating one and important considerations for your social media advertising campaign. Today I’ll focus on organic social media management, blogging for SEO, and email marketing. What are your goals for these tactics? Which ones will draw more of your focus? How much do you plan to spend on them? It would help if you had a clear overview of all the different variables involved before answering the dollar amount to place on social media marketing, blogging, or email marketing.
How much of your marketing budget should allocate to social media? Unlike social media advertising, organic social media management focuses on your non-paid presence. Although social networks are increasingly playing to their advertisers, it’s still important for your brand to have an unpaid presence. This post explains why organic social media is still important: It’s Cost-effective Provides AuthenticityIt Compliments advertising Fosters Your Creative VoiceIt Provides a Forum for Customer CareIt Builds Engaged Communities More effectively Helps Search Engine Optimization. Although organic social media marketing is cost-effective, it’s important to remember it’s not free. No, you don’t need to pay Facebook or Twitter to publish updates on your page. Still, it does take time and resources to develop a strategy, carefully craft your updates, publish them on the page, and monitor for engagement. Whether you take it in-house or outsource to a social media firm, it will cost your business dollars and cents.
As you determine how much of your marketing budget to spend on organic social media management, consider the following questions.1. Which Platforms Will You Focus On? While you don’t need to be on every social media channel, you do need to have an active, well-managed presence on a few. As CEO Erika Montgomery recommends below, focus your efforts on a couple of networks. Consider which social platforms your target audiences use. For example, if you’re trying to target millennial women, you probably want to invest in Facebook and Instagram. However, if your target is millennial men, Twitter and YouTube would be better suited to focus on. Or, if you’re a B2B company trying to reach older decision-makers, you may want to spend more of your marketing budget on LinkedIn and then secondarily invest in Facebook. Check out this infographic about the demographics of social media for helpful insight.
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Once you’ve determined which social media platforms you’ll focus on, you need to think about how often you’ll post new updates. There’s a big difference between basic page maintenance (posting one or two times a week) and a robust presence (two to three updates going live a day). As you think about how often you’ll post on each platform, remember to factor in the time it takes to create the updates. What types of content will you publish? Are you sharing posts from your blog, articles from other websites related to your industry, videos you create, inspiring images, or insightful infographics?
At Three Girls, we recommend sharing a variety of content by following the 80/20 rule. Aim for about 20 percent of your updates to be self-promotional. The remaining 80 percent reinforce your expertise by being related to your industry, but not all about you and your business. Will your social media strategy require that you invest in specific tools? Here are some you may want to factor into your marketing budget:
Stock Photos – if you’re going to be creating images to share, and you don’t have the time or ability to take photos to use in them, consider a subscription to a website like 123RF so you can rest assured you aren’t breaking any copyright infringement laws. Photo or Video Editing Software – Are you planning to purchase a program like Adobe Photoshop to edit photos for your social media pages? If so, include it in your marketing budget. The good news is, depending on how much editing you plan on doing, there are some really great cost-effective or free graphic design options out there. Third-Party Scheduling Software – Ineffective social media management, it’s important you post regularly. But you don’t want the headache of needing to log in to each account every day, find the update you already wrote, and cut/paste it in. While Facebook pages do have a scheduling option, you may want one central hub to upload all your updates to multiple social sites at once and see where and when each will go live. There are many social media scheduling websites out there, but we recommend Hootsuite as it’s both cost-effective and relatively easy to use.
Your answer to this should be very regularly – at least once a day, although a few times a day is better. While it doesn’t take a lot of time to log in to Facebook or Instagram, check for interaction and respond as appropriate, it does add up. Spending 10-15 minutes a couple of times a day is approximately 15 hours a month. Make sure you factor this time into your marketing budget. If you write your blog posts yourself, how much of your valuable time will they take? Recent research shows the average blog post takes professional writers 3 hours and 20 minutes to write. Do you have that much time to carve out of your schedule each week? Remember that your time is valuable too.
If you’re trying to put a dollar amount on it for the sake of your marketing budget (or if you’re considering outsourcing to a content marketing firm), remember how much you bill clients for your time.
Also, it’s worth noting that the time estimate is for professional writers. Depending on how much experience you have researching a topic, typing it out in an article that makes sense, and editing the post, you may want to account for more of your time.
Another factor to consider is your own knowledge regarding SEO, too. Are you familiar with best practices? It will take time to research them and to stay up-to-date as a search engine. Just because you write the blog post, it doesn’t mean your target consumers will automatically find it. How will you publicize your post? In addition to creating a publicity plan, you’ll need to follow through. If you share the post via social media, how much time will it take you to write and schedule the updates? Are you going to run social media and around it? If so, that needs to be factored into your marketing budget as well. This is why it’s good to physically write down each piece of your overall strategy to plan your marketing budget. Because the various tactics aren’t completely separate, you’ll need a clear picture of your overall approach to know how much to factor into social media ads or organic updates regarding your blogging.