Important Marketing Budget Advice: Social Media, Blogging and Email

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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 manage your company’s Facebook page or send out an e-newsletter, you must have your marketing budget in place. Last week, I shared an overview of creating one important consideration 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 to have a clear overview of all the variables involved before answering the dollar amount to place on social media marketing, blogging, or email marketing.

Social Media

How much of your marketing budget should be allocated 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 company. This post explains why organic social media is still important: It’s Cost-effective, Provides AuthenticityIt, Compliments advertising, Fosters Your Creative voice, Provides a Forum for Customer care, Builds Engaged Communities More effectively, and 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, post 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 several networks. Consider which social platforms your target audiences use. For example, if you 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 to focus on, you must consider how often you’ll post new updates. There’s a big difference between basic page maintenance (posting once or twice a week) and a robust presence (two to three updates going live daily). 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 various content following the 80/20 rule. Aim for about 20 percent of your updates to be self-promotional. The remaining 80 percent reinforces your expertise by being related to your industry, but it is not 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 copyright infringement laws. PImageor 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 great, cost-effective, or free graphic design options. Third-Party Scheduling Software – Ineffective social media management, you must 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 have a scheduling option, you may want one central hub to upload all your updates to multiple social sites and see where and when each will go live. Many social media scheduling websites are out there, but we recommend Hootsuite as it’s both cost-effective and relatively easy to use.

Your answer to this should be very regular – at least once a day, although a few times a day is better. While it doesn’t take much 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 daily 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 your marketing budget (or 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 knowledge of SEO, too. Are you familiar with best practices? Researching them and staying up-to-date as a search engine will take time. Just because you write the blog postdoesn’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 long will it take you to write and schedule the updates? Are you going to run social media around it? If so, that also needs to be factored into your marketing budget. 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 general approach to know how much to factor into social media ads or organic updates regarding your blogging.