Many business owners understand the importance of social media marketing in the Digital Age. It’s very easy to see that billions of people around the world are logging into various social media networks every day, checking their status, posting photographs and engaging with their family, friends and total strangers.
However, knowing social media marketing is important. and factoring that cost into your budget are two vastly different things.
So, how much should a business owner expect to spend on social media marketing? Good question. Conventional wisdom states that businesses should spend about 5% of their annual revenue on marketing if they want to maintain their business. If they want to spend money to grow their business they should expect to spend substantially more, say, maybe 10% of their annual revenue.
So, of that 5% annual revenue they are setting aside for marketing, how much of that should go toward social media marketing? It depends on who they are trying to target. My guess is that most businesses could dispense with nearly all of their traditional marketing platforms and switch entirely to social media marketing. After all, everyone you once reached through print, radio and television now spends the majority of their time online reading the news, watching television shows and listening to music.
However, I forgive you for believing I might be biased in my opinion.
Rather than hash out what form of advertising is best, let’s instead talk about how much you might expect to spend on your social media marketing. That’s easy.
Let’s say you have three networks (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn–for example) and you want to keep those networks updated three times a day. You can expect that the time it takes to research and schedule those 21 posts per week is about five minutes each. That’s about 2.5 hours. And that’s just posting.
If you want someone to monitor the networks, make certain customers questions or comments are being answered in a timely fashion, then you’ll need them to be checking your accounts at regular intervals throughout every day. That only takes about 5 minutes per account every time they do it. So, let’s call that an extra half hour per day, multiplied by 7 days = 3.5 hours. Plus the 2.5 hours of scheduling each week, and you’re at 6 hours per week.
Now, ask yourself how much you want to pay someone to do just those things. Before you answer “as little as possible” understand that the person responsible for doing this will have full access to all your company details, your company’s public profile on social media, and will be engaging your customers and business associates every day. You might want to reconsider “as little as possible” and arrive at a decent wage. Multiply this by six and voila! you have achieved the bare minimum of social media marketing for your company.
Of course there are also a great many variables in quality of social media marketing, even at the bare minimum stage. Quality social media marketing firms (such as Dandelion Digital Media) understand how to use Trending Hashtags to target specific conversations; research quality content and provide guidance for optimizing and maximizing the impact of your social media presence.
If you actually want to grow your presence, generate leads or build your walk-in traffic, that’s all going to require more time and more tools, like paid advertising for example. So, take that “minimum number” we just talked about and triple it. That might put you in the ballpark, but there are a great many variables which can push that number even higher.
In essence, your marketing budget is your marketing budget, end of story. If you only have “X” amount of money to spend then you’re only going to spend “X” amount of money. The real question is always what should you expect for your money, and this is a good example of what you might expect to pay.
No doubt you likely understand hashtags (those little # symbols adorning Tweets and Instagram posts) are important as a social media marketing tool. But chances are you don’t understand exactly how they work best.
Hashtags were originally intended to help users (Twitter users, specifically) find similar conversations. So, if they wanted to start a group discussion about “science” they could put #science on their Tweet, and other people who wanted to read “science” tweets could simply search that hashtag. When they did every Tweet with #science appeared and they could share, or comment or whatever, accordingly.
Fast forward to today and everybody is suddenly shoving dozens of hashtags on every social media post they make because they think then everyone will find it.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Also, not an effective use of your time.
First, hashtags only work if people are actively searching for that subject. So before you #hashtag #every #word #in #your #post – maybe try searching for one hashtag on the service you are using. See which posts appear which are relevant to your subject and which conversations you’d like your posts to be a part of.
Think every word is ok for a search? Ask Rick Santorum how that strategy worked for him.
Second, just because a hashtag has been searched a million times doesn’t mean if you use it your content will suddenly go viral. Hashtags are searched constantly, and those search counts accrue constantly. So, maybe in the last five months 1 million people have searched on Instagram for #science. But today they are searching for #datascience. Or #kimkardashian. Or #smothersbrothers. To use hashtags effectively you don’t need to know what are the most popular hashtags ever, you need to know which are the hottest hashtags today. Right now. Try checking trending hashtags using one of the free tools out there, like Hashtagify. If you can tailor your content to fit in with a hashtag which is popular now, you stand a much better chance of getting the results you are looking for.
Finally, use your common sense. Hashtags are just one tool among many which can help people find your content. But finding your content is only half the battle. Giving them content worth engaging with in some way is the other, more important, half. If you correctly hashtag your spam link all you’re going to do is get your account blocked that much quicker. Or, perhaps your content isn’t spammy, just boring or uninteresting, or unoriginal. You’ll have the same problem getting people to share what they couldn’t care less about.
To Recap: Only use hashtags which make sense for your subject and desired audience. Use hashtags which are currently popular to get the most exposure. And only hashtag content which you think might be relateable and shareable for other users.
We often have clients approach us who want to know “what works” when it comes to social media marketing. Unfortunately, the answer to that question is not what they want to hear:
Every client is different.
When considering a social media marketing plan the first thing we do is evaluate the client. What are their existing resources? What is their web presence (or do they even have one?) What products/inventory do they have? Who are they trying to reach? What are their future plans?
In order for us to find the best match among the many existing social media marketing tools we need to know the answers to these questions.
For example, if a client has a great deal of imagery, either of their products/service or simply their employees in action, we might look at using a tool such as Pinterest or Instagram. If they have a great deal of videos YouTube is the obvious choice, but we can also use those videos to promote their business in a myriad other ways.
Facebook is undeniably the largest social network currently available, however it has strict limitations when it comes to how a business can use it. Just because a billion people currently use Facebook don’t think you can create a Facebook Business Page and instantly reach a billion people. Facebook restricts your Business Page reach to just 1% (sometimes less) of your existing audience. And if it is a new Business Page, growing that page audience is nearly impossible without making use of the paid Facebook tool for doing so.
At Dandelion Digital Media our first step is to fully evaluate every potential client, determine its strengths and weaknesses and develop a social media marketing strategy which will work best for them. We carefully explain what steps we plan to take, what tools we will use and how we will use them, and what the clients expectations should be as a result of our work.
In some cases social media marketing is not the best choice a business can make. If that’s the case, we’ll explain that too, and provide some viable options – even when those options don’t provide us with any work.
We mean it when we say that we’re here to help our clients in any way we can.