marketing, smm, social media marketing, digital marketing, marketing budgets,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.