As 2017 winds down, many companies are thinking about 2018 and how they should invest in their businesses. For some, this might mean taking a look at what they want to spend on marketing. For others, it might be what they want to spend on their regular Friday happy hour.
In both cases, I applaud you for planning ahead.
As I prepared to write this blog, I did a little research; I was just curious to know how much companies spent on their social media marketing. So, I Googled “social media marketing small business budget.” And what I found made the small business owner in me gulp for air.
In 2017, businesses spent $13.5 billion on social media marketing. The 2018 projection is estimated at $15.3 billion. For 2019? A whopping $17.3 billion.
Was that "billion" with a B??
Now, being in the business of social media marketing – this is making me feel hopeful. However, being a small business owner who works with small business owners…these numbers were nothing short of overwhelming.
What’s difficult about determining a social media marketing budget is that sometimes it’s hard to measure the benefits. That’s because in many cases social media is about brand recognition and gaining trust as a resource – especially if you’re a service provider. It’s not always easy to know that this + this = a new client.
After all, you often don’t know if a post you shared on social media was then shared several other times until it landed on the screen of someone who became a paying client. So, that can be hard to quantify.
Wait! There IS some good news.
However, the BEST thing about social media is that the marketing can cost you next to nothing, as long as you’re willing to spend the time on it. I mean, really. If you can keep your social media channels occupied with original and helpful content on your own, the price of boosting posts or advertising is really very little.
So, let’s think about your social media marketing budget this way, because this is the way I work with my clients (I realize not everyone does). Your marketing budget should have some correlation between the time you have to spend on it (or want to spend on it) and the time you don’t.
“I can create all of my content and post it regularly.” = minimal cost because it’s your own time and effort.
“I can create some of the content, but I don’t want to deal with posting it.” = small investment in services.
“I don’t want to deal with any of it because I would rather put my head through drywall than engage in social media.” = CALL ME.
What is your time worth?
Social media marketing is like any other service you might outsource. Don’t like doing your own taxes? You call an accountant. Can’t stand to walk into your kids’ bathroom? You call a cleaning service. Think you might be turning into your mother? You call a therapist.
In reality, you can deal with any one of those things on your own – but do you want to?
This is when you need to start asking yourself what your time is worth…which will help you determine your marketing budget. If you have the time, interest, patience, and follow-through to deal with social media and content marketing, then you know what you’re going to spend on it. But if it’s something that you grind through every day or feel like it’s the one thing you never seem to have time to do, then it might be worth talking to someone about it.
One more thing.
If you’re like me, often the fear of the unknown is the biggest problem. So, if you’ve been sitting around this last year thinking, “I don’t have $_____ to spend on social media marketing” without actually investigating how much it will cost, it’s time to get an answer to that question.
Who knows? It might cost less than happy hour.