What Should a Social Media Marketing Campaign Cost?

Since we formally announced the launch of this social media agency we call Ignite, we’ve been swamped with calls from companies asking how we can help them. Some have very specific questions and are well-informed on what they’d like to do. Others have an understanding that the social media marketing space is critically important, but they’re not sure how it can help them, how much it costs, etc. In this post, I’ll try to give some rough cost guidance.

First of all, asking how much a social media marketing campaign should cost is a lot like asking how much an advertising campaign or a PR campaign costs. An ad campaign can cost $5,000 or it can cost $250,000,000. A PR campaign can cost $2,500 a month or it can cost $100,000 a month. So it really depends on two factors:

  1. How much do you need to do? and
  2. How much can you afford to do?

Social media marketing isn’t for everyone. But it can work for lots of types of companies. And when it works for you, it works in different ways. So how much do you need to do is a question that we simply need to work through individually.

I told one company yesterday that they should probably allocate their budget in other ways; social media marketing wasn’t going to be their best ROI. I told another company yesterday that they should allocate a significant portion of their budget toward a few different social media marketing efforts. There is no pat answer.

As for how much can you afford, that’s a standard series of questions:

  • How much is your marketing budget overall?
  • What tactics are you using already and how are they working?
  • What percentage of your overall budget should be redirected to social media marketing.

That might be 5% of your budget or it might be 100% of your budget. Again: it depends.B.L. Ochman has a good post on her site about general costs. In it, she says that you can do an effective campaign for as little as $50,000. And that she’s done other campaigns that cost $500,000 for three months.

That range seems about right to me. We can build you “tools” (sites, widgets, networks) for much less than $50,000. (They can also cost much more than $50,000.) But you can’t really do a campaign unless you have a team out there working it properly. And while much of social media is “free,” time (whether it’s yours or ours) never is.

The right answer very much depends on your situation. So take a look at your overall marketing budget, your target audience and your goals and call me or someone like me to figure out what’s right for you.

If you run your own campaigns and want to share rough budget ideas, feel free to talk about them in the comments section below.

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