5 Tips to Setting Your Social Media Budget in 2016

As we are half-way through the year, many marketers are starting the exercise of looking ahead to 2016 and beginning to think about what their social budgets should be.  Since we frequently consult with brands on social media planning (including the budgeting exercise) we wanted to share some tips on how to set your social media budget for next year.

1. Compare benefits with spend

The first part of every budget exercise should be an evaluation of your spend to its actual performance and benefit.  While every line item may not help you achieve your social 900x735FB_BudgetPostobjectives, it’s good to scrutinize costs and to fully understand the benefits you received from them. In this exercise, don’t overlook tool costs.  While they may seem like they are the cost of “keeping the lights on”, they should be cut if they aren’t resulting in efficiencies, insights, or meaningful outcomes to your strategy or tactics.

2. Diversify media dollars beyond Facebook and Twitter

In previous years, most social media advertising dollars were primarily allocated to Facebook and Twitter.  Now that we’ve seen many other platforms starting to offer new media opportunities, it’s important for marketers to think ahead and allocate enough money to test new ad units as they arise. Go ahead and earmark media dollars so that when the opportunities arise your brand can have budget to try them in 2016.

3. Invest in content that is sharable

Take a critical look at the content your brand is producing to-date.  Is it sharable?  If it isn’t – uncover why.  Odds are that your brand doesn’t have a ton of highly visual or organic content at its fingertips. And even if you feel your brand is killing it, I bet your brand still has some work to do if you were to ask your customers.  The truth is, it’s hard to create content that people naturally want to share, simply because the brand always has a hidden agenda.  Creating highly sharable content that accomplishes a business objective is a craft, and you need to invest in the creation of it.

4. Account for rising costs

While highly efficient, the costs of social media marketing are obviously rising.  With more competition entering the space, and continual platform changes that make it more difficult to reach your audiences, you’ll need to account for these rising costs in your budgeting.

The following are a list of rising costs to consider as you plan your budgets:

  • Reaching your audience organically and paid (expect increases in media costs per quarter)
  • Developing visual & video content
  • Working with influencers
  • Social network fragmentation (more channels to manage than before)
  • Developing social programs with mobile in mind
  • Developing & optimizing content
  • Retaining & attracting social media talent

5. Leave room for programs & new opportunities

It may be tempting to create a budget that is entirely focused on creating and boosting content in the social space because the industry is buzzing about content marketing. Instead, build a budget that encourages a mixture of social tactics that may help you reach your objectives in slightly different ways. Don’t leave social programs out of this equation because they may be higher cost to execute. These programs could help drum up more excitement or more opportunities for your advocates to participate and share your message if they are planned correctly.

Remember to leave some wiggle room for opportunities and test projects.  If you want to be a brand that is innovative in the social space, you are going to need a budget that has room to try new things.

Ignite Social Media