Budgeting for a Social Media Program
Learn how to budget for a social media program.
The budgeting process is an important part of achieving ambitious social media goals. Effective budgeting involves showcasing the value of your strategy to senior leadership, a plan for carefully managing company resources, and securing the tools needed for success.
Social media managers should begin the budgeting process well before final budget numbers are settled, to influence how much they’ll be awarded. For example, if Q1 starts on January 1st, then preparations could begin as early as Q3 of the previous year.
Starting early will ensure you make the most persuasive and data-driven case possible for securing the resources you need to achieve social media goals.
When pitching your budget to decision makers, focus on conveying two things: First, demonstrate ROI from the current year, and second, showcase the value of the initiatives, campaigns, and goals you have in mind for the coming year – and how your proposed budget will support these.
The best way to showcase the value of what you hope to accomplish in the coming year is to come to the table with well thought out social media goals, objectives, and supporting tactics – and most importantly, how these support broader organizational goals.
Part of fleshing out your social media tactics for the coming year is determining what tools you’ll need and their cost. Consider what software, contractors, and other equipment will be required, and have a solid business case prepared.
Third party vendors often have polished resources that highlight the value they can bring to your organization. It’s also wise to show what your competitors are doing and how you can keep up, or surpass their efforts.
When proposing a budget, consider requesting an experimentation fund, which can be used to take advantage of new trends and industry developments. This is ideal for social teams, as networks and advertising techniques often launch with very little notice and require immediate action to capitalize properly. If your business is unable to provide this, consider setting aside a portion of your budget for this purpose.
Eventually, you’ll be assigned your budget for the year. Whether it’s increased, decreased, or stayed the same, you’ll need to split it up by month.
To allocate resources effectively, look at the pace of business across your fiscal year and factor in seasonality. Work with whoever controls the data within your company to understand customer trends that may impact where and when your budget is best spent. For example, in the travel industry, you might allocate more budget to months with holidays and spring vacation. Also factor in larger marketing campaigns, company acquisitions, or important announcements, as these events may require additional resources.
Throughout the year, be proactive in looking at new social trends and opportunities for improvement - and shift resources around accordingly. The ability to remain flexible, yet proactive, is a key factor of success in the social media field.
Finally, as you move through the year, always keep next year’s budget pitch in mind, and gather data and insights along the way that will make pitching and budgeting easier.