According to the CMO Survey, the percentage of the marketing budget that is allocated for social media is on the rise. The organization predicts it will climb to nearly 21% for the average company in the next five years from 11.7% in 2016. That’s an increase of 234% since 2009, when it barely registered on the budget at 3.5%.
But while marketers increase budgets, they continue to report difficulty in proving the return on the spend. Only 20.3% report being able to show the return quantitatively linking it to company performance. So what should you be spending your money on if you want to maximize the return? Here are a few suggestions:
Top Ways to Spend Your Social Media Marketing BudgetHow you spend your budget is largely dependent on what you’re trying to achieve with social media. Are you looking for new clients/customers? Are you trying to retain current customers and increase your customer spend? Are you concerned with improving search rankings?
Most businesses want to do all of the above, and they are interconnected, but it’s important to be honest about what’s most valuable to your business and achieving its goals. The reason why it’s important is because time and resources are limited for most businesses.
You only have so many hours in the day and so much to invest. Because of that, you have to make decisions about how you allocate your resources and there are subtle differences in the approach based on what you’re trying to achieve. For instance, if SEO is your main drive, you’re going to invest heavily in Google and time on Google properties. If, on the other hand, your goal is to connect to customers for greater upsells and return sales, you’ll concentrate on engagement and conversation.
For this article, we’ll assume you want to do a little bit of everything — increase upsells, improve SEO, and attract new clients.
Concentrate on Google and Search EnginesGoogle now indexes website pages, social media posts and profiles. That means above all you want to interact on Google properties. Posting regularly and connecting with people on Google+ and YouTube is especially important to improving your search rankings.
Microsoft’s Bing is also a respectable search engine and likely plays the same kind of favorites when it comes to its social media holdings. For that reason, LinkedIn is heavily indexed and is a good place to publish as well.
Optimize Free OptionsThere are a number of things you can do on social media that cost only time but they are still important. Ensure that all of the social media platforms you post to are completely filled out with all of your business information and links. Update this information periodically.
Facebook Live increases the possible views of your video while you’re broadcasting (unlike posts which rarely get seen outside of people who interact regularly with your content) so it’s important to be involved in this medium. While it’s free to record and post, you’ll want a decent webcam or phone camera and a tripod and headset if you’re recording from your phone.
Pay for SocialWhile Facebook Live does give you access to a larger audience (at least for now) if you want your regular posts to get found, you’ll need to pay for them. Use Facebook’s targeting to drill down to the group that will most likely find your content valuable. Facebook has some amazing targeting features and if you use them your cost on the advertising spend will be less than if you just pay to push it out. This is a good resource to find out how to maximize the return on your spend in social advertising.
Pay for Efficiency ToolsThere are a lot of social media tools that give you better analytics and reporting features than what you can get for free and allow you to schedule posts so you’re not sitting on social all day. Some of these include Sprout Social, AgoraPulse, BuzzSumo, HootSuite, PostPlanner, MeetEdgar and CrowdBooster. They run the gamut on pricing and most offer several different levels and monthly options, as well as free trials, so you can find the one you like best. Selecting one of them will help streamline your social media processes, freeing up your time, and allowing you to do more.
Dedicate More ResourcesAgain, there are only so many hours in the day. If you want to get serious about your social media marketing, you need to allocate headcount. Not only does it take time to curate content and share posts, but you need to be listening and participating in conversations. For effective social media marketing, you can’t just schedule posts and expect a community of followers to grow. You must share and be part of the conversation. This means you need people assigned to this type of work. You can hire additional employees, a marketing agency, or a freelancer/contractor to help with your social media needs. These types of people can also help you with content creation, a key part of your social sharing.
infographic courtesy of: Salesforce.
Finally, take a look at where your ideal customer is on social media. Spend some time doing the research or work with a firm that can help you. If you’re currently on a platform that doesn’t cater to your ideal customer, leave and interact with them where they are. There are a lot of social media options and platforms out there and you don’t want to spend your most valuable resource—time—participating if your target customers aren’t there.