Budget season is upon us. Here’s my input when you start putting together the marketing budget for your company, including Social Media.
I think it’s best to start with this important public service message: Social Media isn’t a strategy. Social Media is a tactic. It is one platform out of many that can be chosen. As a tactic, Social Media excels at supporting campaigns. But, alone—it’s totally ineffective.
And believe me–Social Media isn’t free. The time spent creating and maintaining social media is significant. Plus, there is a compelling case to be made that Social Media can’t be done by the person running the day-to-day operations of the company.
These observations lead to pointing out the necessity of having a strategic approach in your marketing. Start with a plan that lays out goals, identifies your target audience, explores the competitive landscape, integrates with sales and sets up a measurement system to evaluate success.
Now, you can lay in your tactics. Digital and traditional marketing tactics should be considered, all based on the effectiveness of how they deliver to the strategy you’ve laid out. Social Media is almost always an element, keeping its strengths and weaknesses in perspective.
How much should you spend on marketing? There’s no easy answer to this. Marketing must be a key line item in the budget of any vibrant, growing company. The easiest way to determine a number is to go with a percentage of gross sales. I usually recommend a low of 10% for an established B2B company and a high of 25% for companies that are startups or introducing new products. Use these as averages and adjust from there based on your final plan.
However you proceed, if you follow these guidelines your company will be well ahead of the pack. Budget wisely, plan strategically and choose effective tactics. And don’t rely on a stand-alone Social Media program!
What is your take on Social Media’s role in marketing? What changes are you seeing in your company’s use of various marketing tactics?