Social media is more than tweeting four times a month. You can break social media down by service types and channels, which can drastically fluctuate its actual costs. It all depends on your goals, the scale of your campaign and what you want to achieve. That's why the true costs of implementing a social media campaign vary.
If you're looking for a figure, a quick Google search tells me it can range from anywhere between £500 on a small scale to fully-fledged, all guns blazing campaigns that cost upwards of £20,000 — something that isn't an issue for big, household names.
Let's break down the costs that go into a successful social media campaign so you can build a strategy scaled to your needs.
The first cost you need to consider for a successful social media strategy is the time and effort that will go into it. It isn't something you can set up one day and leave it to do its thing. A successful social media strategy needs constant attention.
Social engagement is all about the time it takes to source and share content across all the platforms you're currently using or plan to use. Then there's the time it takes to respond to every message or request you get from current or prospective customers.
It goes on. It takes a lot of time liking posts, resharing them and interacting with your target market. If you treat social media as 'a bit on the side' then they're the type of results you should expect to see.
Having someone who isn't a specialist in social media take control of your social media strategy can be counterproductive, especially since it takes their focus away from their core role. The time it takes to make this strategy a success means you need someone who's constantly living in this world day-in, day-out.
You can't rely on third-party content throughout the strategy. You won't get the results or raise brand awareness either. You need to have regular, fresh content of your own that educates readers, solves their challenges and keeps you front and centre when they're deciding between companies to buy from.
To share your own content on your social media channels, you first need to create it. Blogs, press releases, whitepapers, infographics, eBooks, videos, images — any type of media.
Creating this content also takes time. Remember, it's content across different channels, too. It could be a blog to share on LinkedIn, a video on Instagram and something visual on Pinterest. Calculate this time and effort throughout the strategy and it quickly adds up.
The next cost to consider as part of a successful social media strategy is deciding whether you want to go down the paid advertising route.
Plenty of social media platforms have a form of paid advertising you can leverage to help drive traffic to your business. Facebook Ads, Promoted Pins on Pinterest, Twitter's Promoted Tweets and Google Ads are the most popular ones companies tend to invest in.
That doesn't mean you should neglect organic tactics either. Content marketing is a great route to take because the better it is, the more people will engage with it. As they share it naturally, you don't need a budget to push that.
As part of your strategy, first decide on the core platforms you'll use. Next, pick out the ones you'll invest money in. Using platforms like Facebook and Twitter are free, but — as the name suggests — paid advertising means you'll need to pay for specific platforms when advertising.
Don't just dive into them all either. For example, if your strategy doesn't involve Facebook whatsoever, it's no use throwing money at Facebook Ads. The cost to think about here is the number of paid platforms you'll advertise on and how much your budget will be for each.
The bigger the budget and the more channels you use for paid advertising, the higher the cost of implementing a successful social media campaign.
Once your social media campaign is over, what next? How do you know if it worked and what to tweak for future campaigns?
Analytics. Measuring how each social media campaign performs will allow you to tweak future plans, impacting the cost. It's the best way to improve. For that, you need to work on the back-end of your campaigns continuously with a platform like HubSpot or Databox.
Having these insights will help you fine-tune your social media efforts and eventually maximise your results. The cost here is not only in the time it takes to analyse this data but also in the platforms you use. You can't rely on spreadsheets to pull this data through as it won't give you enough actionable insights to improve future campaigns.
When you know the scale of your social media campaign, the channels you'll use and your goals, the costs will continue to change. What works for you might be much different from a competitor, for example. Your focus needs to be on the costs of implementing a successful social media strategy and ensuring you achieve ROI.
Achieving ROI doesn't need to be a minefield either — our free conversion calculator makes it super simple.
Plan your social media campaign investment today with our free conversion calculator
To prove your plans will achieve the best ROI, make sure to use our free conversion calculator. You'll get a clear picture of how to spend your budget across social media and all of the other channels, allowing you to forecast your costs upfront.
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