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Planning a Social Media Budget

DATE PUBLISHED: May 02, 2012
Everyone who utilizes social media thinks it has to be fluid – no long-term planning, just start using it and “go with the flow.” In some respects, they’re right; because social media is so new it’s often best to experiment with new ideas and keep testing to see what works. But that doesn’t mean you can’t plan and budget for social media!

Companies finally understand what social media is supposed to be used for – and that’s connecting with their customers in effective ways and providing relevant content that helps effectively communicate a company’s message. It’s all about engaging that customer – if you do that, you’re using social media effectively.

You may not have developed a comprehensive social media strategy yet, but if you are using any form of social media – from Facebook to Twitter to YouTube, you should have a plan and a budget in place. And if you don’t have one - you should make developing that social media strategy a very high priority!

First, have a mobile platform in place. Making an easy to use app available is another sound strategic move. Just be sure you have it for the right reason. Ask yourself why a customer would want to engage with you. Are you offering what he or she may want – from price promotions to information to a Facebook ad or page that is of great interest? If you aren’t – start developing what your customer wants!

You should build your budget planning around ideas, campaigns, information and applications that provide information that is of benefit to your customers. This information should help you achieve your business goals. Another aspect of your budget is allocating money for running ads on the major social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, StumbelUpon and more recently, Pintrest. Just make sure those ads support your branding and your traditional media ads. Plan for spending money on building apps, doing promotions and offering prizes. If you don’t have internal designers, plan for spending money on hiring outside help.

Another thing to remember is that you should monitor your social media for feedback. Make sure you track your likes, dislikes, requests and issues that your customers bring up. You can also track what the customers of your competition are saying by monitoring social media conversations. What used to require a survey or a focus group can now be obtained by tracking various social media channels. By learning what type of content your followers or competitive followers want you’ll be able to start delivering more relevant content and information to your customers.

Social media data provides an opportunity to really find out who your best supporters are and what information would help influence them in the future.

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