Your guide to developing a social media marketing budget

neon social media sign

Any business that wants to stay relevant needs to have a social media presence. However, with so many platforms and options available, it can be difficult to know how much to spend on social media marketing. To help steer you in the right direction, let’s break down some simple guidelines to help you determine how much your business should budget for social media marketing and where that budget should be directed.

What are the different types of social media marketing?

To get an idea of how much social media marketing costs, let’s break down the three main types of social media marketing: paid ads, organic posts, and influencer marketing. 

Paid Ads

Paid ads are a great way to reach a large number of people quickly. The cost of paid ads varies depending on the platform you use and the targeting options you select. For example, Facebook allows you to target by interests, demographics, and behaviors, and LinkedIn allows you to target by job title, industry, and skills. 

The more specific your target audience, the more you’ll pay per click or impression – but the more likely it is that you’ll see real results. 

Organic Posts

Organic posts are posts that you share on your social media platforms without paying for placement. These posts can be anything from status updates and photos to blog articles and videos. While organic posts don’t cost anything to publish, it can take some time and effort to create high-quality content that resonates with your audience. 

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that involves partnering with individuals who have a large following on social media platforms. These influencers can help promote your products or services to their followers through sponsored posts or simply by mentioning your brand in their posts. Influencer marketing can be an effective way to reach a new audience but it can also be costly; depending on the size of the influencer’s following, they may charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars per post. 

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How many social media platforms should you be on?

The first step in deciding your social media marketing budget is to determine how many platforms you want to be active on. There’s no magic number here; it depends on your resources and your goals. 

If you’re a small business with limited staff, you might want to focus your efforts on one or two platforms instead of trying to be everywhere at once. Alternatively, if you’re a larger company with more manpower, you might decide that being active on more platforms is worth the investment. 

Once you’ve decided how many platforms you want to be active on, the next step is to determine which platforms are most relevant for your business. For example, if you’re a B2B company, LinkedIn might be a more important platform for you than if you’re a B2C company. On the other hand, if you’re targeting millennials, Instagram might be a better use of your time and money than Facebook. 

Finally, you need to consider what kind of content you want to produce. Video is increasingly important, but it requires more time and money to produce than a short blog post or picture. 

As you consider these factors, keep in mind that your goal is ultimately to reach as many people as possible with your message while also generating high-quality leads and/or sales. With that in mind, let’s look at some guidelines for how much you should spend on social media marketing. 

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Guidelines for determining your social media marketing budget

Social media marketing costs as much as you are willing to invest in it. If you’re just getting started, you can easily create a presence on major platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn with very little investment. However, if you want to reach a larger audience or run more sophisticated campaigns, you’ll need to budget accordingly. 

In the past, businesses used to budget 1-3% of their overall marketing budgets for social media marketing. So, if your total marketing budget was $10,000 per month, you would be spending $100-$300 per month on social media marketing. Nowadays, this percentage is much closer to 20-25% of the total marketing budget.

Of course, this is just a guideline; your specific budget will depend on a number of factors, including the size of your business, the number of active platforms you want to maintain, the types of content you want to produce, and the results you’re hoping to achieve from your social media campaigns. 

It’s also important to keep in mind that this can also vary greatly depending on the most effective marketing tactics for your business. 

If you see the most relevant and cost-effective leads come through Facebook (as opposed to email marketing or more traditional forms of advertising), then you should consider increasing the percentage of your marketing budget directed towards social media marketing. In certain cases, your social media marketing budget could be 50-60% of your total marketing budget. However, this is mostly true for e-commerce companies and smaller, more local brands/companies.

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Factors that will affect your social media marketing budget

Business Goals

Before you start paying to boost your posts, you need to have a clear idea of what your business goals are. Are you looking to generate leads? Drive traffic to your website? Sell a product or service? Once you know what you’re looking for, you can start to develop a budget that will help you achieve those goals. 

Target Market

Another important factor to consider is who your target audience is. If you’re trying to reach a very specific group of people, it might cost more than if you’re just trying to reach a general audience. For example, if you want to reach people in a certain location who are interested in your product or service, you’ll need to be willing to pay more than if you’re just trying to boost the overall reach of your posts. 

Platforms Used

Finally, the platforms you use will also affect how much you need to pay to boost your posts. Some platforms, like LinkedIn, have very specific targeting options that allow you to reach the people most likely to be interested in what you have to say—and that comes at a premium price. Other platforms, like Facebook, have lower prices but may not provide as targeted an audience. 

What is the average cost to boost social media posts?

Facebook

When it comes to Facebook, you should expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $30 for a single boost. The price will depend on factors like your budget, target audience, and the amount of time you want the boost to run. Keep in mind that Facebook allows you to target very specific demographics, so you can be sure that your boosted post will be seen by people who could be interested in what you have to offer (given the messaging and timing is correct).

Of course, if you’re working with a multi-layered campaign strategy, boosting a single post usually isn’t relevant. Instead, you’ll likely be working with multiple images, videos, and articles. At this point, an average budget per campaign can run anywhere between $500 to a couple thousand dollars. This will obviously depend on conversion goal, desired cost per lead/conversion, and your specific industry and target market.

Instagram

Paid boosts on Instagram are similar to Facebook. As with Facebook, the price will depend on factors like your budget, target audience, and the length of time you want the boost to run. For certain industries and profile types, boosting individual posts is simple – but not always effective. Unless you’re a B2C company, your ad spend likely won’t get you as far on Instagram as it would on a platform like Facebook and LinkedIn. Because of this, you should expect to spend double or triple on ad spend inside Instagram (if you want to see results as a B2B or more professional organization). 

For Instagram, in particular, other tactics (like influencer marketing) or giveaways may prove to be more effective at building an audience and increasing your following (as opposed to flat ad spend).

LinkedIn

The cost of a LinkedIn post boost will also vary depending on the size of your target audience and the competition for those eyeballs. However, it’s typically recommended to spend between $50 and $100 per day on LinkedIn post boosts (and in most cases, only recommended for B2B companies or professional services). This daily spend should allow you to reach a large number of people without breaking the bank. Keep in mind that the minimum daily spend on LinkedIn is $10 – and depending on your audience, this might get you nowhere. 

Obviously, this is much more expensive than other social media platforms. The reason for this, however, is due to the precise targeting controls that you gain access to on LinkedIn. You can target by job title, industry, function, seniority, and so much more.

Of course, there’s a lot more that goes into determining social media ad spend and budget and where these funds are directed. The most important thing to keep in mind is that an overall strategy will always work better than just guessing and boosting random posts just because you can. If you’re going to spend money on social media, make sure it’s spent wisely. Take the time to develop a strategy and stick to it.

Want to learn more? Check out this definitive guide to LinkedIn best practices.