In a study on The State of Social Media Marketing, Awareness Networks found that 75% of businesses spend $10,000 or less on social media, with most businesses solely investing people’s time toward the effort (Social Media Examiner).
Make no mistake about this; there are no freebies when it comes to social media for business. If you’re going to develop a social media presence for your small business, you will spend money to have someone else do it or you will spend money to have you do it.
Even if you think you’re doing it for free because using Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest is free and there are all manner of free tools out there to make using social media easier and/or better, you're not, because your time is worth money, too.
So you need a social media budget. How much? Well hopefully, you already have a marketing budget for your small business so your budget for your social media plan will be a percentage of this.
I do not recommend that any small business use only social media to market itself. I'm emphasizing this point because small businesses have a tendency to latch onto anything labeled as "free" and there's been a lot of buzz about how social media marketing can be a low-cost alternative to traditional advertising.
This is hogwash. Your small business marketing should always be comprised of a marketing mix because there's no single marketing channel that will reach all of your small business’s potential customers or clients.
One other part of your marketing mix that you need to include in your marketing budget is your business website because using social media to market your small business without having a website is like trying to run a horse in a race without a jockey.
What Else Should You Use to Market Your Small Business?
What the rest of the marketing mix is depends, in large part, on your target market. If, for instance, you are selling internet-based applications to young, savvy, live-on-the-'Net types, online advertising might be the bulk of your budget. If, on the other hand, you are selling fall prevention products to seniors and middle-aged people concerned about senior parents, some radio and TV spots might be your big marketing budget items.
My general advice? Choose the amount of money you're comfortable with spending on marketing – and then double it. I've yet to meet the small business owner that’s spending anywhere near what they should be spending on marketing!
Take action: Review your marketing plan (and marketing budget) and integrate your social media plan into it.
Don't have a marketing plan? Writing the Marketing Plan will lead you through the process.