As a marketing channel, social media enables marketers to directly engage with their audience on an intimate level, strengthening the relationship between brands and customers. Social media extends the reach of your messages to a global audience, making it a highly valuable investment.
This guide will serve as a starting point in creating your 2018 social media marketing budgets. You will learn:
- How to set social marketing goals that are specific to your business needs
- Which types of content best support your marketing strategies and drive results
- How to choose the correct social channels to invest in
- How to create a social marketing budget that aligns with—and supports—your business objectives
- How to measure the success of your social campaigns with social analytics solutions
Budgeting can be scary, yes. With this guide, you will be able to tackle the challenges of creating a social marketing budget, and make 2018 your best year on social.
Your website is the hub of all information related to your business, its products and offerings, and company culture. A poorly functioning– or uninformative—website can actually drive customers away, making it extremely important that you invest in optimizing your website.
How will optimizing your website help you budget for your social marketing strategies? Glad you asked. 80% of marketers say social media has helped increased traffic to their website, according to Business 2 Community. Using social media as a way to direct your audience to your website for more information, or even to make a purchase, is a widely understood marketing concept. Your audience will leave your website, however, if it is under-designed.
Dr. Elizabeth Silence performed a study asking participants to analyze websites and found that 94% of respondents would leave a website if they were uncomfortable with the way it looked. So essentially what you produce and share on social could go to waste if when people make it to your website, are quickly discouraged and decide to leave.
It is not enough to just have a creatively designed and functionable website— it must also be optimized for mobile. comScore found that 80% of social media time is spent on a mobile device. Additionally, Hosting Facts reports that mobile traffic is responsible for 52.21 percent of all internet traffic, which includes visits to your company website. Mobile optimization, and responsive web design, should be on your radar as you budget for 2018. While not directly a social marketing spend, a well-designed and mobile accessible website is a vital aspect toward ensuring your social efforts are as effective as possible.
GIFs are a great type of content to boost engagement and tell a story, while adding some visual diversity to your social feeds. According to Reuters, more than 84% of communication in 2018 will be visual and GIFs—a very visual medium—provides marketers a great opportunity to add more visual content into their social strategies. GIF viewers via Giphy watch more than 2 million hours of GIFs per day, and GIFs are seen by more than 100 million daily active users.
Luckily, there are a ton of free tools that make creating custom GIFs easy and entertaining. If anyone within your marketing team is savvy in Adobe Photoshop, this software can also be used as a GIF production machine. However, if you are looking for something a little less inclined for the technically in-tune, here are some resources to consider
- Giphy Cam
- Reaction Gifs
By 2019, video content will be the driving factor behind 85% of search traffic in the US, according to Cisco. Video on social is not just a latest trend, but is the future of social marketing. Brands who have not yet invested in video will quickly lose the attention of customers who crave engaging and entertaining video content. A survey from HubSpot found that 55% of people consume video content thoroughly, meaning a high-quality video has the potential to not only attract an audience, but keep them engaged. If you’re not quite convinced of the power of video, here are a few statistics to put things into perspective.
- 43% of people want to see more video content from marketers. (HubSpot)
- Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users. (Vidyard)
- Nearly two-thirds of consumers prefer video under 60 seconds. (Animoto)
- 51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI. (Adobe)
We live in the video era. Investing in professional video (and disseminating that video in creative, measurable ways) is crucial if you want to grow your digital impact in the coming year.
Outsourced video production runs from $5,000 to upwards of $10,000 per asset for a basic video. Advanced videos with an “advertising look and feel” will range anywhere from $5,000 to $60,000. This might seem like a lot, but you can also chop up the “pillar video” in several pieces and use across your various digital channels in creative ways.
The other option is to hire an in-house videographer. This person should know how to conceptualize, capture, and edit footage from concept to completion. Look at the average videographer salary in your area and see if this is the right avenue for your brand. The benefit here is that you will have a more robust and consistent video program, and will get more bang for your buck in the long run.
Live video on social is a key component to growing your social presence, digital presence, and business in the coming year. Brands across the spectrum, from IBM to Buzzfeed, are investing in Facebook Live, Snapchat (now Snap), Instagram Stories, and other live broadcasting channels.
According to Livestream, 80% of people would rather watch a live video than read a company blog and 82% prefer live video from a brand to social posts. There are multiple social networks now providing opportunities for anyone to stream live, including:
When it comes to live video, you need to invest in a high-quality ‘smartphone’ to record and create professional quality videos. You can also use the integrated webcam on your laptop or an external webcam using your desktop computer.
For professional quality, there are a number of 4K cameras on the market and depending on your needs, you’ll need to decide which camera type is most appropriate for your live production. Some popular types of 4K cameras are:
It is said that people only remember about 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information after three days, according to a study by Changing Works.
For marketers, this means that visual content will perform better on social as your audience is more likely to remember information with visuals than just information alone. In an analysis of over 1 million articles, BuzzSumo found that articles with an image once every 75-100 words received double the social media shares as articles with fewer images. If your brand uses social media to promote content from your blog, be sure to include striking visuals that catch attention and are relevant to the information you are sharing.
For two of the largest social networks, images impact engagement and interactions at much higher rates than posts without visuals. Here are a few statistics highlighting why the use of visuals is so important in your social media strategy.
Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than tweets without images. (Buffer) Facebook posts with images see 2.3 times more engagement than those without images. (BuzzSumo) Organic Facebook engagement is highest on posts with videos (13.9%) and photos (13.7%). (LocoWise).
Production of photos can be relatively inexpensive, depending on your business needs. Many smartphones now have high-resolution sensors (12 megapixels or more) to produce sharp cropped or enlarged prints. Your photo content can still have a high level of appeal, so long as someone on your marketing team carries their smartphone to the office. However, if you’re wanting even higher-quality photos, you can invest in professional-level cameras. Here are Consumer Report’s best phones for photography in 2017.
One of the most effective methods of social media marketing is relatively inexpensive. It just requires a little heavy lifting on your part. That method is user-generated content (UGC).
UGC is an effective way to boost sales and engagement while generating traffic and virality for your business. In fact, studies have shown that consumers trust UGC 50 percent more than they trust other media. And it’s easy to see why–after all. It’s one of the easiest ways to social proof your messaging and increase conversions.
Marketers are excited about user generated content because it is an inexpensive way to reach and engage more consumers. With just a little elbow grease, and minimal cost to your brand, UGC content can be an effective social media strategy. This type of audience engagement can also benefit your brand by increasing the amount of social proof for your products and services, making your brand seem more natural and authentic.
Selecting Your Social Channels
As you select the social channels that will best present your brand and all it has to offer, consider the type of content you want to produce, as some networks are more suitable for specific types of content. Use this chart to determine which social network is right for you.
Paid Advertising on the Networks
The organic content you share on social has a tremendous impact on SEO and the community-building process around your network. Organic reach is dwindling with the amount of noise circulating the social space, however, meaning that the best social marketing campaigns are now supplementing their organic content with paid advertising. As you start budgeting for 2018, consider whether or not paid social will benefit your business. Let’s dive into the difference between organic and paid social and how you can boost your organic efforts with a paid social strategy
Organic Social Using free tools provided by the social networks to share posts, respond to customers, and interact with your social community.
Paying to display adverts (text, image, video, carousel etc.) or sponsored messages to a specific group of social network users based on user profile.
The concept of sharing content that eventually will disappear, contradicts the traditional view for marketers to create content that is evergreen. Many brands are now using ephemeral content (disappearing content) as an important aspect to their overall marketing strategies, as it has proven to increase engagement and adds an element of authenticity to their brand.
Vanishing content has a certain appeal to customers who fear missing out on special deals or exclusive content. Brands are now leveraging ephemeral content to drive urgency and action from their audience.
Instagram Stories: The New Leader of Ephemeral Content
Instagram Stories now boasts 300 million daily active users, surpassing Snapchat, which is often referred to as the pioneer of ephemeral content on social. If the growing user base isn’t enough evidence for you, there are a number of ways Instagram Stories can benefit your business.
- Easily Create Content: Your audience doesn’t expect perfection with Instagram Stories, adding a level of authenticity and personality to your brand. While posting on Instagram may require the perfect lighting, a clever hashtag, and the right combination of filters, a good Story requires nothing more than an interesting moment and some creativity.
- Abundant Features: Instagram Stories has tools for drawing, placing stickers, adding augmented reality filters, and now you can poll your audience to gain even more insight into the minds of your customers.
- Market Testing: Instagram Stories provides a great platform for you to discover the types of content that truly speak to your audience. If your story gets a lot of positive replies or was watched all the way through without dropping off, you might think of posting it permanently on your Instagram or adapt the content for a different channel.
- Drive Traffic: Instagram offers the ability to add links to your Stories, making it easy to drive your audience to your website.
The vanishing nature of ephemeral content has historically made it troublesome for marketers to collect and analyze data. With Simply Measured Instagram Insights, marketers can evaluate the effectiveness of their Instagram Stories. Here are five metrics you can now track and analyze using Instagram Insights.
When an Instagram user saves your Instagram content—a photo, video, carousel, or even a sponsored post—he or she is saying, “I care about this. I don’t want to lose this content/ information, and I want to return to it later.” An Instagram user’s Saves live on their account profile under the Save icon, where the user can return to the content whenever he or she chooses. A user’s Saves are private—only he or she can view these pieces of content. Knowing which of your content gets saved the most can help identify who within your audience has intent to purchase and which of your content resonates most.
Instagram Stories Views
Instagram Stories are a great way to introduce flexibility, spread awareness about events and product launches, encourage audience interactivity, keep your brand top-of-mind (and top-of-feed), and even drive conversions to your website.
Instagram Engagement Rate (Stories and Feed)
The best way to calculate Instagram engagement rate is total engagement (including Instagram Stories views and post engagement) divided by total impressions (number of times these Stories and posts were seen). This will give you an accurate depiction of how many times per view you received interactions on your content. By tracking this rate over time, you’ll be able to make engagement-driving improvements to your content, using this number as a North Star.
Instagram Stories Exits
If you are investing in Instagram Stories, and you know your Stories are being watched, are you able to determine how frequently they’re being exited? What does that ratio (views to exits) look like for your brand? How can you improve the ratio? A high number of exits could mean:
- Your Instagram Stories are boring
- Your Instagram Stories promise something they don’t deliver
- Your Instagram Stories don’t align well with your brand
- You’ve chosen the wrong influencer(s) or brand(s) to partner with
- You haven’t dialed in your visuals yet
- You haven’t found a way to frame your product in a way that resonates for Instagram Stories
A high number of exits might also mean that you don’t have a strong enough understanding of what your target audience wants to see on Instagram.
Instagram Stories Tap-Backs + Tap-Forwards
Not everything you post on your Instagram Stories is going to resonate with every person, every time. Your followers may be interested in some of the Stories you share, while being bored by others. A Tap-Back from a follower on your Instagram Story means they enjoyed your content enough to watch it again. A Tap-Forward means they lost interest and skipped right over that particular Story.
Virtual reality has the potential become an exciting marketing tool and reinvent the way marketers share information, demo products, and engage audiences. A survey from Greenlight VR found 71% of consumers feel that VR makes brands seem “forward-thinking and modern.” In terms of brands’ bottom lines, 53% of respondents said they are more likely to purchase from a brand that uses VR over a brand that doesn’t.
The Pokemon Go app was the first introduction of AR into mainstream society, transforming users’ real-life environments into a Pokemon playground. The app attracted 20 million daily active users and generated over $1 Billion in revenue.
Augmented reality now enables marketers to alter their customer’s real-life experiences. Snapchat was one of the first networks to adopt augmented reality into their platform. It started off organically with users seeing dancing hotdogs and their bitmojis dancing around. The most recent update allows brands to use the AR experience for paid lenses.
Although advocating for funds to support your social marketing strategies can be difficult, this guide provided you with the information you need to start putting together a robust budget for 2018.
Your budgeting journey will not be complete without first determining your post frequency (how much content is being produced and shared) or how you will disseminate and schedule your content. The upcoming year provides an opportunity to revisit your current social strategy and create a budget that integrates new technology, new network capabilities, and a diverse array of social content.