Mastering Your Social Media Budget: A Strategic Guide for Teams

Brian Powers
Brian Powers

The need for a well-planned social media budget is one dynamic that will never change in our industry. No matter the size of your team or the type of business you're managing, it's essential to understand how to allocate resources properly when it comes time for your annual budget.

In this article, we'll talk about how you can refine your social media budget, think about what needs to be in that budget, and how you can reduce costs along the way.

And, if you're already a social media budgeting pro, we've gone one step further and built you a free social media budget calculator!

Understanding the importance of a social media budget:

It's crazy to think, but a lot of companies don't really have a social media budget at all. Or, if they do, it's a small addition to their general marketing budget and is considered a luxury and an afterthought.

Social media has a reputation for being a "free" channel, but the reality couldn't be further from this.

A social media budget does more than just fund your online campaigns; it can even be the spine of your digital strategy.

The rules of content budgeting apply whether you're creating blog articles and white papers or publishing great social media content.

Remember this rule:

  • Good and cheap content isn't fast.
  • Good and fast content isn't cheap
  • Cheap and fast content isn't good.

Without a clear social content plan featuring a social media budget, your ship will just sit there without any wind.

Key components of a social media budget

There are five categories of expenses that make up most social media budgets. You can skimp on some of them, but your content will suffer, and any enterprise operating on social media at scale will need to keep all of these in mind.

First, let's talk about what goes into a social media budget, and then I'll give some hypothetical examples.

  1. Team resources: Your crew is obviously vital. From content creators to data analysts, each member plays a critical role. Budgeting for human resources means not just salaries, but also training and development to keep your team sharp and up-to-date with the latest trends. Social media is not a job for your intern, especially if your company is larger. It's a complex, highly involved process with many moving parts.

    Depending on whether your social media team is folded into your marketing department or another, may influence how money for these roles is distributed. Often, employee development costs and salaries are already factored into the department budget, so may not be a part of this allocation.
    However, this may not be true if you rely on outside specialists, such as freelancers and social media agencies, to produce and/or manage your content. This can get expensive quite quickly.
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  2. Content creation and curation: This is where the magic happens. Allocating funds for content creation – be it graphic design, video production, or writing – is essential. The content you create is literally your message to the world and will represent your company.

    Would your company settle for anything less than perfection? If not, remember: good, fast content isn't cheap! This means that your social media budget needs not only incorporate money, but time as well. 
    While there are exceptions, it's a myth that fantastic social media content can always be developed and published on the fly, especially for larger companies, which usually require well-developed and pre-approved content editorials.

  3. Tools and technology: The right tools can make or break your online presence and tools that help you create and manage content are some of the most powerful, and sometimes carry the largest price tags.

    Budget for your social media management tools, analytics software, and advertising platforms well in advance, and factor in any ongoing costs, such as monthly or annual subscriptions.

    While some smaller companies with a limited number of social media pages can probably skate by using onboard analytics or free tools and manually publish their content, this will rapidly become impractical for larger enterprises operating multiple offices or products needing their own pages.
    This is where platforms like Facelift come in. It's our mission to help you scale your social media team, and we're the perfect solution for larger organizations with many users. We help businesses with hundreds of social media pages and many offices and in many languages. Schedule a demo with our product experts if you want to learn more.
  4. Advertising: Sometimes you need a boost, and social media advertising is a part of the game for most large companies today. I'm guessing yours is one of them, too.

    You probably already recognize this as one of the largest, if not the largest, cost centers for social media budgeting.

    Make sure that your plan includes allocating funds for ad spend, and do so judiciously. Remember that different types of advertisements are available on social media and that these can incur different costs. 

    When you're adding this element to your social media budget, remember to ensure that you're focusing on the right platforms for your business. It's one thing to spray ads all over all of your channels and pray that they hit their targets, but it's much better to be more precise and have prior research in place.

  5. Timeline and finite campaigns: Keeping an eye on your social media timeline is crucial, too, as not all campaigns may last indefinitely. This is why the editorial calendar is handy and why you should invest in a calendar and publishing tool, especially if you're operating a large team with many pages.

    Your timeline will also include the time required for community management and analytics, both of which can involve numerous other people, including performance managers or even customer service. 

Creating a budget that works for your team

Your social media budget should reflect your organization's unique goals and needs. Start by assessing your current position – what's working, what's not, and where you want to go. Use this insight to allocate funds effectively, focusing on areas that will drive growth and promote sales.

It's also very important to remember that many of these elements may overlap, which would result in some savings. For instance, some social media tools may include ways for you to reduce content creation costs or handle analytics, content scheduling, and automation in the same place. (Yeah, Facelift does that!)

Furthermore, there is probably a lot of crossover with your content team, which may operate independently of social media and have its own budget, especially at larger companies with international needs.

Certain expenses, such as video production and freelance writers, may fall into your content or product marketing budgets. But it's important to remember that for many marketing departments, these costs are all the same, and some companies fold social and content into the same teams (and budget).

Let's look at how some sample budgets might be structured. They do not factor in employee costs, only outside fees. (Salaries, etc.)

Large Enterprise with International Reach
   

Total Budget: €140,000 - 200,000/month


     Content Creation (€60,000, may fall under other budget):
       Freelancer writers and designers or agencies for localized content: €20,000
       Video production (including editing and animation for various markets): €30,000
       Specialized content (infographics, interactive content): €10,000
     Tools and technology (€40,000):
       Advanced social media management platforms: €15,000
       Data Analytics and Reporting Tools: €10,000
       Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Integration: €10,000
       Content Scheduling and Automation Tools: €5,000
     Advertising (€80,000):
       Targeted Ad Campaigns Across Multiple Platforms: €50,000
       Sponsored Content and Influencer Collaborations: €20,000
       Retargeting and Conversion Tracking: €10,000
     Monitoring and Analytics (€20,000):
       Market-Specific Analysis and Reporting: €10,000
       Social Listening Tools for Multiple Languages: €5,000
       Competitor Analysis and Benchmarking: €5,000

Focus: A large enterprise with many social media users in many offices needs to cater to a diverse international audience, requiring extensive investment in localized content creation and high-end tools for managing a complex online presence. The advertising budget is significant to ensure broad reach and engagement across various markets. Content creation be managed in a separate budget.

Mid-Sized Company:

Total Budget: €55,000 - 75,000/month
     Content Creation (€20,000):
       Freelance Content Creation (articles, blogs, graphics): €10,000
       Video Production (product demos, company updates): €7,000
       Creative Campaigns (seasonal, promotional): €3,000
     Tools and Technology (€15,000):
       Social Media Management and Scheduling Tools: €5,000
       Analytics and Performance Tracking Tools: €5,000
       Graphic Design and Video Editing Software: €5,000
     Advertising (€30,000):
       Social Media Ads (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn): €15,000
       Google AdWords and SEO Optimization: €10,000
       Email Marketing Campaigns and Automation: €5,000
     Monitoring and Analytics (€10,000):
       Social Media Performance Analysis: €5,000
       Audience Insights and Demographics Studies: €3,000
       Competitor and Market Trend Analysis: €2,000

Focus: Mid-sized companies need to balance growth with strategic spending. The focus is on creating impactful content, leveraging essential tools for efficiency, and targeted advertising to expand their digital presence and engage with a wider audience.

This should only be considered an overview of what to consider when planning your social media budget. These may not be representative of your company at all.

Many companies will structure their budgeting differently, allocating funds to certain points across teams.

Many services will also vary tremendously in price and offerings, and even large companies may find that their social media budgets can be significantly smaller or larger. A freelance writer may cost no more than $150 per blog article, whereas a content agency may produce considerably more content for a much larger price. 

Some high-value product videos and advertisements can cost hundreds of thousands of euros to create, but these generally aren't being created expressly with social media in mind, and they probably aren't funded by the social budget. On the other hand, you can produce social media short-form videos for free, no matter the size of your company. We wrote a great big guide to doing that. Take a look!

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Facelift can significantly reduce these prices by combining many of these cost centers into a single workspace solution. Imagine paying once for analytics, trend analysis, audience insights and demographics, content design, scheduling, planning, and more. That's a huge savings!

Navigating challenges and adjusting

Social media can also be known for its unpredictability. Be prepared to adjust your budget when encountering new trends, platform changes, tools, opportunities, or shifts in your audience's behavior.

A flexible budgeting approach allows you to adapt and thrive, and once again, you can download our social media budget planner here for free.

Conclusion:

Your social media budget is what guides your team's efforts month by month and year by year, ensuring that every resource is optimized for maximum impact. By understanding the components of a social media budget and tailoring it to your team's needs, you're setting yourself up for success.

Facelift is your partner in all aspects of social media management, and we can be budget-friendly too! Because we offer unlimited user seats, unparalleled integrations, total user control for administrators, and, most recently, unlimited access to our sharing app, Social Share, you can combine many of your social media budget's expenses in one go.

It's our mission to help enterprise teams like yours meet their potential with a suite of flexible, customizable social media management tools, so give our product experts a chance by scheduling a demo. Ask us how Facelift can help tick multiple boxes on your social media budget plan for this year. 

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Brian Powers
Brian Powers

More about the author

A New Yorker in Hamburg, Brian is facelift's content marketing manager. With over a decade of experience in content and social, he is responsible for creating much of facelift's English digital content, in particular the facelift blog, guides and downloads, as well as the writer and co-director of facelift's YouTube series "The Socials".
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