Social media is evolving and I find that most businesses are still struggling with how to understand the necessary functions for their business. First off there is an underlying need to be active and participate in the social conversation and you need to have someone who is actually managing that process. The day to day facilitationof the conversation, known as “community management” is mission critical for all types of businesses these days. Whoever is at the helm, needs to be well versed in a few core areas:
1) Social Media Management: The most important piece is the day to day community management for the brand. This includes design and development of content/assets that users/fans/followers of the brand will want to consume and engage with and strategy on how best to use the various social networks to their advantage. It is very difficult to find a person internally that can do all of this effectively, especially at the price most will want to pay for the role. As a baseline a brand should consider this to be a full time position and should allocate a junior level salary to it: At least $2,500 per month ($30,000 per annum). Outsourcing is a great option for guaranteed results.
2) Social Media Marketing: This is the actual marketing component of social media and you will need to allocate a budget that is specifically marketing related. Most small businesses have not really tried to leverage Twitter of Pinterest Ads yet, though both definitely have value and are powerful. When it comes to social media marketing, I think most have only dabbled with Facebook’s advertising platform.
The data and targeting abilities of Facebook make it one of the most attractive and compelling platforms I have ever experienced in online marketing. When attacking Facebook Ads we generally recommend a starter test budget around $500-$1000 per month to get a feel for the platform. Depending on the goals of the client we need to assess what type of CPL, CPC, CPA OR reach and impressions we can drive.
We encourage businesses to look at Facebook spending in two distinct categories:
Facebook Marketing: As described above is marketing on Facebook with an allocated budget and some clearly defined marketing initiatives and/or agendas in mind. Most marketers and CFO’s should feel very comfortable with this, as it is very ROI driven and very measurable via Facebook’s analytics platform, which is very robust. If you want to track sales, Likes or even reach and impressions on key marketing messages, you can do so very easily via Facebook. This platform offers low cost marketing, super narrow targeting and very detailed insights = a marketer’s dream.
Facebook Messaging: This is spending to strategically target your Facebook content and statuses at specific audiences. Even for brand’s who are not spending on “marketing” on Facebook, it is very important to allocate funds to promote your branded messages. Page post engagements guarantee delivery of your posts to different users. With organic reach plummeting, brands are up in arms and some are even leaving Facebook. As they run away, I encourage my clients to run towards the platform. A little money goes a long way here and you can craft content and then deliver it to the right eyeballs consistently. Want to:
Target messages to your email subscribers on Facebook? YES
Target messages to people who visited your website or even specific pages on your website? YES
Target messages to audiences who’s profiles just “look like” the two audiences mentioned above? YES
Some content you might just want to show to your current fan base and customers, so you can “boost” that to your current fans. Other content that specifically highlights your Unique Selling Propositions (USP’s) would be great to target at fans of your direct competitors, and they offer that too. Taking it one step further, perhaps you might want to target specific messages at subsets (i.e. only female fans) and you can also do that without even posting it on your timeline for others to see. These are called dark posts which are hardly new, but are vastly underused.
Bottom-line is that there is so much you can do with some allocated funds on The Social Network, and allocating no budget for either marketing or messaging is a big mistake. It will compromise your online efforts and leave you feeling very unfulfilled. An investment here will give you highly targeted messaging to real users, who are most likely to care about what you have to say. No other medium offers that.