How much does a Social Media Marketing plan cost is a question we hear a lot and it's often hard to give a hard number associated without first asking a few follow up questions.
In just a short period of time, social media marketing has gone from the "new kid" on the block to one of the most effective and powerful ways for businesses to interact with their existing customer bases as well as new prospects. In fact, your target audience now expects you to be online and engaged, and social media offers the perfect forum to answer questions, address customer service concerns and offer exclusive promotions.
The challenge for many businesses is that there simply are not enough hours in the day to dedicate to "getting it right." If you are thinking about outsourcing your social media marketing to someone else, you need to find someone who is reliable AND knows how to successfully use each individual platform. Someone who is already on these platforms and using them personally is best, although this is also true of anyone you would potentially want to hire in-house.
As you are searching for someone who loves to be on social media all the time, you will also want to keep costs in mind. They can vary greatly depending on what you need.
Here is a comprehensive overview of key factors that will affect the overall cost:
In-house verses outsourcing
Are you planning on hiring directly or outsourcing? If you plan on hiring someone in-house, your costs will likely be higher since you'll be looking at a base salary plus benefits like health insurance. If you outsource, depending on what company you decide to work with, you may find yourself in a position where multiple team members work together on your social media marketing efforts, which means you end up with a mini marketing department for less than the salary of one full-time employee.
A more diverse and experienced talent pool will keep things fresh, plus you will not have to worry about hiccups in your social media marketing efforts when it comes to things like sick days and time off for vacations.
Quality verses quantity
If you plan on outsourcing your content creation, it may be tempting to select a company like $99 Social, because of the low price-point. A word of caution, however: companies like this use push content only, which means it is content that they write for everyone. This content is more generalized in nature, is poorly written, and is basically nothing but fluff. Moreover, since it is so generalized, it is not going to be specifically catered to your audience, which means your engagements will likely also be low.
A better strategy is to work with a company that will conduct research in your industry and on your target personas so they write content specifically for you that is both timely and relevant. If they do not, you are better off going elsewhere.
Images sell, especially on sites like Instagram and Pinterest, and video converts extremely well on sites like YouTube and Facebook. So, if you really want to give your social media efforts a boost, creating compelling images and videos is a must. Like everything else, however, you have to be willing - and able - to pony up the money to invest in their creation. The more aggressive you plan on being, the more dollars you will need to allocate.
Keeping the conversation going
If you are seriously considering outsourcing, something else to evaluate is whether the firm you are considering offers both posting and engagement, or just content posting. Social media should always be a 2-way conversation, and a push only approach will alienate your audience. A good strategy is to spend double the amount of time engaging with your audience as you do publishing to them.
In keeping true to this baseline rule of thumb, it is important to know whether any firms you are evaluating will be sharing real time content that is specific to your company and/or brand, including birthdays and testimonials. People buy from people they like, so adding these types of human elements can substantially improve the results of your social media marketing efforts.
Staying ahead of the curve
Social media changes rapidly and it is important to adapt to these changes with a sense of urgency. Otherwise, you will quickly become irrelevant. So regardless of whether you hire someone in-house or decide to outsource, staying in-the-know about new apps and strategies is a must.
What to expect
With all this being said, the cost of a social media marketing plan will run you between $35 and $1,200 a month, depending on which of the aforementioned factors are most important for you and your business. If you decide outsourcing is the way to go, take some time to thoroughly vet several companies carefully, including viewing portfolios and checking references. The time you spend doing so will likely pay off in spades in the long run.