Social media marketing platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest are great tools that allow you to engage with existing and prospective customers easily. But the costs of doing business on these platforms aren't always as straightforward as they may seem. Here are a few social media marketing costs your business may be overlooking today that you might want to account for in the future.
1. Software Upgrades
Are you using a social media management tool to oversee and publish content on your social media sites? What about a design or photo editing tool to create graphics?
If you're using any online tools to create or manage your social media content, you may want to check your pricing plans. Some software companies (such as Sprout Social, Buffer, Hootsuite, Canva, etc.) have tiered pricing plans that are dependent on a variety of factors—for example, number of users, connected accounts, frequency of use and reporting.
As your reach grows and your strategy evolves, you might find that you've hit the threshold of one or more of your current plans. You can avoid delays or unplanned price increases by comparing your current usage against your social media plan to make sure these hidden social media marketing costs doesn't sneak up on you.
2. Content Creation
Businesses that post engaging and relevant content are able to connect and engage with their audiences in a way that others cannot. One way to do this is by producing your own, high-quality content.
Creating engaging content designed specifically to pique the interest of your target audience takes thought, time and sometimes the help of a professional—and that's when the social media marketing costs can come to play.
Let's say blog posts are your thing and you plan on using an existing staff member to create them.
Keep in mind the amount of time it takes to write each post and your desired publishing frequency. Then triple-check your employee's workload to ensure this new task will not get in the way of their other responsibilities. Repeat this process for other pieces of your content strategy, including video and audio.
Creating high-quality content takes time and skills. While it may seem easy to give the responsibility to someone on your team, that might not always be feasible or wise for a variety of reasons (time commitment, lack of expertise, etc.).
Consider keeping your efforts going with a new hire, consultant or freelancer. And be sure to consider these social media marketing costs in your budget to ensure they don't get overlooked.
3. Design Time
These are just a few marketing assets that can be paired with social media posts to help enhance your brand. When you're calculating your social media marketing costs for the year, it can be easy to forget about the visual aspects that round out your strategy.
Consider asking your design team to provide estimates in advance. Keeping track of what's trending (for example, video is hot right now) can help you make sure that your budget allows room to create visually appealing content that produces results.
4. Community Management
Being socially engaged takes time.
The more exposure you get on your social media platforms, the more oversight it takes to ensure you're connecting with your audience in a way that leaves a positive impression.
And depending on how big your audience is, this could require the support of a community manager—that is, an individual (or group of individuals) responsible for responding to questions, comments or concerns on your social media platforms.
Community management is one of those social media marketing costs that can easily be overlooked, especially when you're just getting started. So consider evaluating the time spent on community management. Then you can compare it with your projections to determine when it's best to hire someone (or a team) to take it on full-time.
5. Social Media Marketing Planning
Social media marketing is just one part of a well-thought-out marketing plan.
Everything, including brand identity, voice and tone, visuals and the types of content that you share on your social media channels are designed to help the company reach its goals.
Because social media platforms are so easy to set up, your business may have set up your social accounts without thinking through how they should be used or crafting a plan for how they would connect to your marketing strategy. A social media marketing plan can be a great way to ensure your efforts tie together; it can also help you get the most return on investment.
The plan should give you insight into which efforts will provide the greatest return, as well as help you create a budget for those tactics, reducing the chances that you'll avoid overlooking the social media marketing costs required to support your efforts.
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