Many people gravitate toward social media marketing because it can be carried out successfully without ever spending a dime. However, stories about viral social media campaigns are few and far between. In reality, the social media marketing plans behind many people, businesses, brands, or organizations fizzle out. In essence, you get what you pay for.

That doesn’t mean shelling out thousands of dollars guarantees the success of a social media marketing plan. Many variables go into making any marketing efforts successful (know your demographic, target the demographic, have stellar content, etc). To get started on budgeting for social media marketing and to be sure that all dollars spent on social media marketing are used wisely, consider the following tips:

Call in the Professionals

Unless you’ve found the Doogie Howser of social media, skip over college interns or anyone with limited social media experience and get an expert or agency to do the job. Decide how much of an overall marketing budget can be applied to social media efforts and look for a skilled social media consultant to take over the job.

According to an article by marketing news and expert advice site ClickZ.com, small to mid-sized organizations should expect to spend anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 on a social media strategy. Remember that this expenditure is an investment, so be sure to research the individual or firm hired to do the job before writing the check.

Get your Social Media Plan to Work for You

Social media management and monitoring tools can be a great ally for anyone new to the social media game and those looking to streamline the process. HootSuite is a dashboard and monitoring tool with prices that start at just $10 a month. It aids users in setting up multiple channels, content topic planning and campaign outreach, as well as content creation and delivery.

A successful social media plan that works for the company, brand, or individual behind it will drive better search visibility and brand engagement.

Content is Everything

Content must be created regularly so that no social media account ever gets stale. There’s no way around that fact.

Plus, all content must be done with a degree of professionalism, so commit to skilled writers, photographers, videographers, designers, and everybody else in between. A social media manager can ensure that all of these things are taken care of, but that might not always be in the budget (if it is, make sure he or she is doing the job correctly).

Know how many fans or followers you’d like to have and what kind of leads and conversion rates you want, and see to it that your social media marketing plan is helping those goals be reached.

Stick to the Budget

Like diets, budgets are difficult to stick to, but worth it in the end. Although budgeting is both art and science, it doesn’t require a lot of tricks and gimmicks. Take a straightforward approach and you will be well rewarded.

Remember quality goes a long way, so be sure that no matter how big or small the budget is, quality is never neglected.

This post was contributed by Dana Rasmussen. Dana writes about social media and marketing trends. She made her first budget in elementary school.

photo credit: netdance via photopin

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