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Guest Post: Budgeting for social media: Who pays for it and why?

About Guest Author:

Alia Haley is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on technology, health and parenting. Beside this she is fond of eating. Recently an article on Nokia Lumia 800 attracted her attention. These days she is busy in writing an article on Racing Games For Kids.

Have you ever come across deals like discount on purchase for a copy of a tweet or for liking a Facebook profile of a company? What could happen if you like Dell’s Facebook profile to Dell in reality? What is there for Coke to encourage Facebook profile? These are at the end of the day only intangible and binary signals confined within servers and networks. And answer is web 2.0 or interactive capabilities of today’s World Wide Web. User generated content is becoming tools for marketing in both B2C and B2B segments.

But who and why should spend?
All most anybody willing to draw public attention can spend – Barrack Obama did it in presidential election and Ford do it for their cars. Social media allows companies, organizations to spread brand awareness and increase customer engagement.
Companies spend millions of dollars on market research activities every year. But social network sites and forums provide endless opportunity to interact with customers and to understand their psyche at fractional cost. Besides, you can earn commitment if engage the customer around the branding activity. Reviews and remarks generated by customers work as marketing content for other left out prospects and customers.

But even a deep pocket corporate also needs to budget its spending. And despite so many cost efficient benefits it’s not easy to budget social media optimization. Part reason is lack of effective parameters that link money spent to money earned directly and the other part is slow action of optimization initiatives.
Other than budgeting, another common problem with SMO is how to distribute the allocated fund. Too much stress on campaign eats up fund for customer engagement process. This results in less than expected return on investments.
For these reasons, often companies drag their feet when budgeting for social media marketing. Even most willing marketing officers often suffer from over-budgeting or under-budgeting. To avoid such problem you can try few useful tips to streamline your social media initiative.

Separate budgeting
Make separate budget for different activities like, campaign, customer engagement, customer care etc. And don’t let one activity to eat up fund allocated for other activities.

Activity planning
We all know social media is a very fast changing medium. But for proper budgeting and fund use you must have a plan for future optimization strategy for near future. This would help you to allocate fund properly.

Introspection first
What worked for Ford may not yield for you. Try to understand your customers, prospects and brand reach. Every brand has its niche and it is important to understand that before you plan your strategy.

No magic
Social networking sites don’t give you any magic wand. It is absolutely legitimate if you find social media not much promising for you. You can restrict yourself within digital marketing only.

Wise parameters
Be wise when deciding on what test parameters to use to check effectiveness of your media effort. Try to rely less on paid media and stress more on earned media. Millions of followers won’t earn you dollar if they don’t shell out money to buy your product. Try to build and nurture even a small base of engaged followers.

CMOs must understand time is the most valuable input to skim optimum benefit from the social media marketing. And how much time you can afford would be major determinant of your budget. How much to spend is not important in SMO; what is most important is how long you can afford to spend. So, be careful to spend evenly across a long time horizon for better brand engagement and sales conversions.

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