Budgeting for Social Media

How to do you budget for social media? In fact, do you have to budget for social media? Isn' the majority of it free?

A budget is more than just money and it's important to develop an accurate one to keep on track.

What goes in a Social Media Budget?

Time

This is the most important thing to include in your social media budget. One of the perks of social media tools are that the majority of them are free. But are they really? Once you factor in the time it takes for someone to complete the social media tasks, the cost goes up.

Example: Let's say you have someone posting a blog post every day who gets paid $25 an hour. If it takes them an hour to write a blog post, then:

5 hours a week x $25 an hour = $125 a week

It's important to determine what the true value of your time spent on each social media tool is to better understand whether the tool is a viable option for your organization.

Professional Development

New social media tools pop up everyday. There are also new applications for your existing ones. Setting aside a professional development fund is crucial. Whether the social media user attends a conference, buys a book or just takes time to learn new things, it's money that needs to be allocated.

Future Costs

Although it seems a little unnecessary to plan for costs that aren't actually in your budget, I recommend having some money set aside (if possible) for future costs. What if that great social media tool you've been using suddenly makes people pay for it? Some social media tools, like blogs have the ability to purchase 'premium features' that enhance it.

Technology
Another thing to consider is the technology costs. If you look at your current technology and realize that you need to upgrade, costs are going to be incurred. Knowing from the outset whether you need certain technologies for certain social media tools will help you avoid panic down the road.

Budgeting for social media is extremely important and will help sustain any social media program you implement in your organization.

Update: After getting some great ideas about things I missed, I will be posting a part two tomorrow!

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