6 costs of a social media budget


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

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I'm pleased to see that over the last two years, social media has not only become more understood, but taken more seriously. The number of ads for social media professionals, are numerous and show that companies are realising the importance of such a service to their businesses.

You too may have decided to take the step into the world of social media for your company. Here are a few of the considerations to bear in mind when planning a budget for your social media:


One obvious consideration or factor to consider is staff. How much staff will handle your campaign? Most companies have discovered the hard way that social media is very time consumeing and expensive in man hours. It requires skilled, knowledgeable and dedicated individuals to manage it effectively. Some companies have had no choice but to hire a full time social media manager or — depending on the size of the company — an agency that can mange it for them.

In some cases, one social media manager, might not be able to manage all aspects for the team. The company may also have to hire a separate content creator, copywriter, community manager, all separate roles in the social media world.


Secondly, if you haven't noticed, organic reach has got lower and lower. At the last check, only six per cent of your Facebook pages users see your posts. This reduction has been compounded by the fact that Facebook has now promised to make changes in the newsfeed to favour content of family and friends. Instagram more recently reduced their organic reach to only 10 per cent of users. Simply put, more than ever social media is “pay to play”. Thus, a social media ad spend or ad budget must become a part of the planned costs of any company's social strategy. To get quality results companies and businesses will have no choice but to pay to get their content in front of their ideal audiences.


Some companies have overlooked the cost to produce content. Outside of the cost of staff, there is the actual cost of the resources to create the content. That can be anything from booking the studio, renting a location to film, to hiring a graphic designer or photographer.


One way of increasing engagement on your platforms organically is through contests. Engagement is the lifeblood of social media, as it shows the algorythm that your content resonates with your customers. Contests, with the promise of a prize tend to get good engagement. However, a prize is a cost. The bigger, better and more enticing that prize is will encourage more people to participate. I've seen companies offer an ipad, a consultation for a service, a discount coupon, make-up, even trips. However, large or small, this is a cost. One that as a business you must plan for.


So you have a team, creative and content. But every worker needs his tools, and this is the same for social media.

Certain applications and software are — contrary to popular belief — not free. Or if free, offer only limited capabilities. Tools that offer monitoring, management, and customer relations services, essential for effectively running a social media campaign have over the years become more expensive, and at industry level, can cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars yearly.

Therefore, software costs, is one that should not be overlooked.


Finally, the time of the campaign is a factor. Is this a one-off campaign, or is your company running a campaign to launch a product? Or are you managing an actual social media department? This will certainly determine the costs one should plan for in your social media budget.

A campaign, depending on its complexity and elements can prove rather expensive. A constant online presence with constant inbound marketing and content marketing strategy, can seem cheaper with lower up front costs — but this again depends on whether the content is being paid for in house, curated, or outsourced.

A social media campaign requires several steps, assessment/auditing, conceptualising, content creation and monitoring. All these elements can accrue their own costs. It also requires a knowledgeable staff, and the correct tools.

The aforementioned points are only a few of the items every company should expect to have as part of their social media budget.

If you have a social media question, please send it to

Hanniffa Patterson is a communications professional and social media strategist who helps businesses to navigate the world of social media. She has taught social media for business in universities in Jamaica and Paris. She also offers consulting, workshops and in-office training.




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