The Cost of Social Media Marketing
How much does social media marketing cost? That seems to be a burning question everyone is asking. Ok, now don’t freak out…
But the short of the long of it is:
A minimum of $2,500-$5,000 on average per month, depending on where your target audience is and what you want to achieve.
Sometimes, you have to pay extra for PR or blog content writing. A lot of those $2,500K-$5K prices may or may not be all-inclusive deals. And it’s not unusual to find many agencies who charge $10,000 per month for social media marketing & management.
According to some data findings, the cost to create and establish just a new Twitter account with targeted Followers and a little bit of content is anywhere from $2K-$7,500.
So I guess the average $2,500-$5,000 isn’t so bad when you consider the fact that some agencies charge $5,000 – just to manage your Facebook account. Nothing else.
$5,000 per month for a Social Media Marketer seems “high” because we spend so much time online, doing just that: interacting socially and participating in social media. Our perception of social media is “fun time”, it hasn’t registered to us that this is THE advertising platform.
Wherever the audience is, advertising follows. Once it was Newspapers, Magazines, Radio, TV. Now, it’s online through our news and blogger channels and our Social Media feeds.
If we can look at it from a media platform we are used to, such as Magazines, we can truly see the value and the difference: We have magazine readers, and we have magazine creators.
We don’t see all of the behind-the-scenes magic that happens to make that content available and in our face. That is what advertising is, and what Social Media Marketing is all about.
Ok, I get it. But.. Why so much?
Let’s break it down:
- Graphics and Social Media Ad Creatives The cost of social media graphics and ad creatives – this includes a professional graphic designer with marketing knowledge to create visual ads that deliver results. There is a psychology behind an ad creative that works. This isn’t the job for just any Joe Schmo Photoshop Pro when it comes to creating a fine-tuned ad creative. The average salary of a Graphic Designer is anywhere from $45-$60K per year, with some earning as much as $75K.
- Market research This is a very important aspect of advertising. You have to zero in on your target audience. It makes no sense to shoot your product out into the universe if it’s not aimed at the right audience. Market research answers: Who is your audience, what do they want, what are the buying, what do they respond to, where do they hang out and who are your competitors?
- Ad rates The costs of promoting you or your business. Ad rates are generally included in a market budget, and an average and conservative cost can be anywhere from $250-$500 month for Twitter and Facebook Ads alone.
- PR Writing and crafting the perfect pitches, reaching out to Bloggers, Editors, Magazines, Influencers and even celebrities. This aspect is HARD WORK. A lot of PR agents I know charge $5K per month, just for PR. Nothing else.
- Creating Marketing Campaigns, Calendars + Strategies. Sometimes creating a marketing campaign can take days (or even weeks) to not only research and plan, but to write it out. (One simple 3 month marketing campaign I created a few weeks ago took me over 16 hours to research, create and write.) This takes a lot of time, but executed well, it pays off.
- Writing Press Releases
- Writing Blog Posts – Rich content blog posts are worth their weight in gold to the tune of saving you about $250,000 in Google Adwords costs. A well-written blog post with organic traffic can harness as much, if not more traffic, as an expensive Google Adwords campaign. One single blog post I wrote in 2011 has generated 256,000 hits for my blog so far. If I would have paid the average $1 CPC (Cost-per-Click) with Google Adwords, it would have cost me $256,000!
Blog writers know their stuff when it comes to SEO, and they craft their posts to maximize search results. According to ClicktoTweet and HubSpot, “Articles with a word count between 2,250 and 2,500 earn the most organic traffic”. A good blog writer will charge around .45 cents per word on average, so a 1,000 word post is $450. For example, this post you’re reading right now is 1,326 words (or about $600).
- Social Media Manager A full time (daily) social media manager to monitor your accounts, create engaging posts, interact, respond to positive (and negative) feedback across all channels. I’m talking about a dedicated person who not only knows the ins and outs of social media, but one who works on all your social media accounts all day (Instagram, Reddit, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook), and knows how to track and analyze the data. This is a full time job and if you were to pay him or her a salary, it would probably cost you a minimum of $45K/yr. ($3,750/mo)
If you already have an established Twitter or Facebook account, it could be a little more cost effective, because you won’t have to start from scratch and what you’ll need is a social media manager to maintain and manage your accounts: (i.e. keep them flowing, interact, grow your followers, establish relationships, and build brand awareness). So, If you were to hire someone full time to manage your account, not create contests, promotions or ads, it would most likely cost a minimum of $40K per year, which is a salary of $3,300/mo.
(If you want someone part time, you can probably find a SMM who is good at what he/she does and is just starting out.)
THIS IS HOW MUCH SNAPCHAT COSTS PER ‘BRAND STORY’ AD, WHICH IS A BRANDED POST THAT APPEARS WITHIN THE APP’S ‘STORIES’ FEED.
(UPDATE: 12/2015 THE MINIMUM BUDGET FOR ADVERTISING ON SNAPCHAT RECENTLY DROPPED FROM $700,000+ TO $100,000)
Scared yet? Don’t be. Advertising has always been costly but it’s vital to business growth.
And sometimes, businesses just aren’t ready yet.
People scratch their heads in confusion when things aren’t selling, or when customers aren’t responding. I’ve been there before. I’d think, “I’m doing everything right!” when the truth is, I was just not giving enough to my marketing budget or plan.
We all want to see fantastic results, but what we don’t see is the costs associated with the results we want. And it can be overwhelming at first, but once the momentum starts, it all starts working pretty harmoniously. Better budget for advertising = more sales = more advertising budget = even more sales, etc.
“It’s nearly impossible to do PR and Social Media Marketing on your own, unless you have tons of time, are super-savvy (creatively), and have a team to help out.
Make sure you budget anywhere from 15-20% of your annual income for marketing, because a funny thing happens when you don’t do it: Nothing. Meanwhile, you see competitors with the same products as you doing it and going global. If you want to succeed, there is no other choice. It needs to be a financial priority in your business plan and must be factored in as a cost to doing business”.
In the quickly moving digital world we now live in, we simply can’t wait for our audience and business to come to us. Social media is where all of the attention is these days. We stream Netfix online, Hulu, YouTube and Amazon. We are plugged in to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.
This is where the audience of the world is today, and if you aren’t finding a way to reach them through these channels, you’re kind of on another planet. If you take your business seriously, find a way to either amp up your social media marketing time per day or hire a professional to help you grow your business. You honestly can’t afford not to.