This topic have been really hot lately in Malaysia due to a recent “finding” where Tourism Malaysia stated that they’ve spent RM1.8M (about USD600k) to create 6 tourism Facebook pages to promote the tourism industry in Malaysia. This caused quite a stir among the public, leading to tons of complains and debates both online and offline. If you’re interested, click here to know the full story and here are the clarifications made by Tourism Malaysia.
As I followed the news closely, it is interesting to see remarks made by various individuals and some of them can relate to how businesses react to social media integration today when it comes to $.
While most social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are free where you can simply ‘park’ your brand / business on a page, there are several areas that don’t come cheap – especially if you’re thinking of an elaborated campaign or planning to hire someone to do the job for you. Having that said, randomly putting aside a figure won’t do you good. At the very least, consider the following areas:
How Should You Plan Your Social Media Budget?
1. Consider Your Expertise
- Do you have the knowledge and / or the skills to manage social media tools?
- Will you be doing the job or are you hiring?
- Do you have a team to determine the social media strategy?
- Do you even have a social media strategy? (hint: creating a Facebook page to get as many likes as possible is NOT a strategy)
- Do you need a consultant to help you with your social media strategy?
- Do you have the technical skills to execute those strategies (if required. e.g. Facebook apps)
2. Consider the Promotion Itself
- How will you go about promoting your social media presence (blogger write-ups, reviews, online advertising, email marketing, etc)?
- How big of a team is required to carry out the promotion?
3. Consider Long-Term
- Who will be managing (i.e. creating content, engaging, monitoring, etc) the social media accounts?
- Will it managed in-house or outsourced?
- Do you need a consultant to keep you on track?
Considering all of the above, you should be able to tell by now that social media CAN cost quite a bit or it could cost you nothing but time and effort if you’re doing all of it alone. It is interesting to note that even though many feel uncomfortable spending on social media, a recent study indicated that businesses plans to spend more on social media in 2011 as compared to 2010.
On top of that, companies (especially experienced ones) are also seen outsourcing the design and development, content creation and analytics to social media agencies instead [source].
How much do you think businesses should spend on social media? What are the areas they should consider the most?