Shop Smart, Sell Smart: The Importance of Budgeting for Social Media Marketing

Small business owners understand the importance of budgets; it’s the only way to survive in a merciless industry filled with hungry (and often vicious) competitors. Still, many companies, lean and large, fail to appreciate how developing a dedicated advertising budget for social media is a crucial part of guiding a practice toward consistent success. Whims and waffling have no place in sales. As with all forms of advertising, social media marketing (SMM) requires strategy at every stage, beginning with the budget.

How Much of a Budget Are We Talking?

Many marketers set the standard at around 10-15 percent of the advertising budget, but what best serves your needs and goals may vary from those of a practice on the other side of town—or the country. You may wish to allocate a larger or smaller percentage of total resources to this promotional avenue once you determine how influential social platforms are to your patient demographic. The amount is less important than what you do with that money, of course, which is why having a knowledgeable social media strategist in your corner can make this process easier and more effective. At Rosemont Media, our team will work with you to identify a suitable budget and customize your plan to optimize every dollar.

What Goes into a Social Media Marketing Budget Plan?

SMM, like other types of advertising, requires some room for experimentation to find the most advantageous approach (and re-evaluating each quarter, each year, and each launch of a new social media platform is typically recommended). But absolute freedom is a bridge too far, so creating a structure around which to test campaigns is the smart tactic. Here are a few elements to consider when creating an effective budget:

The Plan
Resist the temptation to put the cart before the horse (“Here’s $1,000, use it for social stuff.”) and start with a plan. Consider which social platforms you want to focus on, the desired mix of organic and paid marketing, and your target demographic. The social media journey is dangerous to travel alone, so take a consultant, social media strategist, and other knowledgeable individuals along with you.

The Software
Software not only simplifies SMM, it can also help make each post or promotion go further and be seen by more people. Software decisions include choosing which social platforms, automation services, and project management systems to use. Analytics (for your website and your social media) fall into this category as well.

The Management
Social media is about connecting people, in this case patients and doctors. Having a team dedicated to developing and implementing your practice’s marketing strategy keeps everything moving smoothly and consistently, and consistency breeds consumer confidence. If you’re going to manage your own social media team, budget for the cost of training and continuing education. Life moves pretty fast in the SMM world, and you have to be ready for every update.

The Branding
Can a prospective patient discern what sets you apart from another doctor they are considering? Your practice philosophy is where your brand begins, and branding allows you to differentiate yourself from the crowd and manage your reputation. Branding includes graphics, images, design elements, style, and more, which can be communicated through content, GIFs, videos, and photos.

The Content
GIFs and photos are great, but content is the reigning ruler of social media, just as it is for websites. Social media messages need to be punchy, memorable, and informative—all within one to three sentences. Crafting quality content that’s engaging and effective requires time and skill.

Paid Advertising
Some physicians initially balk at paid advertising, but only because it’s easy to misunderstand the purpose. Many practices hire an outside agency (hi!) to handle their SMM, but that cost covers the work the agency does (which can vary from client to client). However, paid advertising is when the social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, for instance) charges to promote a post. Understanding the difference between organic and paid advertising, and deciding how much of each to use, is an essential part of SMM.

That Sounds Pretty Complicated; Is Social Media Marketing Really Necessary?

The truth is SMM can be quite complicated, and this innovative advertising method is always evolving, so keeping up is an ongoing process. But that’s true of marketing as an industry—it is an ever-changing thing. Complexity does not suggest triviality, however. Social media marketing is important, and there is so much for doctors to gain by wielding this tool with skill. Fortunately, you have access to experts in the field who can guide you through every stage of the budgeting processes. Our nimble team of social media strategists, medical and dental consultants, and copywriters are ready to provide the up-to-date intel you need to succeed in this technologically advanced and consumer-savvy new world.

Ready to revolutionize your practice’s approach to marketing? We have solutions and strategies for budgets and businesses of all shapes and sizes, and we’re wired for success. So, let’s talk.

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