This is a guest post on budgeting your social media campaign. 

About The Author: Vishal Gumber is the founder and CEO of Appsquare—An Australian Mobile App Development company that develops top selling iPhone and Android Mobile apps at offshore prices.

In the competitive world of business marketing, good budgeting tactics can bridge the gap between a success story and a terrible failure. While marketers are generally well versed with the ways and means to budget traditional campaigns, the prospect of funding relatively new strategies such as social media can be a little tricky.

This is because, while a majority of social tools are free for use, the most effective tools and those who run them, do cause a drain on finances. So, here’s a rough blueprint upon which you can shape your budgeting model.

Identify Your Audience

It is important to realize that as a marketing team, you are not only looking to reach out to your customers alone, but also the vast market of potential clients. Thus, it is important to strike a balance between pandering to the interests of existing customers and attracting new people simultaneously.

To do this, make sure invest equal time and efforts on both fronts. To give you a simple example, your Twitter marketing should be divided into two elements:

1)      Identifying and engaging with influential followers

2)      Attracting new followers by following them and through engaging tweets and chats.

Try, Test and Then Proceed

The trick to mastering budget making in marketing is to explore first and then make big investments. So before investing in social media with much alacrity, first start multiple small campaigns on different sites.

Observe which campaign gets the best response over a given period of them, and release more variants of that same idea to determine what gets most attention; that should be the final campaign for which you can contemplate making larger investments.

For example, you may allocate small amounts to different strategies like Promoted Posts, Facebook ads, Sponsored Tweets and LinkedIn Ads. Based on the response you get from each strategy you can create a more concrete social advertising plan.

Identify The Most Suitable Free Tools

Every business has different needs, therefore its crucial to identify only the most suitable free tools, instead of wasting your time registering for every Social Media Marketing tool that offers a free version.

The best way to do it is to create a list of your social media marketing needs first and then identify the most user-friendly free tools suited to your requirements. The initial research maybe time consuming, but you will save up on time and effort at the plan-execution stage.

Here’s a sample of such a list:

Scheduling Facebook Posts: Facebook In-built scheduler

Scheduling Twitter Posts: Hootsuite

Tracking your brand’s mentions on Twitter: Twilert

Social Media Monitoring tools: Tweetreach, Twentyfeet, Facebook Insights

Social Content Distribution Tool: Viral Content Buzz

Let Your Customers Market for You

Beyond a certain point, social marketers should device ways in which to ensure that the customers begin marketing for them.

Creating referral systems, where you reward customers for spreading the word about your website is one of the most cost-effective and efficient ways of doing this. If you are new and have a limited following, you may spread the word about the referral program in your social network through promoted posts and ads.

You needn’t spend a lot of money here. Facebook for instance, lets you promote a post for as little as $5!

Another way to turn your customers into marketers is by offering all your fans and followers great, relevant, and useful content.

So, make sure you allocate a part of your budget to not only creating engaging and interesting content, but also re-packaging it in multiple ways to drive traffic to your business site and improve your customer engagement levels.

For example, we are an app development company and we create a lot of blogs on app marketing for small businesses. We use the blogs to then create newsletters and free E-books that are distributed through the website and our social media networks.

This way not only do we get new fans and followers, but also save money on creating content by re-packaging our existing content.

Adapting the above mentioned blueprint to a specific social media campaign for a specific product, service or enterprise may help a marketing team better its budgeting strategy, thereby improving prospects of success for the entire firm.