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Marketing Budget Strategies for Social Media

With a limited budget, small business owners must make serious decisions about where to allocate precious marketing dollars. If you have a brick-and-mortar location, you face the dilemma of whether to spend your dollars in-store or online. You may even be asking yourself “Does my physical business location need a prominent online marketing presence?”

Meet Your Customers Where They Are

“Online is where the average person will go to research a company and its credibility,” stresses Marsha Archer, president of M-Squared Public Relations. “Therefore, it is pertinent that a company’s online image is up-to-date, fresh, clean, and reflective of the company’s brand message.”

But that doesn’t mean you should spend all of your marketing collateral online. Consider these factors to determine how much of your marketing efforts should be targeted online versus on site.

Don’t abandon your followers. Whether you have an offline or online business, you can damage your business marketing efforts by not utilizing your website or social media platforms effectively. “We’ve had clients engage us because they set up a social media account but never used it, interacted with their audience, or worse yet, never replied to incoming questions from their followers,” says Archer. “One of the biggest mistakes is companies that launch their accounts with little to no marketing plan or social media goal in place.” If you’re not going to take the time to engage with customers or create online content they are likely to read, you may get better marketing mileage by focusing more of your efforts onsite.

Measure your results. “Offline/onsite marketing will yield different outcomes and can in many ways, be a gamble,” says Tara L. Williams, social media strategist and president and CEO of Who is Tara?, a marketing and branding company. With online marketing however, you can target your ideal customer using search engine optimization and behavioral targeted banner ads and measure the results. If you determine that you’re not getting your message in front of your intended audience, you may want to focus more efforts onsite.

Be selective with social media.Depending on the nature of your business, you can be on opposite ends of the online business spectrum. If you’re in certain industries such as entertainment, marketing, and retail, your company may require an all-out social media blitz. If for example, your clients don’t spend much time on Facebook, that’s not where you need to be, says Archer. If your clients don’t hang out on social media at all, look for other onsite marketing efforts can better capture their attention.

“Every business needs an online presence,” says Williams. To determine just how big of a presence and how much of your advertising budget to spend online versus offline, look at your intended audience and meet them where they are.

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