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How to Set a Social Media Marketing Budget in 2022 (Costs Breakdown)

wooman sitting at desk counting money she will spend on her social media marketing budget

A Detailed Guide to Your Social Media Marketing Budget in 2022

Many small business owners are increasing their social media marketing budget in 2022. Why? Because customers, clients, and patients expect to see social media profiles when they research your business! Social media marketing builds trust, connects you to your target market, improves brand awareness, and helps you secure sales and leads. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to offer exclusive sales, discounts, and giveaways to your most loyal customers.


But how much does it cost to get help with your social media as a small business owner? The average small business will spend anywhere from $500-$7,000 per month on social media strategy, management, and advertising in 2022. Many small businesses dedicate much more money to their social media marketing budget. They see such amazing return on investment that it JUST MAKES SENSE to include more funds for social.


Need more detailed information? We got you! Let’s set a realistic social media marketing budget based on your 2022 business goals. We’ll help you understand what’s included in your social media marketing budget, how much each component usually costs, and which services you truly need for growth.


Ready? Let’s dive in!


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Components of Your Social Media Marketing Budget

When interviewing a social media agency, there are 5 main categories your social media marketing will fall into. Make sure you discuss each of these 5 components with your social media expert so you have a realistic idea of cost vs. deliverables.


1. Social Media Brand Identity // $500-$10,000 One-time Cost

Yes, that is a very broad range. The brand identity component of social media marketing cost depends heavily on how you will use your brand guidelines to build your business. Will you only sell on social media? Then you might get away with creating a DIY logo and brand kit for yourself. Or paying a freelancer to create one for cheap on Fiverr or 99Designs.


But if you’re also launching a website and want your personal or small business brand to look impressive, you’ll want to invest in a professional brand kit. Strong brand identity builds trust with followers and customers, positions your products to outsell competitors, and gives you the edge you’ll need to grow and scale quickly. Without a legit brand identity, you can do all the hard work you want and you still won’t see optimal results.


Services Included in Social Media Brand Identity and Graphic Design

  • Your main logo and any applicable logo variations, like a watermark, plus logo usage guidelines
  • Color palette—which colors you’ll use on social media and in other online marketing, like email campaigns
  • Typography and font pairings you can use to make your social media posts and other online marketing look professional
  • Photography filters, presets, and photography use guidelines to keep all social media feed photos cohesive and on-brand
  • Custom social media post templates (usually Canva) you can edit and repurpose each time you publish a new post
  • Packaging design, insert design, business card design, and any other branded elements you need to grow your business
  • Editorial brand guidelines, so your tone, messaging, and calls to action stay consistent in each social media post


Here’s a more in-depth analysis we’ve prepared for the cost of small business branding. HOW MUCH DOES BRANDING COST FOR SMALL BUSINESSES? (2022 EDITION)


2. Social Media Strategy // $1,000-$3,000 Yearly

If your business isn’t seeing results with social media marketing, despite trying popular tactics that seem to work for other businesses, it’s time to bring in a strategist.


A custom social media strategy plan allows you to work smarter, not harder, to accomplish your goals ASAP. It helps you set up the core framework for all social media efforts, and de-stress and streamline your social media growth.


Social media strategy is also usually the most affordable and impactful option for small business owners. Once you have a solid strategy plan, you can adapt and optimize it for years in the future. It will help you to relay priorities, goals, and tactics easily to internal or freelance employees.


Services Included in Social Media Strategy

  • Set your priorities and goals for social media marketing in 2022
  • Develop a realistic posting and engagement schedule that you can maintain without stress
  • Help you set daily, weekly, and monthly goals to help you stay consistent and on-track
  • Explain social media metrics—which are most important and how to interpret them to measure success
  • Map out a plan for engaging with other accounts that gets you more followers and engagement on your posts
  • Use only the social platforms that will directly benefit your business and encourage sales and website traffic
  • Streamline your content creation process and create more valuable posts in less time through content batching
  • Optimize your profiles and posts with SEO keywords for better searchability and discoverability
  • Convert followers into customers and clients and make more sales on social media
  • Grow your following through engagement tactics, strategic posts, and by using all social media features
  • Develop content pillars to guide your content creation so each post has maximum value to your business
  • Develop post prompts to help you brainstorm an on-brand and effective social media post when you aren’t feeling inspired
  • Dest use your social media ads budget to achieve your goals
  • Pretty much anything else strategy-related, including answering questions about the features of each social media platform


3. Social Media Management // $500-$4,000 per month

Social media managers typically come aboard after your social media strategy is in place. They may charge hourly or a flat monthly fee for their services. Social media management is a valuable tool for businesses that don’t have an internal marketing team to implement the daily, weekly, and monthly tasks laid out in their social media strategy plan.


While many social media strategists also offer social media management, the two services are very different. The most common mistake we see that inhibits social media growth and sales is mistaking a social media manager for a social media strategist.


Many social media managers are simply not well-versed in social media strategy. This results in great-looking posts with fun captions…that never convert or grow your following. We suggest you play it safe and hire a strategist to lay the groundwork first. Then, you can rest ssured your efforts and budget are being used effectively and your social manager has the guidance and goals they need to succeed.


The cost for social media management varies greatly depending on the skill level of your social media professional. But, most experienced social media managers will charge ~$600-$1000 per month to manage each social account. We generally suggest Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest for B2C sales, and LinkedIn for B2B businesses.


Services Included in Social Media Management

  • Creation and editing of social media post images and designs – many managers use Adobe or Canva to make beautiful designs or edit photos
  • Creation and editing of social media video assets—this could be YouTube Videos, Instagram Reels or Instagram Video content, TikTok videos, or possibly promo videos for ads
  • Development of post captions that contain: tons of value to your target audience, SEO keywords, an impactful call to action, and strategic hashtags
  • Scheduling your posts to automatically go live via a social media scheduling tool like Later or Planoly, or possibly pushing posts live manually
  • Can include social media outreach and engagement services, depending on who you hire


4. Social Media Outreach // $300-$4,000 per month

Do you need to engage with other accounts, respond thoughtfully to comments, and build relationships in the DM’s? Then you need a social media outreach specialist. This is one of the most time-consuming aspects of building your social media, and many small business owners just don’t have the time to accomplish their engagement goals.


A social media outreach specialist will take the engagement goals from your social media strategy plan and apply them to help grow your following and boost sales.  They will also build bridges with fellow entrepreneurs in your industry to secure partners for future promotions and collaborations.


Pricing for this service depends on experience level and how aggressive you want to be with your engagement. Smaller accounts that want to increase follower count quickly will need a ton of  “quick and dirty” engagement. Larger accounts that are focusing on sales will need a very skilled outreach specialist that can truly represent the business. While you can secure a virtual assistant with outreach abilities, if you’re trying to build multiple accounts and form valuable relationships you’ll need expert-level help.


Bottom line: If you hire the wrong person or someone who is underqualified, they may do more harm than good. Newbies notoriously use spammy tactics like buying followers, commenting with only emojis or poorly-written comments, or follow/unfollow tactics. Not only are these tactics ineffective, but they can harm your account to the point where it’s easier to delete and start fresh—your worst nightmare as a small business owner!


Services Included in Social Media Outreach

  • build relationships with similar accounts to build visibility in your industry and forge partnerships for mutual social media content promotion
  • engage with potential customers and clients to build your brand recognition and bring in warm leads and new followers
  • seek out relevant influencers to build brand partnerships and spread the word about your products or services with your target audience
  • comment and like posts from the largest accounts in your industry to build recognition and begin to get their attention
  • send DM’s/messages and respond to DM’s/messages to build relationships privately
  • forward time-sensitive or high-priority messages to you when your input or approval is needed


5. Social Media Ads // $1,000-10,000+

A social media advertising manager or agency will help you build your social media sales or leads through strategic ads. We have found that many social media advertising agencies don’t take your overall social strategy into account when designing and writing ad copy. This is problematic because it interrupts the user experience and customer journey of your social media marketing.


To avoid this pitfall, we suggest using the same agency for social media strategy and social media advertising OR to have an in-depth strategy call with your social media strategist and ads agency so all efforts are focused on the same unified goals.


Your social media strategist can also prepare a mini social media style guide so that all visuals, copy, and calls to action are consistent with your strategy. This can be super helpful!


Also, keep in mind that your budget for ads management is in addition to your ad spend. Most ads management teams will charge a monthly stipend or a percentage-based fee to manage your social media ads and reporting. When you sign on with a social media advertising professional, they will review all of this with you so there are no unexpected costs.


Services Included in Social Media Advertising

  • Audit any historic ads you’ve run in the past and give insight into ways you can improve your social media ads.
  • Advise you on reasonable and strategic advertising spend budget, based on your goals.
  • Map a plan for a/b testing and key performance indicators to measure the success of each campaign.
  • Provide expert-level targeting for your ads through competitive research.
  • Provide a set or flexible number of advertising campaigns or “ad sets” for your social media channels.
  • Help you map out the best plan of attack, based on your target audience and budget.
  • Weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly reporting on the results of your advertisements, as well as their plan for further optimizing your ads.
  • Some agencies may provide visual designs, video production and editing, and content creation.


camala harris saying just a little bit of this and a little bit of that about social media marketing budget components
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7 Steps to Determine Your Social Media Marketing Budget


Step 1: Determine Social Media’s Place in Your Larger Marketing Budget

Does your brand run email or SMS marketing, PPC campaigns, video marketing, or content marketing (like blog and resource content creation)? Calculate your annual spend on each type of marketing, and your return on investment. Which marketing campaigns have the best ROI? Which haven’t been as rewarding?


Many small business owners are increasing their 2022 social media marketing budget by borrowing funds from or eliminating poorly performing tactics completely. Social media often has a better ROI, and adapting to change is imperative! Kick any outdated advertising and promotion platforms to the curb and spend that money more wisely this year.


Step 2: Set Reasonable, Relevant Goals for Accurate ROI

To determine the ROI of social media marketing, you must first work with a social media marketing strategist to set reasonable, relevant goals. This is usually done on an annual basis.


One very important tip we like to remind our clients of is to NOT be to quick to judge the results of social media marketing. While a customer may not buy from you the moment they find you on social media, see that ad, or sign up for your email list on social, your investment on social is a key part of the much larger marketing picture. And social media marketing campaigns can take longer than you think to reach their potential—and show ow profitable they are in your analytics.


LinkedIn Research found that 77% of digital marketers admit they measure ROI within the first month of their campaigns, even though they know their sales cycle is 3 months or longer. Similarly, Oracle Data Cloud research tells us that only 47% of a social media marketing campaign’s value is seen in analytics in the first four weeks.


Translation: you need to give your campaigns time to perform and measure their ROI based on your typical sales cycle. Otherwise, you’re not getting the full picture.


Step 3: Prioritize Your Goals

Prioritize your goals from most important to least important. Are you launching a new product line and need too raise awareness? Are you selling the same product tried-and-tested products you have for 10 years and simply need more online sales in 2022? Or perhaps you’re building a lifestyle brand and don’t have any interest in direct sales—yoou want followers, engagement, and partnerships.


Get clear on which ofo your goals are most important, which are secondary, and which are just nice to have. This will help your social media strategy team put a plan in place that gives you the most impact foor your spend.


Step 4: Determine What Can be Done In-House Versus Externally

Based on the last few steps, do you need to grow your internal team or hire an agency to reach your goals?


It’s often cheaper to hire an agency. We don’t require benefits or a salary. We don’t require overhead like desk or office space. In fact, agencies like LoudBird can cost up to 50% less than an employee. Plus, we free up your employees to fill other necessary roles within your company.


Step 5: Set an Annual Social Media Marketing Budget

We can’t tell you how often clients come to us without a budget. That’s okay! It just means you need to start back at step one to set your foundation before you begin. We’re sticklers for an annual budget. That’s because social media marketing is a long game. Your business should have at least 12-month’s worth of social media marketing funds so you can achieve the results you want. While you can grow your budget from there and start conservatively, you end up wasting money and time in the end if you only budget for three to six months.


Divvying up an annual budget is also easier than throwing random amounts into the pot each month. Why? Because you can look at the year ahead, determine if certain months and sales cycles require more financial backing, and make more strategic decisions with every marketing dollar available.


Step 6: Get to work!

There’s no time like the present to start your social media marketing efforts! Aim to post at least 3x per week on each channel. Adopt video content whenever you can (like IG Reels). Use relevant niche hashtags. Respond to comments and DMs promptly. And engage with other influencers and accounts. If you need help, we’re always here to support you!


phhooebe from friends saying
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How to Master DIY Social Media Marketing

If your business is just starting out and your social media marketing budget is small, you might benefit from DIY social media strategy and management. Many agencies have free tools to help you learn how to make more sales and get more leads through social media. Our blog has TONS of free resources!


But if you’re serious about learning how to grow your social media followers, get more engagement, and earn more sales on social media, invest in a one-time-cost social media marketing course or social media strategy tools. Premium social media marketing education includes the insider tips and tricks you won’t get for free—the tactics social media influencers are using for explosive growth on social media in 2022.


These options are super affordable. And they help you map out a strategy that will help you grow until you have the budget to bring in outside help.



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Get Professional Help with Social Media Marketing in 2022

It’s no secret that social media is a LOT of work. And it takes time and planning to do it right. Time that you, as a busy entrepreneur, probably don’t have! Instead of wasting your valuable time on tactics that don’t get results, hire a qualified social media marketing strategist to build a sustainable workflow and set realistic daily, weekly, and monthly goals.


Then, you can find a social media manager to take Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest completely off of your plate! Because you should focus on what’s important. YOUR skillset. Building your empire! Save your free time to enjoy friends and family and outsource social media like a boss.


If you have the budget to bring on a social media agency, we can solidly recommend one: LoudBird! 


We offer many of the services mentioned above and have helped many women-owned businesses and small businesses create a social media strategy that increases sales, brand awareness, and customer loyalty. Drop us a line to set up your free consultation!



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