Social media is ‘the place’ to be for businesses. They can reach out to their target audience, maximize engagement and ultimately, increase conversions. But before everything else, they need to chalk out a plan and a successful one at that. Because social media marketing is not free, one of the first steps that businesses need to take is to have a budget in place.

This post provides a definitive guide to determine social media marketing budget for all businesses.

Social Media Advertising

Sometimes posting pictures and holding contests don’t cut it, that’s when you need to advertise on social media. A traditional advertiser would find himself in advertising heaven, thanks to so many targeting options and such competitive prices on social media (The minimum daily advertising spend on Facebook is a $1.00 per day whereas $.50 on Twitter).

Creating a comprehensive strategy for social media marketing and outsourcing all work for all channels (with a minimum of two social networks) costs anywhere from $3,000-$20,000 per month, with the industry average settling between $4,000-$7,000 per month. – The Content Factory

So the budget depends on the social network you choose. Advertising on some networks like Twitter and LinkedIn is pretty simple and quick. Facebook offers insane number of targeting options which may confuse you if you are green.

But you can get a pretty definite idea about the cost of social media advertising based on your campaign goal, audience size, location and the platform you choose. For instance, if your campaign goal is to get website visits, you may have to pay as much as 30% more than you would pay for views or impressions.

The size of your audience and the location you choose also determine your budget. Let’s understand this with an example: if I am looking to target people who like baking and are interested in baking recipes, Facebook would charge $6.5* to show my ads to 520 – 1,400 people in New York, US, 440 – 1,200 people in Perth, Western Australia and 890 – 2,400 people in Mumbai, India. If I increase or decrease the number of interests the cost of ads will fluctuate too. Best bet is to narrow your audience as much as possible.

Estimated Budget

*Estimated figures as derived from Facebook Ads Manager.

Marketing Tools

Apart from advertising, you will also need certain tools for social media marketing. Most tools offer a no-frills, free option for basic social media tasks such as scheduling, post creation and analytics but if you want to get the best features, you need to shell out some money. Here are some of the most popular apps and tools along with their price bracket, so you can get an exact idea while deciding your budget.

  • News tool


We know how important it is to stay updated in social media. You don’t only need to be aware of the trends, you also need to know what is going to trend in future. There are many new apps that bring latest news pertaining to a particular industry. For instance, The Fly On The Wall brings all stock related news for $35 a month. Relay for reddit brings all the news from reddit at $2.99 for one time download.

  • Social media management tool



Some of the most popular online scheduling tools are Hootsuite and Buffer. Hootsuite costs $1499 a month whereas Buffer costs $399 a month for enterprise versions. To start you need to pay $59 upfront. These tools shave hours off social media management and are well worth their price if you are a power user.

  • Engagement tool


It is very important to engage your social media audience with quiz, survey and polls. SoGoSurvey offers unlimited quizzes with 1500/mo responses at $144 a year. Qzzr offers unlimited quizzes with 10,000/mo responses at $299 a year. These tools help you boost the chance of engagement through appealing visuals and then provides analytics on them.

  • Creation tool


The most popular social media posts creation tools are Canva and Piktochart. I prefer Piktochart to Canva because it offers full access to all Piktochart templates, graphics and features at just $39.99 for a 12-mo subscription. On the other hand, paid images or elements in Canva come at $1, which may sound good but eventually can add up a lot to your expense.

Team Size

The last and the most important aspect is the number of people who would be working on your social media and the number of hours they put in daily to manage it. For instance, your designer may work on a number of other things besides social media posts or your copywriter’s main job may be to write blog posts but he or she also gives copy for social media in spare time. However, they do spend time on social media and hence the consequent cost should be considered when determining your social media budget.

Let’s say, you pay a graphic designer $25 per hour and $26 per hour to a copywriter. Together they spend 6 hours a week on creating social media posts. So the average spend for your social media work is $153 a week. This cost can quickly escalate during events special campaigns or contests. Other than that, there is the cost of a full-time social media manager to consider. According to popular job boards like Glassdoor, Indeed and PayScale, the salary of social media manager would range from $30,000 and $70,000 depending on expertise and experience.

Total Cost

Now let’s see how much you need to set aside when planning your annual social media marketing budget.

Based on the above discussion, let’s say your advertising cost comes to around $72,000 per year. Your social media management and analysis tool comes around $5,000 (or more if you choose the other more expensive options).

You pay around $70,000 in salaries including your manager and other employees. So the total investment comes up to $1,47,000. You could add or remove some depending on your needs, but this figure could act as your baseline for budget or most mid-sized businesses.

Besides advertising expense, the cost of tools and your team size, your competition, the industry you are in and the age (or recognition) of your company also affect your budget. But that’s for another time!

  • Mansi Dhorda is a SEO Analyst at E2M. She specializes in the implementation of highly effective link building strategies for clients all over the world.