In my new advisory role for the members of MENG I have been getting a bunch of questions from the members that are making great fodder for blog posts. One question has popped up a few times to I thought it was worthy of some research and comparative analysis to give you a very clear answer.
The question is – What is the appropriate level of budget to support social media for a B2B company?
I actually tried to tackle this question a few times on my blog before. First was the post on the Media Budget Ratio (MBR) for a B2B company. Which prompted a question by Scott Zosel about how much should you allocate for Social Media in your budget – and so I created the Social Media Budget Ratio (SMBR) post back in 2008 which was good but it lacked historical data like I have now.
So here is my take …
According to the IT Services Marketing Association (ITSMA) which, full disclosure, I am a member and an avid fan of their work. They recently put out a 2010 Budget and Allocations trends document which surveyed the membership to gave you the chart above.
If you blow up the chart you can see that Social Media as a percentage of your overall interactive spend has grown from 13 percent of budget to 14 percent of budget for B2B Technology Marketers. Which I found interesting so I decided to dig into my own spreadsheets and I was able to verify that I currently have 15% of my interactive spend going toward Social Media – right in line and, as you might expect, at the higher end of their range because of my fascination with this particular channel. As far as the rest of the percentages in the survey I can say I go much heavier on things like webinars and flash demos (which I am counting under corporate website spend).
But don’t forget one of the most important costs associated with Social Media and that is Content Creation which can be a small incremental cost if you do it right. Take for example your classic white paper. Why not create a blog post, Twitter tweet and even a podcast or video on it to help promote it and activate the social spheres on your latest content at a fraction above your content marketing spend.
Social Media done right should help you amplify what you already do as well as listen and engage in those conversations about your brand that you want to take part in. A healthy piece of my SMBR is devoted to listening which will be the topic of the next blog post.