Gini Dietrich

How Much Should I Budget for Social Media?

By: Gini Dietrich | October 7, 2010 | 

The Arment Dietrich Facebook question of the week comes from Rich Burghgraef, who asks, “How much should I budget for social media?” I think he’s asking the wrong question and I tell you why in the video (or click here if you’re in RSS and can’t see the video).

Plus I talk about how much to budget for internal resources and external resources. And I talk about our new commenting system, called Livefyre.

It’s time to begin budgeting for 2011. What else would you tell Rich?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • markwschaefer

    I love this format. You are really on to something here and you’re great in front of the camera. Great job Gini!

    • ginidietrich

      @markwschaefer You and @JonBuscall are SO MY FAVORITES!!! Thank you to both of you!

    • @ginidietrich @markwschaefer @JonBuscall Hey! I’m right here! 😉

    • ginidietrich

      @DannyBrown @markwschaefer @JonBuscall Um, Jon and Mark flattered me, personally. You, DB, you just antagonize me.

  • jonbuscall

    Mark’s spot on. You really do a great job in front of the camera, Gini. I always come back to you when telling clients how to use YouTube to speak to their community.

    If only I had the hair and that gorgeous accent.

    Your No1 fan 🙂

  • abarcelos

    This is very cool technology Gini! You definitely nailed the question by changing their thought process from social media budgeting to marketing budgeting. Social media can integrate with most of the traditional and online marketing efforts, but like you have Dan, there should be someone spearheading it.

    • ginidietrich

      @abarcelos I’m really fighting the urge to call you Anna Banana. I don’t know why. It’s just an urge.

    • abarcelos

      @ginidietrich Welcome to the thousands of people who have called me that all my life. Ha!

    • ginidietrich

      @abarcelos Sweet! THAT’S why the urge.

    • abarcelos

      @ginidietrich I like the way this application sends notifications when there is a comment! YouTube doesn’t do that. Does it?

    • @abarcelos @ginidietrich I’m tempted to call Gini Marlene.

    • abarcelos

      @DannyBrown @ginidietrich So who is Marlene? 😉

    • ginidietrich

      @abarcelos @DannyBrown I only use “Marlene” when I’m trying to get a table in a busy restaurant.

  • KarenARocks

    LOVE the new commenting system – a simple concept and saving me time = bonus! You’re so on top of your game, you are starting the make the rest of us look bad. Just kidding (no, really I am not, please stop). Seriously, thanks for passing on great ideas once again…I truly value your thoughts.

    • @KarenARocks Livefyre rocks, doesn’t it? 🙂

  • wabbitoid

    I’ll get to know the new system. Offhand, I’m a weensy bit confoozed.

    As for “How much to budget?” It really is like everything else – what do ya want to do? Allocating resources depends an awful lot on what you want to accomplish with your marketing.

    I always tell my clients that the social media part of marketing has the great advantage of being scalable, so we can start small and see where it goes. They can hire me for as much time as they think they can afford. All my clients that have taken that challenge eventually ask me to do more the next month or so, which is to say that we aimed a bit low at first, but it got my foot in the door! 🙂

  • Haha, I thought you said a COMPLETELY different word (but similar sounding) to “funky”, miss. 🙂

    So where’d you get the idea to move to @Livefyre? 😉

    1% of total revenue? Do you think that would be enough for a smaller business (I know you work with a lot of Main Street clients), Gini? Seems that for the smaller ones, a larger percentage would be needed for real growth potential?

    • ginidietrich

      @DannyBrown I’m telling you, Danny Brown. I get ALL of my ideas from you. I should actually write a blog post about it.

    • @ginidietrich Haha, you flatter me, miss. Besides, I’m totally stealing your Video Question of the Week idea for Bonsai Interactive 🙂

  • KarenARocks

    LOVE the new commenting system – a simple concept and saving me time = bonus! You’re so on top of your game, you are starting the make the rest of us look bad. Just kidding (no, really I am not, please stop). Seriously, thanks for passing on great ideas once again…I truly value your thoughts.

    • ginidietrich

      @KarenARocks Blame Danny Brown! He started it. And then one of our readers, who works at Livefyre, offered us the beta. Knowing Danny loves it, I figured we should try it. So blame him! It’s all HIS fault.

    • @KarenARocks @ginidietritch Glad to hear you like Livefyre! Go ahead and blame Danny on it. I’m glad to let him take the blame… or you can blame us for making it so great. 🙂

    • @KarenARocks Hey Karen, want to put this comment system that you love so much on your site? It’s a super simple install and I’d be happy to send you a beta invite! Feel free to e-mail me at for more info. Thanks!

    • @ginidietrich Hey Gini! One of the really cool features about Livefyre is the ability to mention people within comments. For example, if you type the @ symbol before a user’s name, it will notify that person that you mentioned them! @DannyBrown will now come here to check out this comment 🙂

      We’re about to launch a big update to that exact feature that I think you’re going to love. When you type the @ symbol, it’s going to show you a list of all your twitter and facebook friends, and people in the conversation already for you to mention!

      We’re really happy to have you on board!

    • ginidietrich

      @jkretch I’ve been testing the @ symbol in here. It’s SUPER exciting! I’m in love. With a commenting system. Do you think I can marry it? My Westone earphones (@westonemusic) married me at the top of a Colorado mountain. #justsayin

    • ginidietrich

      @jkretch P.S. What do I have to do to get more points?? I’m SUPER competitive!

    • @ginidietrich Are you going to Blog World? Because I keep cracking up from your comments and it would be awesome to meet you. 🙂 You earn +1 point every time someone likes your comment, -1 when you burn a comment, and -1 when your comment get’s burned. We’ll be making the point system much more advanced in the future, so stay tuned! (sorry I’m hijacking @jkretch’s replies, but he’s in super focused design mode right now 🙂

    • ginidietrich

      @jennalanger I won’t be there. 🙁 But I’ll find a way to meet you guys. Never fear! So if I burn @DannyBrown’s comments, can I get more points than him?

    • @ginidietrich Well burning a comment also makes you lose a comment, so I’m afraid you’ll both be in the same place you started, and others will start to get ahead! 😉

    • @jkretch @ginidietrich Damn you and your notification system, Kretchner!

    • @ginidietrich @jennalanger Hey Dietrich, bring it! I’ll make it a #12for12k challenge to have you at minus 125,000 by the end of the year 😉

    • ginidietrich

      @DannyBrown Thank heaven #12for12k doesn’t begin until next year. I have time to build up my points.

    • @ginidietrich Oh, it’s before then, miss. Was meant to be October 1 relaunch, got slight delay, but look out for it soon. So best get pointing FAST! 😉

    • ginidietrich

      @DannyBrown Oh good! That means you can include Swat Malaria for one month!

  • janbeery

    Gini, Yikes! We have found that recommending 6-8% of gross to encourage growth is most effective AND they recover that investment in ROI rapidly. That being said, we utilize that budget for all aspects of marketing.
    Even in medical manufacturing we committed to 10% sometimes higher depending on the product.
    Interesting, do your clients establish a budget?

    • ginidietrich

      @janbeery Most of our clients do NOT establish a budget until we get our hands on them. Most of our clients don’t even have marketing people on staff. We’re it for them. So we establish a lot of things, including a plan, a budget, and measurable goals.

  • We’re so glad we have awesome bloggers like you using Livefyre. Keep up the good work with your posts and videos, great content anyone can learn from.

    I agree about internal management of social media…it’s definitely a full-time job. It’s crazy how fast and how relentless the flow of social media is…it can be on top of you before you even realize it.

    Great post, thanks!

    • ginidietrich

      @JMattHicks I’m so glad you sent me the beta to try it out!

  • RichBurghgraef

    I hope your readers found our question worth while. We have been talking a lot to our clients and prospects about this being budget time ( ) so I figured you would have something valuable to say, and, as usual, you did not disappoint!

    One of the challenges we are seeing though, is that as a relatively small sales solutions company, we have more of a sales culture than a marketing culture, and sometimes struggle to determine what areas to invest in and what areas we can leave alone for now. And, when we do decide on an area to invest in, we have some difficulty deciding between internal and external resources. For example, we have an internal social media director who handles our social media efforts and some website stuff, but we had outside companies actually redesign the website.

    I guess if I was to rephrase the question, I would be interested in your opinion (and the opinions of your readers) on what marketing efforts they feel have gotten the best ROI in conjunction with their sales efforts.

    • ginidietrich

      @RichBurghgraef I’ve asked @MaureenB2B to add her $0.02 to your question here. I think the feedback she has will be invaluable to you.

    • MaureenB2B

      @ginidietrich @RichBurghgraef @MaureenB2B well, Rich, your rephrase is easier for me to answer than your original question! In B2B, where you have a direct sales force selling to other companies, we’re seeing that active participation on LinkedIn is the best spot to mingle with prospects, customers, and influencers. From there, it depends on who your prospect are and where they’re engaging. If your customers are not actively on twitter or facebook yet – then start to look for thought leaders and influencers. In other words, who are the people your prospects would look to for a solid opinion about someone in your space? Those are the folks you want to engage.

      With a little cursory research, you’ll get a better feel for how much time you’ll need to invest today and in the future. Those would be key metrics to determine budget.

  • jeanniecw

    Hey! Great job and love this technology. One thing I’d add – social media should also be considered part of your customer support and service toolkit. Customers are turning to it more and more, so if you are building or supporting a customer community, this should be included as a way to do it. (But you knew I’d say that, right!?)

    • ginidietrich

      @jeanniecw You adding the customer experience is the only reason we’re friends! 🙂

    • @jeanniecw That’s exactly the point I was going to make. We use social media for support and a lot of that has turned into word of mouth marketing and growth for us (i.e. @dannybrown and @ginidietrich). It also depends on what you are trying to market and where your audience is, which I believe is why gini said it’s more about thinking of your marketing efforts as a whole.

  • 3HatsComm

    Ahh the livefyre experiment, seen it on Danny’s blog. Some cool features, will keep an eye out for when it’s out of beta.

    Still loving your video posts Gini, wish I had the camera presence. Agree with Danny that 1% seems a little low, though you’re right to have people thinking of the social media as part of the overall marketing and communications budget. I think it’ll be relative, per if you are an established brand or start-up; what yields the greater returns may shift a little more towards social media and PR than other efforts, or vice versa. FWIW.

    • ginidietrich

      @3HatsComm @DannyBrown I think the difference is that we work solely with B2B small businesses. And the one percent figure does NOT count traditional media buying (which they rarely do anyway). A consumer program would cost A LOT more.

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