Here’s one answer to the social media budgeting dilemma…

Recently I asked how your organization handles the problem of deciding how much money and staff time to devote to social media.  Our crack readers haven’t come up with any great answers yet, but I know many people who are struggling with this one.  So I thought I’d pass along an excerpt from a post from the always-thoughtful Beth Kanter (if you can only read two blogs — this one and one other  🙂    — be sure to include Beth’s)…  To read the complete post on how to be a nonprofit marketing genius, click here.

Use the Rule of Thirds (1/3 Web + 1/3 One Way + 1/3 Social) = Online Marketing Budget

The rule of thirds is not an Einstein theory, it is actually comes to us from the art world.   Applying the rule of thirds photographic composition makes them have more visual interest and impact.   You can use the rule of thirds to answer the question.   “What percentage of the Internet market budget pie should be allocated to Social Media?”  The inspiration for that equation came from Colin Delaney of ePolitics and Laura Quinn from a workshop presented at Craigslist Foundation Nonprofit Bootcamp by (Resource list and Powerpoint here).  

The idea is that you need to think about your organization’s web presence, one-way communication like email marketing and search engine optimization and finally the social.   There is some debate about how to order these components.  My own feeling is that social media is not an either/or to email or search engine optimization.   That you need to have all three, but you need to take a look at what needs to be improved and try to look for incremental improvements.   If you’re just starting out with social media, better to start and start small than play catch up later.   Don’t ignore the other two areas and focus all your energy on social media.

As for Beth’s closing advice about just getting started, I always liked the philosophy of Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus:  “Get out there and get messy!”

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