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Key takeaways:

  • Most social media leaders anticipate a flat budget in 2024, with no changes in their service spending or staffing.
  • Content strategy will be the primary focus for most social programs next year. Social leaders said they’re focusing on producing more high-quality content that better resonates with their audiences.

In the social media landscape, one year can bring a lot of change. At the start of 2023, Twitter was still called Twitter, TikTok shop was yet to launch, and Threads were better associated with clothes.

Flexing your budget to account for these ever-evolving trends and enterprise needs is no small challenge.

In a recent panel on 2024 planning, four senior social media leaders at billion-dollar brands shared how they’re aligning budget and resources heading into the next fiscal year and the trends informing their decisions.

Social Budgets are Projected to Remain Flat

From a global pandemic and its shifting effects on business to ongoing economic turbulence, building a budget that prioritizes social media efforts has been undeniably challenging in recent years.

However, most enterprise social media heads are projected to maintain budget in 2024, per’s 2024 State of Enterprise Social Media Report.

Among the 166 surveyed senior social media leaders, more than half reported no change in their budget, and a sizable minority are anticipating an increase.

Similarly, most respondents shared that their technology and service spending will mirror that of 2023.

Balancing In-house vs. Agency Support

In line with the results of the report, Thom Lytle, Senior Director of Social Media at the global cybersecurity company Crowd Strike, told the panel that many teams are likely looking at flat budgets heading into next year.

Yet, he encouraged anyone in the field to avoid copying and pasting their 2023 plans and instead really consider how to make the most of the dollars they have. He shared that he thinks about budget in terms of a series of variables.

“I think the trap that a lot of teams, probably even outside of social media, get into is that handoff between what is agency supported and what is insourced,” Thom said. “Look at the mix and make sure the balance is working for you. If it’s not, try a different combination this year. See if you can de-emphasize one thing to emphasize another.”

When it comes to the 2024 budget, Carolyn Cohen, Senior Marketing Manager at H&R Block, said her team is hyper-focused on resources.

“Thinking about all the players, whether that’s agencies, a one-off production partner, or even influencers,” Carolyn said. “We bucket for creative resourcing because they’re producing content that we can take and use.”

While H&R Block does have an in-house team, Carolyn advised that in-house should not be conflated with no cost.

“When we’re talking about people, we value their team, and we need to make sure that they’re resourced appropriately, and if not, that it’s something we’re hiring for.”

Falling in line with the trend of flat budgets, most senior social media leaders told they weren’t anticipating a change in staff in 2024, and just 8% were expecting a decrease.

Where Social Media Teams are Investing Their Resources’s report also found that content strategy will be the main focus of next year, and as a result, over half of respondents shared it was the primary area of planned spend.

At Nationwide, Associate Vice President of Social Media Kristi Daraban said their goal is to produce more high-quality content.

She shared, “We’re thinking about paid social versus what we’re spending to make content and get content. That’s the area that we’re focusing the most on, and we’re looking into making better content more often, which then requires us to balance that budget a little bit differently.”

The team identified priority platforms and their corresponding audiences to create content that’s most relevant to them. In turn, Kristi said the content gets more bang for its buck when it’s boosted with paid social.

Similarly, James LaCorte, Social Media Manager at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, told the panel his team is planning to reduce the volume of organic content in an effort to create more valuable content.

Additionally, he said they’re investing in improved social listening tools in 2024, which he said will be critical in this effort.

Per’s report, roughly only 20% of senior social media leaders said social listening was a budget focus next year.

Benchmark Your Budget

Planning your social media budget is a big lift that requires a great deal of internal advocacy, but benchmarking with your peers is a great way to make the case for resources.

If you lead social media at a large organization, you can gain even more insights to help you plan for 2024 in our confidential, vendor-free community.

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