How to get social media on the 2012 budget

Here are the four things you should ask if you want to boost your online strategy.

Social media is a way to reach customers, and it’s free. Or so we’ve heard.

Social media managers know that’s not true. As evidenced by the need for campaign integration, technology costs and hiring staff, it’s an investment.

Finance departments are already planning for the 2012 budget. Here are the items that should be on every social media manager’s wish list. And remember, if you don’t ask, they won’t throw you a bone.

1. Tracking

You’re tackling business growth one tweet at a time. Certainly CEOs and marketers can appreciate a good anecdote about your tweets with a customer, but the numbers will carry you over the long term. They show how you compare to competitors, help you understand what’s effective, and introduce new measures, like sentiment.

Until you can muster the funds for a tool like Radian6, free services like Google Analytics, HootSuite and BlogPulse can give you an idea of where you stand.

2. Tools

Are you bringing in your personal Mac computer to edit video? Your own Nikon to capture photos? Are you bootlegging Photoshop behind the IT department’s back?

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