How Much A Station Should Spend on Social By Andy Meadows

One of the big misconceptions I see with radio groups across the country is a feeling that its unnecessary for them to regularly spend money advertising on social media. I understand the thought process behind this, after all we have our own megaphones to shout to the masses everyday selling ourselves, our contests, promotions and sponsors. However, even if you run a legacy station that built up a massive following prior to the algorithm changes, its still important to set aside a budget for social media. The big question is, how much should you spend? 

But, before answering that, let me expand a bit on why its so important and a few ways to underwrite much of that spending. Just like any company, there are a multitude of reasons why its beneficial to amass impressive social stats. It’s a measuring stick that potential advertisers, and listeners, can all see to compare us to our competition. It’s another touchpoint with listeners that, when used properly, can drive tons of traffic to specific listening appointments, hence driving cume and TSL, as well as web traffic. Plus, despite rules that can be changed at any moment by whoever owns the platform, social media is still a great way for stations to generate revenue. Our goal with our consulting clients is to create on-air features, benchmarks, contests and promotions that are sponsorable enough to build in a budget for social, hence underwriting the entire multi-platform marketing campaign entirely and making money on top of it. Then we build non-invasive sponsor ads into that social content, within their rules, that drive back to a webpost with longer-form content and a longer ad. 

Which leads us to the main question I get, how much should we spend? Typically, before answering that I ask, ‘Well how much are you spending now?’ and the response I most often get is ‘nothing’. In that scenario literally budgeting anything at all is a step in the right direction. That’s because, the way these platforms are built now, spending any amount of money will do a limited amount of small, incremental good in the long run if its consistent. But, if you really want to move the needle my rule of thumb for out-of-pocket budgeting is $100 per station per month for small market stations, $250 for medium market and $500 for large market stations. Hands down my favorite social ad platform for targeting is Facebook, but I do suggest spreading that budget around and focusing on specific platforms on certain months based on demo and need. If each station were to spend that amount of money in those varying size markets, paired with creative graphics/video content and additional sponsored promotions/content, its safe to expect a 25% to 50% total social audience growth from year to year. 

How much do you spend on social each month and what platform has worked best for you when boosting? Comment below or email me at

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