Social media marketing (SMM) is a subset of digital marketing that utilizes social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to market brands and businesses. SMM can help businesses reach, grow, and connect with their audience as well as reinforce their brands. It’s best for any business whose target audience spends significant time on social networks.
A lot of time and expertise is required to use social media marketing effectively. For many time-strapped small businesses, the best choice is to leave it to the pros at a marketing agency such as Hibu. There, you will get affordable, industry-leading social media management that’s easily trackable to be sure you hit your SMM goals. Get started with Hibu today.
How Social Media Marketing Works
Social media marketing gives businesses a way of connecting with their audience on social networks. To launch your own social campaign, start by getting to know your target audience and which platforms they use. Then, create profiles on those platforms and determine the type of content that best fits your brand and resonates most with your audience. Finally, create a posting schedule and begin outreach efforts to engage with your audience and grow a following.
The first step in social media marketing is to examine your customer base. Research your target audience and use this data to determine what social networks they use most frequently. Then, examine the content they like and share to see what resonates most. Finally, determine where your brand content would best fit. For example, a food truck might have a modest Twitter following but would likely receive more engagement on a photo-driven platform like Instagram.
Next, register for accounts on the social media platforms that best reach your audience and serve your brand. Be sure to register for only a few so as to concentrate your posting and outreach efforts. Create your profile on each platform by adding your name, business-type, a profile picture, and a relevant bio, if applicable. Then, develop a content calendar and begin posting content that aligns with your brand, including both visuals and compelling copy.
Finally, work to grow a following. To do this, reach out to existing customers and invite them to follow you. Promote your social accounts on your website and incentivize people to follow you by offering special discounts and promos to followers. Seek to collaborate with others to gain awareness and engage with your target audience by liking and commenting on their profiles. If you follow all of these steps, you will ultimately grow your customer base.
Organic vs Paid Social Media Marketing
There are two primary types of social media marketing: organic and paid. Organic SMM is free, whereas paid SMM is a form of advertising. Organic is generally a more time-consuming way to build an engaged following, whereas paid social posts—which come at the cost of around $1 to $2 per click—increase target audience impressions and engagement quickly.
Here are the differences between organic and paid social media marketing.
Organic Social Media Marketing
Organic social media marketing involves strategically adding original content to a platform to help build brand awareness and engagement. This content can include informational, educational, or entertaining content that both serves followers and showcases a company as an expert, trustworthy brand in their industry.
To help grow engagement as part of organic social marketing, businesses find and interact with their target audience manually by following others, commenting on other users’ posts, and liking content that’s related to their products, services, or industry. Given the time-consuming nature of this approach to marketing, it’s best used as a long-term strategy.
Paid Social Media Marketing
Paid social is a form of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising that distributes paid content (ads) over social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Businesses can create ads and choose whom their ads are displayed to using audience targeting. These ads often include a call-to-action (CTA) like “Buy now” to encourage engagement. Given these characteristics, paid social is a good short-term strategy to build a following and promote customer action.
Social Media Marketing Costs
While it’s free to use social media, there are expenses involved in social media marketing; the average small business spends anywhere from $200 to more than $2,000 per month on social marketing efforts. This covers everything from labor costs and management fees to design costs, paid collaborations with influencers, and social media marketing tools.
Here are five common costs involved with social media marketing:
- Social media management: Many companies looking to actively pursue social as a marketing channel choose to hire dedicated marketing managers or outsource marketing to firms like Hibu. The average cost to outsource your social media management to agencies ranges from around $200 to more than $500 per month depending on several factors, including the extent of services rendered and monthly ad spend.
- Paid social advertising: Social media advertising is a form of PPC advertising where businesses pay on a per-click (CPC) or per-one hundred thousand views (CPM) basis, with CPCs averaging around $1.50 to $2. The leading paid social platform, Facebook, currently has a required minimum daily ad spend of $5 for ads based on clicks, likes, video views, and post engagements and $1 per day minimum for impression-based ads.
- Influencer marketing: Collaborations with social media Influencers—those with a large and engaged following—can be a great way to get your name out there and grow your own following. To do this organically, businesses build relationships with influencers, who then post photos of or talk about a business’s products and services. Businesses also often hire an influencer to mention their brand in posts, which costs anywhere from $1,000 to more than $10,000 per post or mention.
- Design costs: Producing quality social content often involves an investment in professional photography, videography, and graphic design. The average cost to hire a professional photographer will vary from a couple of hundred dollars to upwards of a thousand dollars, depending on your needs and requirements. There may also be costs incurred from using design tools and platforms such as Canva (free), Adobe Illustrator ($19.99 per month), or Adobe Photoshop ($20.99 per month).
- Social media marketing tools: Many nondesign social media marketing tools make social media posting and content creation easier to manage. While many of these tools are available for free, some are available on a subscription basis and cost $10 to $100 per month, depending on the platform.
Social media marketing is generally considered a low-cost marketing method, though many businesses still allocate a fair portion of their overall marketing budget to social because when used strategically, it can be a very effective marketing channel. These costs include everything from management fees for professional account oversight to the cost of tools that help businesses use social media more efficiently.
9 Top Social Media Marketing Platforms
There are several different social media platforms that businesses can use to reach and connect with their target audience. The most commonly used social media platforms for businesses are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Yelp, and forum and blog sites like Reddit and Tumblr. Understanding the available platforms will help you determine which is right for your business.
Here are the nine most popular social media marketing platforms for business.
Primary user intent: Users of all ages, including a large number of users 50-plus years old, looking to keep up with friends and family
Facebook is one of the leading social networking platforms, with 2.4 billion active users. It has a vast audience, reaching users of all ages, backgrounds, and interests. Businesses can use Facebook for business in a variety of ways, from building and managing a business page—which can serve as another version of your website with information such as hours and reviews—to creating private groups and running targeted ads.
Primary user intent: Users seeking to chat with Facebook friends
Facebook Messenger is Facebook’s messaging tool where users can chat with one another, and businesses can start conversations with users, generating awareness. Businesses using Facebook for business might consider using Facebook Messenger for product promotions, surveys, and customer support. For sales, scripted messages can be triggered based on user engagement on Facebook. These can encourage actions like visiting a product landing page.
Primary user intent: To keep up with social news and trends through visual media
Instagram is the top social network for photo and video-sharing. With 500 million daily users, it reaches a wide audience, and like Facebook, businesses can create business profiles and advertise on the platform. Since Instagram is largely multimedia-based, its best for businesses that have images and short videos to share. It also allows users to tag businesses geographically, so it’s also great for businesses with a physical location, such as a restaurant.
Primary user intent: Users seeking quick-hit, entertaining, and newsworthy content
Twitter is a leading text-based social network, with more than 125 million users. While it has evolved to allow users to post photos and videos, it was built to share short streams of text―the current character limit is 280―and this is still its primary use. Given this focus, it’s best for those with frequent, quick-hit news and updates, such as businesses that host events, workshops, and food trucks that need a way to share their current location quickly.
Primary user intent: Professionals looking to network with others in their industry
LinkedIn is the leading social network for professional networking. Unlike other social networks, such as Facebook and Instagram, users visit LinkedIn for professional and career-related purposes. However, businesses have both organic and paid social opportunities with LinkedIn. Given LinkedIn’s audience and their professional networking goals, its best for recruiting, software-as-a-service (SaaS), business-to-business (B2B), and educational companies.
Primary user intent: To get inspiration on a wide range of topics, from fashion to cooking
Pinterest is a photo-sharing social network used for content discovery purposes. Unlike Instagram, where users primarily view photos from those they follow, users on Pinterest search by category or specific search terms and are then shown several relevant image-based results. These results, or posts, are generally linked to websites, so it’s a good way for businesses to build awareness of visual products and services and drive traffic to their site.
Primary user intent: To share intimate yet trivial visual content directly with friends; primarily a millennial and younger user base
Snapchat is another photo and video-sharing social network, but differs with its ephemeral content model; photos, texts, and videos sent directly to users disappear after they have been seen. Businesses can use the platform to add branded filters that users can use on their photos, while Snapchat stories can also feature short video ads. Authentic storytelling does best on this platform, so ads should offer personal, raw content.
Primary user intent: To watch entertaining or informative videos
YouTube is the leading video-sharing platform, with more than 1.3 billion users worldwide. Businesses use YouTube in two main ways: To create and share videos that build their brand organically or to run video ads which display before users watch their chosen videos—much like a traditional television ad. Significant resources go into producing successful YouTube videos, so it’s best for companies whose brand, products and services, messaging, and budget lend themselves to video.
Primary user intent: To discover and research businesses near you based on category or industry
Yelp is an online business directory with consumer-submitted reviews and feedback. People use Yelp to find local businesses based on location and offerings, as well as the reviews left by previous customers. Anyone can create a business profile on Yelp, but it’s best for companies with physical locations that get in-store customers. If you have the budget, you can promote your company on Yelp with paid ads that give your brand more exposure in search results.
6 Top Social Media Marketing Tools
To help businesses make informed decisions on what to post, when to post, and who to target, many social media marketing tools do everything from help businesses discover trending content and manage social media calendars to translate data and analytics into actionable insights. Consider these as you map out your social marketing strategy.
Here are the top six social media marketing tools for small business:
- Hootsuite: Those managing multiple social media platforms will find a social media management platform such as Hootsuite very helpful. It not only helps companies manage all platforms and content calendars in one centralized location, but it also makes collaboration easy and offers robust analytics and social media automation. Plans start at $29 per month, although new users can try it free for 30 days.
- BuzzSumo: Use BuzzSumo to discover trends in content, allowing you to post relevant content that interests your followers. It also allows businesses to manage their mentions so that they can see everywhere users mention them on social. Plans start at $79 per month with an annual contract.
- Canva: Creating visually appealing social content often involves graphic design. For those without graphic design skills, there’s Canva. It’s a free graphic design tool that requires zero design skills, thanks to its easy drag-and-drop-style editor and dozens of prebuilt templates.
- Analisa.io: The analytics included with most social media platforms are limited. For that reason, many use Analisa.io, an analytics tool that breaks down sophisticated profile, follower, and hashtag data that can be used to improve content strategies. It offers a free plan as well as premium plans starting at $59 per month.
- Unbox Social: Track your social media performance with audience engagement insights, connect with social media influencers, and gain a better understanding of your buyers and your competition using this social media tool. It offers à la carte pricing, with plans for as little as $15 per month.
- Unbounce: Businesses that are using paid social, such as Facebook Ads, will find that while a well-designed ad will drive a user to click, a quality landing page will be the key to getting them to buy or engage. For that reason, advertisers are generally advised to use a landing page builder, such as Unbounce, for better-designed landing pages that more effectively convert visitors. Plans start at $79 per month with an annual plan.
The best tools for social media marketing help you manage content creation, content tracking, and strategy development at an affordable price. These include tools like Hootsuite for comprehensive social media management, Canva for creating great visuals, and Unbounce for building and testing landing pages that convert.
10 Tips for Social Media Marketing
Every business will have a different approach to social media that helps them connect with their audience quickly and effectively and meet their goals. To get further insight into how to use social for business, we asked the professionals for their tips on social media marketing.
Here are 10 social media marketing tips from the pros:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the best social media marketing agencies?
The best social media marketing agencies provide targeted insight and guidance on how to maximize engagement on social channels with posts and ads. Given this baseline, the best social media marketing agencies are Lyfe Marketing, Bearly Marketing, Social High Rise, 99 Social, Hibu, and Hootsuite. Get the complete breakdown of the best social media agencies for small businesses.
How do I set up a Facebook business page?
To set up a Facebook business page, log in to your personal Facebook account and click “Create,” which is located in the upper right-hand toolbar. Select “Page” from the drop-down, choose a “Page Category,” and enter your business information. Build out your profile by adding a profile picture and cover photo and completing business descriptions. Lastly, invite friends to your page and promote it. Get the step-by-step details on how to create a Facebook business page.
How much does Facebook advertising cost?
Facebook advertising is a type of PPC advertising where businesses are charged based on when users interact with an ad. The average overall CPC for Facebook ads is $1.86. Facebook currently has a minimum daily ad spend of $5 for ads based on clicks, likes, video views, and post engagements and $1 for impression-based ads. Learn more about Facebook advertising costs.
How do I advertise on Facebook?
To advertise on Facebook, businesses will need to start by creating a Facebook business page and ad account. With these established, go to Facebook Ads Manager and click “Create” to begin building a new ad campaign. Complete and follow all prompts from selecting your ad type and audience to uploading media for your ad. Configure all settings, and lastly, launch your new campaign. For more guidance, follow our step-by-step on setting up Facebook advertising.
Bottom Line: How to Do Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing can be a very effective and low-cost form of digital marketing where businesses use major social media platforms to build brand awareness and connect with their audience to promote products or services. To market on social effectively, businesses should determine which platforms their audience is on, create accounts on those top platforms, and “get social” with their audience to reinforce their brand and reach their marketing goals.
It’s not easy to use social media for business effectively. It’s not only time-consuming, but it also requires a good deal of SMM know-how. Leave your social media to the experts at a social media marketing agency, such as Hibu. With Hibu, social media pros will build and grow your social presence for the best social return on investment (ROI). Get your free Hibu quote today.