The Benefits and Costs of Social Media Marketing

Is social media a worthy investment for your brand’s long-term growth? Here are our two cents on why we think social media can help increase brand engagement and educate potential customers during their buying decision process.

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is interacting with your followers’ and target audience through content creation on social media platforms, ranging from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to Youtube, Vimeo, and TikTok. The increasing presence of technology with every subsequent generation means that these digital platforms are becoming increasingly important.

Why Social Media Marketing?

We get it – you already have a lot on your plate managing marketing operations. While social media has been around since the late 2000s, there are many new platforms that consumers have adopted and that your brand simply cannot ignore.

Most businesses use social media to address a variety of needs. A brand could monitor social media to understand how customers view and engage with their page. Another brand could use social media to run highly-targeted advertisements to reach a larger audience. Regardless of how social media is used, social media’s rising popularity through platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and Youtube make it an essential tool for businesses.

When starting on social media, it can feel like a vast, never-ending nebula of possibilities. It almost feels too overwhelming to get started – after all, upfront investments of time and money are required to experiment before finding your perfect strategy. So what makes social media marketing worth the pursuit?

What Will I Gain from Social Media Marketing?

The payoffs of social media marketing come in a two-part process that flows straight into each other. Learn the ropes, and you’ll be riding the waves towards a successful following.

1. Distinguish yourself from Competitors

With nearly 4 billion people on social media, that’s 4 billion potential pairs of eyes that can see your company. Social media platforms are convenient communities for people to share and discover their favorite information, so once you get a following going, your discovery potential is much larger than just your audience; it includes their audiences, as well!

You’ll have easy access to see the campaigns and activity of competitors and can effortlessly learn what works, what doesn’t, and what’s new. Even better, by driving engagement through comments, likes, and interactions, recent studies show your brand awareness can increase exponentially. 

It’s simple: Getting started on social media will help build your brand in the age of technology and never-ending communication.

2. Raise Conversions through Engagement and Leads

Because social media gathers people together in the same online “place,” strategic activities can generate leads and improve conversions. Sharing and promoting your offered products and services can let the word spread like wildfire.

While there are paid advertising with social media platforms such as Facebook Ads, Pinterest Ads, and others, the power of social media is that organic growth is entirely possible. Examples include linking your website and offers to your posts, hosting contests and giveaways, implementing cross-platform campaigns, and utilizing shopping features on profiles such as your Instagram account. 

Audiences are given a direct path to purchasing directly from your site!

What Does Social Media Marketing Cost?

Before getting started with social media, a brand needs to understand the essential costs it will need to invest.

0. External Agency/Services

Yes, there is an item 0 on the list of costs. Somebody can execute social media in-house, but you can reduce some of your expenses and the learning curve by collaborating with a 3rd party. You’ll need to determine how your company is currently performing to understand if an agency or service is a suitable investment. 

A marketing agency or service offers flexible packages to help manage social media accounts based on several factors, such as your goals and how involved you will be in the process. They provide valuable industry knowledge, experience and offer a fully managed social media marketing approach that will save you time.

1. Research Time & Strategy Development

Before jumping into social media marketing, it’s essential to research which platforms you should get started with, who your audience is, how your audience behaves on the platform, what competitors do… the list is endless! 

social media marketing

Ultimately, you’ll want to have a fleshed-out social media strategy before you begin.

Even after you have established a steady following, you should continue to optimize your social media marketing. Of course, the more you invest in researching and experimenting, the better you will perform.

2. Planning Time

While it is possible to post on your social media platforms one day at a time, you will inevitably need to plan when to post certain information. If you’re having a promotion or know of an upcoming holiday, it would be optimal to schedule your posts around that time to be aimed towards your campaign. Therefore, most brands like to plan out a content calendar at least a month in advance to not stress every day about what the posts should be. Using an online service such as Sprout Social or Hootsuite allows brands to upload posts in bulk and schedule them out to be auto-posted!

3. Creativity

No one likes to read the same content over and over. Therefore, it takes brain power to generate new and engaging content regularly. It’s possible to gather ideas from competitors to see the industry’s trends, but most of the time, you want to establish your brand voice through the specialized content you post. By planning out weekly themes in advance, your content creation efforts can be more organized, and it will be significantly easier to plan your posts.

4. Content Costs

Every post comes with written content and could be accompanied by attached media, such as photos, videos, or links. For platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, an image is required!

Along with the caption, brands need to invest time and money into sourcing quality photos. Stock photos are a great place to start, especially because many stock photo sites now offer affordable monthly plans to an endless batch of accessible images. While content specialized for your brand may have a higher price tag, it allows your wall to be YOUR wall and not merely a collection of related stock images. 

Content creation for social media is one area that an agency could help with. As opposed to hiring an in-house content team, many brands choose to outsource their content creation for photo & video.

Social Media Marketing Summary

It may feel daunting to get started on social media marketing if you’ve never worked with it before. New platforms pop up every other day, and users have so much media in front of them that it may seem nearly impossible to be seen in front of your optimal audiences. However, there’s no need to worry -- once you are familiar with its terms, platforms, and industry practices, it won’t be long before you’re crushing social media marketing!

Our Top Social Media Marketing Tips

1. Strategy First and Foremost

Make sure you have a high-level strategy before you start social media marketing.

2. Don’t Overextend and Try to Use Every Platform.

It’s natural to want to have a presence on every platform, but for most brands, due to limited resources and budget, it’s almost impossible to have a strong presence on every platform. Choose 1 or 2 platforms and absolutely nail those ones. 

3. Determine What Success Looks Like

Make sure your team is all on the same page for what a successful social media strategy & marketing effort looks like for you and your team.

4. Use Measurable KPIs

Make your success quantifiable. Provide benchmarks that your team will be able to execute against and track process towards.

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