How Much Can Social Media Marketing Cost?

It depends. For more insight on potential social media marketing cost, you may want to consider your strategy and the going rate of available tools.
January 17, 2018

A lot of companies are comparing the social media marketing cost of promoting and advertising their message on tools like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter against using traditional search engine products like Google Adwords or Yahoo! Gemini. This is because social media marketing can allow for narrower targeting of prospects than general pay-per-click advertising.

For example, while search engine marketing typically focuses on the questions people want answered, social media marketing targets the content they have engaged with in the past. Also social media users may be less likely to buy right away, but may be more likely to share an emotional response and spread awareness with other influencers.

But before you dive into your first campaign, you may want to consider how much social media marketing can set your company back. Read on to get a sense of how much it typically costs to market on social media, and what strategies can help you be more effective when using this strategy.

1. Identify the source of traffic.

Google Analytics or any website analytics tool will tell you which social media sites currently refer the most traffic to your company's website. This is usually broken down by the platform and which pages visitors most frequently view. By figuring this out, you can determine which platform to focus on and get a sense of social media marketing cost.

Cost: Typically free

2. Research the audience.

Find out the demographics of the company's current social media following. There are free tools on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter that delve deeper into who these people are, which can help refine a company's social media marketing.

Cost: Typically free

3. Use visuals.

Posting with higher quality images typically generates a larger response rate on Facebook, Twitter, and of course Instagram.

Try focusing on where your company has the most engagement and perfecting it for three to six months before moving on to the next platform.

It's inexpensive to create these using tools like PromoRepublicPablo or Canva. Short videos can also be produced using Animoto or iMovie.

Cost: Free for basic use, but some tools range from $22 to $50 a month for professional and enterprise uses.

4. Explore paid advertising.

You can start with the minimum of $1 a day for a week on the social media tool that brings your company the most traffic, or the one with the biggest following. 

When considering social media marketing cost, decide the purpose of the campaign. Is it to identify new potential customers to interact with your content or is it to drive traffic to landing pages and obtain immediate leads for a product or service?

The answer will determine if the budget should be directed toward getting impressions (which are less expensive) or click-through advertising to another page.

Cost: You can start with the minimum daily budget of $1 to $40 (depending on the type of ad) on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

5. Schedule posts.

One of the biggest problems businesses face is that they don't set aside the time to manage their posts on social media.

Consider using tools like BufferMeet Edgar or Viraltag to help build a library of content across all the social media tools and schedule their posting.

Cost: Free for basic use; these services' fees range from $24 to $399 for individual and enterprise uses.

6. Use sharing buttons.

Companies can encourage visitors to promote the content on their website via social media by using share buttons from companies like SumoGetSocial or ShareThis.

Cost: Free for basic use; $29 to $199 for business use

7. Analyze the results often. 

As with most business projects, it's important to identify the results of various strategies and where the social media marketing cost to acquire a new prospect was worthwhile. Posts can appear quickly, and results can also be immediate.

All advertising platforms will have metrics. Most of them also give general insights and analytics for all posts. To discover how a company's non-paid, content-rich posts are shared, tools like BuzzSumo and Buffer can show the most popular ones to guide future content marketing decisions.

Cost: Free for basic use; $79 to $499+ a month for enterprise use

8. Keep monitoring. 

With search engine marketing, once it is working, the company results usually continue to appear until search algorithms change.

With social media marketing, actions are short lived, so advertising requires ongoing action. Therefore, they need to be monitored constantly for any strategy updates based on results.

Cost: Dependent on which analytics tool you use to manage your social media.

9. Know when to bring in the expert.

There is increased risk in executing any type of online advertising without help. These marketing strategies can be complicated, and can easily drive up a company's social media marketing cost in a short period of time (and with little successful results) if you don't know what you're doing.

You can try it for yourself for a month or two to understand more about how these advertising systems work, but I recommend eventually finding an expert to work with.

Cost: These resources can cost $200 a month and up, according to Upwork.

10. Focus.

I advise against trying to be effective at social media marketing on multiple platforms at the start. It can become too much to manage and may dilute your focus and effectiveness.

Try focusing on where your company has the most engagement and perfecting it for three to six months before moving on to the next platform. Think about limiting the strategy to a few tactics to be successful before implementing any more. Focusing on a few areas over a sustained period of time and learning what works can help your company have long-term success with social media marketing.

Cost: None—just your time.

Read more articles on managing money.

Photo: Getty Images