Social media marketing is something that many businesses and brands put a hefty amount of their budget into.
This is because, in today’s digital age, social media marketing can really make or break a brand.
While it can certainly propel your brand to new heights, if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can also lead you to financial ruin.
In this post, we will discuss how much money you should spend on social media marketing for your brand.
We’ll discuss the factors that affect social media marketing costs and also provide tips to avoid pitfalls that many new marketers face.
So without further ado, let’s get started.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is a digital marketing strategy that utilizes different social media platforms to promote the products and/or services of a brand.
It’s a tool that can be used not only to improve conversions but also to increase brand awareness and improve customer relations.
Digital marketing has quickly replaced traditional marketing methods as the primary avenue that most brand owners use to promote their business. Within digital marketing, social media marketing is one of the fields that are always near the top of the priority list for business owners.
A poll by Statista highlighted the benefits of social media marketing by polling over 4000 marketers worldwide.
Here are some of the findings from the survey:
As you can tell by the graph, social media marketing can provide a ton of benefits to your brand in terms of:
- Brand awareness
- Lead generation
- Increased traffic
- Increased conversion rates
- Customer relationship maintenance and growth
Almost everyone is on some type of social media platform at the moment and the benefits are laid out in front of you. When you consider all of this, we’re sure you’ll agree that if you don’t have a social media marketing strategy, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.
Check out our complete step-by-step guide to start your own social media marketing agency HERE.
Factors That Affect Social Media Marketing Costs
As we’ve mentioned earlier, social media marketing is much cheaper than traditional forms of marketing. That being said, there still are some costs and fees that you have to pay in order to execute your social media marketing strategy effectively.
In this section, we’ll discuss the different factors that determine how much money you’ll have to put out in order to effectively run social media advertising for your brand.
Let’s take a deep dive into these different factors:
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1. The Number of Social Media Platforms You Use
This is fairly obvious but the more social media platforms you have for your brand, the higher your costs will be.
This isn’t necessarily always the case as most brands tend to have profiles on several different social media platforms. However, they only choose to focus on a single or a couple of social media platforms at most.
For example, a brand may have social media pages on seven different social media platforms.
However, it would only actively run social media advertising campaigns on two social media platforms.
They would use those social media platforms to grow their audience and redirect them to their other social media pages as well as their brand website.
This is the approach that we recommend that you take as well if you’re a business owner that’s just starting out with their brand. At the start, you most likely will not have a large budget to work with.
In this case, we recommend that you identify the social media platform that is most frequented by your target audience. Once you’ve identified that platform, you should solely focus on that for at least a few months or even a year.
Once you develop a loyal customer base and a reliable community on that one platform, you can begin to focus on other social media platforms.
This is how you can incrementally build your customer base on several different platforms gradually but surely.
How much do costs differ when you have multiple social media platforms as opposed to just one?
Well, this will depend on whether you use a separate social media marketing agency to handle your social media or if you have an in-house social media marketer.
If it’s the former, then you’ll most likely have to pay extra every time you want the agency to handle an additional social media page.
For example, if you have a Snapchat that’s doing really well and now you want to branch out into Facebook, the agency will charge you extra for it.
This is because they’ll most likely have to bring in a separate expert that specializes in Facebook advertising.
Even if the same person does the advertising, that one person would have to devote more time and effort to your project. Hence, even in that case, your fees would increase.
If it’s the latter, then it depends on what tools your in-house marketer will need to branch out into another social media platform.
For example, if you’ve already conquered Snapchat and want to branch out into Facebook, your in-house marketer might need a budget to run paid ads.
If your in-house marketer uses any social media management tools or marketing automation tools, their costs might increase as well.
An example of this would be a social media management tool such as Sprout Social. Sprout Social allows you to manage five different social media accounts at a cost of $89 per month.
However, if you want more than 5 social media accounts, then the cost would increase to $150 per month.
2. The Frequency of Content Published
Next up is the number of posts you want to have published within a certain timeframe. The timeframe used to measure the frequency of your posts is typically one month.
Let’s assume that you’re part of a brand that publishes 5 posts per month. This frequency provides you with a steady increase in the number of followers and a reliable but average engagement rate.
You want to increase the engagement rate and want people to follow your brand at a higher rate. For this, you can consider increasing the number of posts that are published within a single month.
Let’s say that you choose to increase the number of posts from 5 per month to 10 per month.
If you work with a social media marketing agency, this will definitely cost you a lot more. It makes sense because the agency would have to put in a lot more time and resources to make this possible.
Not only would they have to create more content for the posts but they’d also have to upload, schedule, and manage them as well.
Remember that the job is not done once the post is published. The agency also typically handles customer service and replies to the people that comment on the posts as well.
Since your brand will have a lot more posts, that means more people will comment on those posts as well. This means more tasks for the agency as they’ll have to interact and answer any queries that commenters might have.
Hence, you may see a hefty increase in the fees charged by your social media marketing agency.
On the other hand, if you have in-house content creation and social media management team, then this can be easier.
There’s a chance your costs may increase because your employees may ask for more compensation or a raise. Of course, it’s justified since they have to do considerably more work compared to before.
In terms of marketing automation tools and social media management tools, you won’t see too much of an increase. This is because most of these tools do not increase their prices based on the number of posts you make on social media.
You may also see an increase in social media advertising costs. Of course, if you have more posts, you’ll have to spend more money to promote all of them.
Hence, if you’d like to have them sponsored and shown to a specific audience segment, that’ll cost you extra since there are more posts.
There are multiple strategies you can implement to succeed in your business, check them out HERE.
3. Competitor Analysis Costs
Competitor analysis is something that many business owners tend to under-value. It’s something that can really give you an edge over your competitors and in today’s competitive digital age, that is exactly what you need.
In all of our social media marketing guideposts, we’ve highlighted the importance of competitor research.
Not only can it help you get good ideas for your brand since you can adapt some of their good practices, but it can also be a way to capitalize on their flaws.
Let’s say that you conduct competitor research and you find a flaw in the way a competitor markets their product. You feel that you can do exactly what they’re doing in a much more effective way.
You can adapt this to your social media strategy and before you know it, you’ll have an edge over your competitors.
What should I do if I’m stuck?
Other than that, if you feel stuck or don’t understand how you can run a social media page for your target audience, your competitors can give you ideas.
When you simply study a competitor, you can get an idea of what type of verbiage clicks best with the target audience, how posts should be made, and when they should be published.
These are all great ideas that you can pick up on when you study your competitors.
Another great advantage of competitor analysis is the fact that it helps you avoid being mistaken for one of your competitors. You want your brand name and visual identity to be completely unique and recognizable.
You don’t want your brand to be confused with some other brand as this can have many major disadvantages.
First of all, people may get confused and accidentally buy from one of your competitors rather than your brand. Sometimes, this can happen when a customer is influenced by one of your campaigns. However, they get confused and buy from the wrong brand.
Another issue that can happen is if you have a visual identity that’s similar to another brand and that brand gets tied up in some scandal or controversy. Your brand might not have anything to do with it but you may end up taking some of the backlashes.
To avoid issues like these, you have to be hyper-aware of the competitors within your niche and ensure that you stand out from all of them. To get an idea of what your competitors’ branding looks like, of course, you can conduct competitor analysis.
This can help you build a unique visual identity for your brand so that it’s never confused with something else.
So, how much would competitor analysis cost?
Well, if you hire a social media marketing agency, most of them provide competitor analysis as a part of their standard package. However, some of them don’t and others have budget packages that don’t include competitor analysis.
If the package you obtain from your social media marketing agency does not include competitor analysis, then you can ask for it separately. Of course, this will cost you extra.
Most social media marketing agencies take between $500 to $1500 for competitor research and analysis.
The cost depends on a number of factors such as the niche and the industry. If the market for that niche is highly saturated with a ton of competitors, it will cost more.
On the other hand, if your niche does not have a lot of competition, there won’t be a lot of competitors to analyze. Hence, in that case, the cost will be a lot lower.
Learn how to do social media marketing successfully HERE.
4. The Frequency of Contests And Giveaways
Contests, giveaways, and sweepstakes on social media pages can be a great way to drive traffic and boost engagement. Not only that but they can be a great way to gather customer information as well.
For example, many brands require customers to provide their email or their phone number for giveaways. This can be a great way to build up an email list that you can use for future email marketing campaigns.
Some brands just straight up require people to sign up for their weekly newsletter in order to participate in the giveaway.
Hence, you can have many different requirements for giveaways that can help your brand boost engagement and drive traffic to your brand website.
Also, according to Outgrow, giveaways boost conversion rates by up to 34% as well.
Hence, it’s almost always a good idea to have giveaways or contests as they can often result in an increase in engagement and conversion rates. Plus, audiences are much more willing to provide their contact details if they stand to win a prize.
Furthermore, a contest can also be a great way to collaborate with another brand that shares the same target audience as you. You can use this to introduce your brand to the collaborator’s audience.
Will the target audience be interested in your products and services?
Since both you and your collaborator are in the same niche, your target audiences will most likely overlap as well. Hence, their target audience will most likely be interested in the products and services you have to offer as well.
In addition to brands, you can also use contests to collaborate with influencers as well. Influencer marketing can be a very effective way to grow your audience and increase brand recognition.
We’ve talked extensively at this point about how contests and giveaways can be beneficial for your brand. However, you can’t have them all the time since they do cost a fair amount of money.
If you work with a social media agency, then a giveaway or contest is treated similarly to a full-fledged social media marketing campaign. Hence, it can be priced quite high depending on what’s involved.
If the niche is something that’s highly saturated, your giveaway will need quite a bit of post and publicity to actually become worth it. After all, you want a decent amount of people to participate in the giveaway.
The social media marketing cost for giveaways by social media marketing agencies can range anywhere between $1000 to $10000. Again, the exact price will depend on the scale of the giveaway and how much effort and resources are required.
If you don’t want to pay that much to social media advertising services and want to run a contest on your own, that’s possible as well. However, to conduct contests on your own, you will need the help of some type of social media management tool.
That tool needs to have contest management features that can help you run and keep track of giveaways and sweepstakes. Some examples of such tools include:
These tools cost between $20 per month and $600 per month based on the subscription package that you have.
Obviously, running a contest on your own is far cheaper than hiring a social media management agency to run it. However, you also have to consider that running such a contest is not easy.
It takes a lot of time, effort, and resources on your part. If you have a small social media management team, they’ll be solely focused on this project for as long as it runs.
This can often result in engagement on your other social media platforms to fall (if applicable) since they are not being maintained. That, or at least, they don’t receive the same level of attention that they used to.
Hence, before you consider running a contest, make sure that you have the budget and the resources to run it effectively.
The great thing about contests, however, is the fact that the return on investment (ROI) is typically very high.
Hence, while you will spend a lot on it, the return you’ll see will most likely be worth it as well.
5. The Frequency of Promoted Posts
Promoted posts are posts that can be “boosted” for a fee. Most social media platforms have the option to promote posts by paying a certain amount of money for them.
What this does for you is that it allows your social media post to be displayed to a specific audience. As you can probably tell, this can be extremely powerful if you conduct the right research and know what you’re doing.
When you first develop your social media marketing plan, you define your target audience and also build ideal buyer personas.
All of this provides you with an idea of who the ideal customer for your brand is. What gender they are, what age group they belong to, what their income level is like; All of these details are defined.
Once you have all of them defined, you pretty much know the audience segment that you want to target with your ads. You want to do this because they are the target demographic that will most likely convert when they see your social media post.
Hence, since you know what their typical hobbies and interests are, this can allow you to make highly personalized posts that really resonate with them. Then, you can use social media platforms to promote your post and display it to them.
Naturally, this will often result in a great increase in conversion rates.
If you work with a social media agency, you’ll most likely have to pay extra in order for them to boost your posts regularly. The fee that you’ll be charged will usually depend on the level of ad spend.
The ad spend is the money that the agency would have to spend in order to promote your posts. Most agencies take all of the ads spent as well as a certain percentage of the return on investment (ROI) as part of their fee.
Naturally, if you want to boost several posts on many different social media platforms, this will cost you extra. You’ll be charged for each platform separately.
Of course, you don’t have to have a social media agency handle this task if you don’t want to. It can definitely be done in-house by your own social media marketing team.
However, if you are just starting out or if you have a very small team of social media marketers, this can be quite difficult. Not only do you have to monitor your ads and maintain them, but you also have to create content for the posts themselves.
Additionally, you also have to interact and deal with all the customers that interact with the posts. For a small team, this can definitely get overwhelming quite fast.
Hence, if you have the experience and feel that your team can handle it, you can go for in-house promoted post-management. However, if you don’t feel confident, it’s better to hand it off to a social media agency.
If you don’t feel confident and also don’t have the social media marketing budget for something like that, then we recommend you hold off on it for now.
Use other methods to promote your brand and generate sizable revenue.
You can go for promoted posts in the future when you are able to.
6. Social Media Audits
A social media audit is a technique in which a social media expert analyzes the entirety of your account to identify flaws and opportunities. They can help you identify things that could be done better or implementations that can be done to improve performance.
A social media audit can help you:
- Collect useful information for all of your different social media accounts
- Analyze the performance of each individual post
- Analyze metrics and insights to identify whether you’re hitting your performance goals
- Check if the best SEO practices are being followed throughout your social media or not
- Check the relevancy of each social media account in the context of your brand’s position within its niche
- Generate reports that you can come back to later to measure differences in performance
A social media audit can take anywhere between 30 minutes to many days. It depends on several factors such as:
- The level of expertise of the auditor
- The number of social media accounts
- The industry niche of your brand
- The scope of each social media account (How many posts it has, how many of them are promoted and how many are not, the number of direct and affiliate links and direct links associated with the social media accounts, etc.)
It’s a good idea to perform a social media audit before you conduct a social media campaign. This gives you great metrics that you can come back to and analyze in order to get an idea of how successful the campaign was.
Most social media agencies will ask to run a social media audit on your channels when you first hire them.
Agencies can charge anywhere between $100 to $5000 for social media audits. Again, this will depend on a number of factors such as the industry niche, the number of social media accounts, and the scope of those social media accounts.
If you don’t have the social media marketing budget to hire an agency to do a social media audit, you can definitely do it yourself. However, if you don’t have the expertise for it, you may miss out on a few key insights.
We recommend that you do your research and try to learn how to perform effective auditing if you want to do it yourself. Just do the best you can until you can have a social media marketing budget large enough to hire an expert to run audits regularly.
You can use different third-party social media management tools to keep track of analytics. You can use these analytics within your social media audits to keep track of progress and performance.
If you use Pixelfy to shorten links that you add to your social media posts, you can access analytics to those shortened links via the dashboard page.
To go to the Pixelfy dashboard page, all you have to do is go to the website and log into your account.
7. Social Media Strategy Development and Execution
Of course, you need a full-fledged and extensive social media strategy if you hope to actually make a dent within your market. If you go into social media marketing without a plan, it’s more than likely that you will fail.
To develop a social media strategy, you’ll have to either do this yourself with your team or you can choose to hire social media marketing services for it.
A social media marketing agency doesn’t necessarily have to handle all aspects of your social media.
For example, an agency can just make content for the posts while you can conduct insight and data analysis. Then, based on that analysis, you can provide suggestions to the agency.
A setup like that can often cost less as opposed to letting the social media agency handle every facet of your social media presence.
That being said, if you have the social media marketing budget for it, we recommend that you hire social media experts to handle everything from the start. They will lay out a great foundation that will serve your brand for years to come.
They’ll also help you develop and execute social media strategies based on the performance of previous strategies conducted on your channels.
A social media expert can do the following tasks for your brand:
- Perform industry and competitor research
- Conduct social media audits
- Compose content plans and schedules for your social media posts based on social media audits, industry research, and competitor analysis
- Create content for those social media posts
- Upload and schedule those social media posts according to the content plan
- Keep a track of mentions of your brand by others in order to monitor audience sentiment
- Promote social media posts and keep a track of ad spend and performance
- Analyze social media data to make better decisions for future social media campaigns
Naturally, this can be done by an in-house social media marketer on your marketing team as well. You could have a person in your team that has all these responsibilities.
Just ensure that they know what they’re doing. An inexperienced marketer can definitely run your company to the ground if social media marketing is handled incorrectly.
On the other hand, how much do social media agencies charge for full-fledged social media strategy development and execution?
Well, again, this will depend on a number of factors such as the industry niche and the scale of the campaigns you want to run.
Some of the factors that will influence how much you’ll be charged include:
- The number of social media posts per month
- The number of social media posts that’ll be promoted each month
- The frequency of customized and personalized content for your social media posts (photos, videos, live streams, etc.)
- Brand sentiment analysis
- Regular monitoring and reporting of social media analytics
- The number of contests and giveaways every year
- The number of brand collaborators you want to have for your social media campaigns
- The number of influencer collaborators you want to have for your social media campaigns
Most social media agencies can charge you anywhere between $1000 to $10000 to fully handle your social media accounts and growth.
8. Social Media Optimization
Lastly, this is an option that you may have to explore if you already have a social media strategy but it’s not working as well as you expected it to.
In this case, usually, the problem is that you and the people on your team have a decent idea of what works. However, none of you have a firm grip on social media marketing and your efforts are just falling short of the mark.
Most likely, you’ll have to hire an expert for this since this usually occurs when you and your team have already tried everything that you can.
In such a case, you have to go for social media optimization from either a social media marketing agency or just a single social media marketing expert.
When you hire someone for social media optimization, they’ll typically do the following tasks for you
- Analyze your social media posts and management and identify any flaws in your approach
- Perform competitor analysis to find flaws that could be exploited
- Conduct audience research to identify pain points that you may not have highlighted within your social media content
- Analyze how your content highlights the target audience’s needs
- Analyze your marketing campaigns and strategies to identify anything that could be improved
- Conduct SEO analysis to ensure all the best SEO practices are being followed
In the end, they will provide you with a revised social media strategy along with a detailed plan you can implement for increased growth.
Now, it’s your choice whether you want to implement the growth plan yourself with your team or if you want the agency or the expert to execute it.
If you choose the latter, this can typically cost you anywhere between $500 per month to $3000 per month.
Again, the exact price will depend on a number of factors such as your industry niche and the number of aspects that need to be changed according to the growth plan.
How Much Does Social Media Marketing Cost – Conclusion
The social media advertising cost for any company can vary heavily depending on the scale of the brand and the industry niche it’s in.
However, in all cases, we recommend that you have your social media marketing budget in mind. We recommend that as a small brand that’s just starting out, you should limit yourself only to a single or a couple of social media platforms.
Once you start to gain traction on those platforms and begin to develop a loyal audience, you can begin to branch onto other social media channels.
If you have any confusion or any questions you’d like to ask us, please feel free to reach out in the comments section below.
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