The True Cost of Social Media Marketing for Your Small Business

Understanding the Investment and Returns of Social Media Marketing

what is the cost of social media marketing?

Social media has become an indispensable tool for businesses of all sizes. It’s a platform where brands can engage directly with their customers, build brand awareness, and even drive sales. But what does it cost to market a business on social media? This question is particularly important for small businesses and startups, which often operate on tight budgets.

The Cost of Social Media Marketing

The cost of social media marketing can vary widely, depending on several factors. These include the size of the business, the industry sector, the specific business goals, and the types of social media advertising used. On average, organizations spend between $200 and $350 per day on social media marketing. This works out to between $6,000 and $10,500 per month or between $72,000 and $126,000 per year.

However, for small businesses, these numbers might seem daunting. But it’s important to remember that social media marketing is an investment. When done right, it can yield significant returns in terms of increased brand visibility, customer engagement, and sales.

Social Media Marketing Costs for Small Businesses

For small businesses, the cost of social media marketing can be more manageable. The Small Business Administration recommends allocating between 7-8 percent of gross revenue to marketing. If your business brings in less than $5 million per year in sales, this would equate to a marketing budget of between $350,000 and $400,000.

Of this marketing budget, companies allocate, on average, about 13 percent to social media marketing. This means that a small business with a $350,000 marketing budget would allocate about $45,500 to social media marketing.

Social Media Marketing Monthly Cost

When it comes to the monthly cost of social media marketing, businesses have several options. For instance, Social Marketer, a social media management agency, offers packages ranging from $49 per month for a DIY plan to $699 per month for a comprehensive growth plan. These packages include a variety of services, such as post scheduling, custom graphics, and monthly reporting.

The Cost of Not Outsourcing Social Media Marketing

While it might be tempting to handle social media marketing in-house to save on costs, it’s important to consider the potential downsides. Managing social media effectively requires a significant time investment. It involves not just posting content, but also monitoring engagement, responding to comments, and analyzing performance data.

By outsourcing social media marketing, businesses can free up valuable time that can be better spent on other aspects of running the business. Additionally, professional social media marketers have the expertise to optimize campaigns and maximize returns on investment.

Making the Investment Work for Your Business

Investing in social media marketing is not just about spending money. It’s about making strategic decisions that will help your business grow. Here are some tips to get the most out of your social media marketing investment:

  1. Choose the right platforms: Not all social media platforms are created equal. The best platform for your business will depend on your target audience and the type of content you plan to share. Research where your target audience spends their time online and focus your efforts there.
  2. Create quality content: Quality content is key to engaging your audience and building a strong brand presence. Invest in high-quality images, engaging copy, and compelling calls to action.
  3. Engage with your audience: Social media is not a one-way street. Engage with your audience by responding to comments, asking for feedback, and creating interactive content like polls and quizzes.
  4. Measure your results: Use analytics tools to track the performance of your social media campaigns. This will help you understand what’s working, what’s not, and where you can make improvements.

As industry expert Andrew Davis once said, “Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.” This quote encapsulates the power of social media marketing. By investing in quality content and engaging with your audience, you can build trust and drive revenue for your business.

A Tale of Transformation

Let’s take a look at an example of a small HVAC and air conditioning company. The company was struggling with low visibility and engagement on their social media platforms. They initially hired a social media manager for $2000 a month to manage their social media presence. However, the high cost was a strain on their budget, and the results were not as expected.

The company then decided to switch to an outsourced social media management service, specifically the Pro Plan from Social Marketer, which costs $429 per month. The results were transformative. Their social media engagement increased, their customer base grew, and they saw a significant increase in service calls originating from their social media platforms. By making this switch, the company saved over $1500 per month, proving that a strategic investment in social media marketing can yield substantial returns.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How much should I budget for social media marketing? The amount you should budget for social media marketing depends on several factors, including the size of your business and your specific goals. However, a general rule of thumb is to allocate about 7-8% of your gross revenue to marketing, and about 13% of that marketing budget to social media marketing.
  2. How can I reduce my social media marketing costs? There are several ways to reduce your social media marketing costs. One effective strategy is to outsource your social media management to a professional service like Social Marketer. This can be more cost-effective than hiring a full-time social media manager. Additionally, using analytics to track the performance of your campaigns can help you identify areas where you can optimize your spend.
  3. Is it cheaper to do social media marketing in-house or to outsource it? The cost comparison between in-house and outsourced social media marketing can vary depending on the specifics of your business. However, outsourcing can often be more cost-effective, especially for small businesses. Outsourcing eliminates the need for a full-time salary and benefits for a social media manager, and professional services often have the expertise to optimize campaigns for better results.
  4. How much does it cost to advertise on social media platforms? The cost to advertise on social media platforms can vary widely depending on the platform and the specifics of the campaign. However, many platforms offer flexible pricing options that can fit a variety of budgets. For example, Facebook’s ad platform allows you to set a daily or lifetime budget for your campaign, and you only pay when someone engages with your ad.
  5. Can I measure the ROI of my social media marketing efforts? Yes, measuring the ROI of your social media marketing efforts is not only possible but crucial. Most social media platforms provide analytics tools that allow you to track the performance of your campaigns. These tools can provide insights into metrics like engagement, reach, and conversions, which can help you calculate your ROI.

Tips for Maximizing Social Media ROI

  1. Leverage Analytics: Use the analytics tools provided by social media platforms to track the performance of your campaigns. This can help you identify what’s working and what’s not, allowing you to optimize your campaigns for better results.
  2. Target Your Ads: Most social media platforms allow you to target your ads to specific demographics. By targeting your ads to the people most likely to be interested in your products or services, you can increase your conversion rate and get more bang for your buck.
  3. Engage with Your Audience: Engagement is key to social media marketing. Respond to comments, ask for feedback, and create interactive content. This can help build relationships with your audience, which can lead to increased brand loyalty and higher sales.
  4. Consistent Posting: Regularly posting content keeps your brand at the top of your audience’s mind and feeds. Create a content calendar to ensure consistent posting and to plan for special events or holidays.
  5. Use of Hashtags: Hashtags can significantly increase the visibility of your posts. Research and use relevant hashtags that your target audience is likely to follow.
  6. User-Generated Content: Encourage your followers to create content related to your brand. This not only engages your audience but also provides you with free promotional material.
  7. Collaborate with Influencers: Partnering with influencers who have a substantial following in your industry can help you reach a larger audience. Choose influencers whose values align with your brand.
  8. Optimize for Mobile: Most social media usage is on mobile devices. Ensure your content, especially images and videos, are optimized for mobile viewing.
  9. Promote User Engagement: Instead of just posting content, ask questions, run polls or contests, or otherwise encourage your followers to interact with your posts. This can increase visibility and foster a sense of community.
  10. Monitor Competitors: Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing on social media. You can learn from their successes and failures and find ways to differentiate your brand.

Staying Up-to-Date: Social Media Trends in 2023

Staying up-to-date with these trends can be a costly challenge for small businesses, which is where a professional social media management service like Social Marketer can be invaluable. The team at Social Marketer are experts in social media marketing and can help small businesses navigate these trends and use them to their advantage:

  1. Edutainment Content: This trend involves creating content that is both educational and entertaining. It’s a great way to engage your audience and provide them with valuable information in a fun and engaging way. Small businesses can leverage this trend by creating content that educates their audience about their products or services in an entertaining way.
  2. Investment in Video Production: Video content continues to dominate social media, and businesses are investing more in video production. Small businesses can take advantage of this trend by creating high-quality video content that showcases their products or services.
  3. Emergence of New Social Media Platforms: New social media platforms are constantly emerging, and businesses are experimenting with these platforms to reach new audiences. Small businesses should keep an eye on these emerging platforms and consider whether they could be a good fit for their target audience.
  4. Growth of the Creator Economy: The creator economy is blossoming, with more and more people turning to social media to share their creative content and build their own personal brands. Small businesses can tap into this trend by collaborating with creators who align with their brand values and have a following that matches their target audience.
  5. Focus on Authenticity: Authenticity is becoming increasingly important in social media marketing. Consumers are looking for brands that are genuine and transparent. Small businesses can leverage this trend by being authentic in their social media marketing, sharing their story, and connecting with their audience on a personal level.

Social media marketing is a powerful tool for small businesses. While it does require an investment, the potential returns in terms of brand visibility, customer engagement, and sales make it a worthwhile expenditure. By understanding the costs involved and making strategic decisions, small businesses can maximize their social media marketing investment and drive business growth.

About the Author:
Brent Purves is a social media consultant and the director of Social Marketer, a leading provider of white label social media management services. With over 20 years of experience in the digital marketing industry, Brent has a passion for helping startups and agencies grow and thrive with the help of expert social media management.