How Much Does Social Media Marketing Cost?


Published: February 8, 2021 Author: Jason Holicky - Hometown Design Studio Inc.
how much does social media marketing cost

Social media marketing is becoming an increasingly important part of every digital marketing strategy as more and more people stay connected online. Consider that the total number of social network users in the United States in 2020 topped 223 million—nearly two-thirds of the entire population—it’s easy to see why businesses need to get in the game. Of course, planning can be challenging if you don’t know how much social media marketing costs, so let’s break it down. 

Organic vs. Paid

Before getting into how much social media marketers charge, let’s have a quick refresher on the differences between organic and paid posts. Organic campaigns are those you post directly to your timelines, profiles, and stories with the hope that your existing audiences see them when scrolling through their feeds. The reach of organic posts can grow when your friends and followers like, share, or comment on your posts, potentially showing your content to their friends and followers.

Paid campaigns are those that require a fee to be paid to the social media network to have that content show up in the feeds of a targeted audience. That audience can include your friends and followers, but it is not limited to them. The most effective social media strategies make use of both paths to get the best results.

Organic Social Media

While organic posts do not come with an additional fee to the social media platform, they are not necessarily “free” to produce. When determining how much companies charge for social media marketing, there is also the time and expertise to create optimized, branded content for your feeds.

For example, a creative designer and copywriter are needed to create posts that look professional, will capture the attention of your audience, meet your branding needs, and find engagement. It’s also essential to understand how to optimize scheduling to get the best impact and review analytics to fine-tune your campaigns. Lastly, it’s important for your social media marketing to be integrated with the rest of your digital marketing strategies for a cohesive experience for all your current and potential customers.

Social Media Advertising

Social media advertising includes all of the same content creation costs as organic, plus the cost of the ads charged by the various platforms, along with added time for managing the paid campaigns. We’ll break down the costs by each platform as they all go about it slightly differently.

How Much Do Companies Charge for Social Media Marketing
  • Facebook. In general, Facebook ads are about $0.25 for every 1000 people who see the ad. There are also different campaign objectives that you can choose, which may increase the cost. Facebook is in the middle of the pack in terms of price, but the benefits are high as nearly everyone in the US has a Facebook profile, so it’s perfect for almost any audience.

  • Instagram. Ads on Instagram follow the same costs and structure as Facebook, but the audience and their expectations for content are quite different. Instagram contains primarily visual content, and its audience tends to be much younger. This makes Instagram ideal for B2C marketing and anything to do with entertainment, beauty, fashion, and “trendy” businesses.

  • LinkedIn. This reliable, business-based platform is one of the more expensive social media advertising options at about $6 per 1,000 impressions. However, the audience is perfect for B2B marketing as users tend to have their “work hats” on while browsing and are considering business decisions.

  • Twitter. This platform has the greatest variation in price depending on what your target is. At the low end, $0.50 per engagement for a promoted tweet is approachable for most advertisers.
  • To take advantage of promoted trends, which have the highest level of visibility, the cost could be considerably higher. Twitter also collects less data than other platforms, which makes targeting your ads more difficult.

  • YouTube. Because Google owns it, YouTube advertisers have the advantage of all the behavior data collected by Google, so ads can be very highly targeted. Its audience is also as widely varied as Google’s, so you’ll have access to various demographics.
  • On the low end, YouTube ads come in at around $20 per 1,000 views. Plus, you’ll want to have a video ad rather than still content, which brings the total cost of a YouTube ad to the top of the pack.

DIY vs. Agency

Whether you’re a one-person operation or a large organization, choosing whether to do your own social media marketing or hire a social media service to handle it for you comes down to three things. First, how much time do you or your staff have to dedicate to marketing activities? Second, how much is available in your budget? And, third, what results are you looking for?

In general, if you have a lot of time to learn the basics and optimize your campaign and only need to build a bit of momentum, you can probably handle it yourself. If you need a high level of results or don’t have several extra hours per week, leave it to the pros. Then, your budget will determine how much advertising you can afford and which platforms will get you the best results.

How to Do Social Media Marketing Yourself

If you’re jumping into social media marketing on your own, remember the golden rules. First, always stay on-brand to ensure your audiences recognize who you are and that your content conjures the right emotional responses.

Second, less is more. Pounding people with promotional posts focused on your sales is annoying, exhausting, and a great way to lose followers. Instead, aim for a ratio of about 20 percent promotions and 80 percent informative or entertaining content.

Cost of Social Media Marketing

Then, be sure to post to your social media accounts on a regular basis without any long gaps between posts. This helps your audience stay engaged with your brand. It’s also important to interact with your friends and followers by replying to their comments, responding to criticism and reviews, and liking or sharing the content that they post, too.

If you choose to wade into the waters of paid advertising, start very, very small. A few dollars a day can help you learn the ins and outs of the advertising platforms without the risk of blowing your budget. You may not get huge returns on your investment, but you’ll be able to scale up once you know the ropes.

Social Media Marketing Packages Cost

When choosing a social media consultant, you’ll find it’s common for the cost of social media marketing to come in packages. The differences in pricing for social media management packages are due to differences in service levels, the number of ads and organic posts, the amount of integration with your other strategies, and the results you want to achieve from your campaigns.

For example, small businesses or startups with a small budget will benefit from a lower-cost package designed to get the ball rolling and probably don’t need hundreds of pieces of content created, optimized, and distributed every month. On the other hand, a well-established company in a very competitive niche may be willing to invest a considerable portion of its marketing budget into social media if the results will gain an edge on the competition and acquire many new customers.

The Bottom Line

Whether you do your own or hire a social media management service, the bottom line is that the biggest mistake you could make is to skip it altogether. Take the time to evaluate your options and invest in developing a social media strategy so you can connect with potential clients, stay in touch with loyal customers, and improve customer service.

Our social media marketing strategies have delivered proven results for our customers. To learn about how we have grown audiences, increased sales, and boosted brand awareness for our clients—or to get started on a strategy for you to see these results—contact us today.

About the Author

Creative Director Jason co-founded Hometown Design Studio of New Lenox, IL in 2013. He spends his days guiding and consulting industrial clients and small businesses owners on their marketing strategy and projects. Jason enables everyone to be successful and grow their business by sharing his knowledge and experience.
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