Written by Dan Barraclough Reviewed by Robyn Summers-Emler Updated on November 16, 2022 On this page What is social media marketing? What are the benefits? What are the drawbacks? How does social media marketing work? Are paid social ads worth it? Next steps Expand Social media marketing is one of the most effective ways to grow your business, helping you boost sales, build your brand, and increase website traffic. If you want to beat your competition, you can’t afford to go without it. So, what does it involve?Social media marketing is communicating with your audience via social media platforms. This can involve posting exciting content, engaging with followers, and running paid social media ads – all of which we’ll explain in this article.Short on time? No problem. Cut to the chase and compare trusted social media marketing agencies with our free comparison tool. Simply answer a few questions, and we’ll match you with the most suitable experts who’ll offer free, no-obligation quotes.Alternatively, keep on reading to learn why your business should be using social media marketing. What is Social Media Marketing?Social media marketing is using social media channels to build your brand, increase sales, and drive website traffic, leveraging popular platforms to achieve your marketing and branding goals.The most popular social media platforms are:FacebookInstagramYouTubeTikTokTwitterLinkedInSnapchatHowever, to get results, you need to do more than just create profiles on these platforms and post any old content. For starters, you need to create a social media marketing strategy, with measurable goals. You also need to track your progress to help you deliver even better results in your next campaign. Don't worry, it's much easier and cheaper than you expect.Further down the page, we'll explain what's usually involved with social media strategies. Want to grow your business via social media marketing? Professional support might be more affordable than you think. Get free quotes from recommended agencies today Get Free Quotes What are the Benefits of Social Media Marketing?Social media is more popular than ever. With that, social media marketing is now one of the most effective ways to grow your business. Below are its biggest benefits…Generate Leads and Boost SalesWith 3.96 billion users, social media is an invaluable resource for leads, customers, and sales. With social media marketing, you're exposing your business to leads who may not have found your business outside the social media sphere. As well as posting content and running paid ads, you can also generate leads directly on social media platforms using features such as Facebook shops, direct messaging, and call-to-action buttons on your profiles.Drive Traffic to Your WebsiteSocial media is one of the best channels for directing traffic to your website, where you convert visitors into customers or clients. This is done by including links to your website on your social media profiles, blogs, and adverts, which will redirect social media users to your website or online store.Increase Brand AwarenessSocial media marketing is ideal for building your brand image. Whether via LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook, you can explain to huge audiences what your business sells, does, and stands for. Meanwhile, with visually-led platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, you can convey your brand identity more effectively than you could with blogging or email marketing. In fact, over 70% of people who have a positive experience with a business on social media will recommend that business to others.Build Relationships and Gain InsightsSocial media is great for, well, getting social. These platforms are designed to bring people together, and from a business standpoint, they bring you closer to your audiences. For example, you can chat directly with customers and reply to comments in real time, helping you gather feedback, hold discussions about your brand, and connect with individuals.TikTok is one of the most exciting new platforms, offering many growth opportunities Find a social media marketing agency to help grow your business The easiest way to get started is by getting free quotes Get Free Quotes What are the Drawbacks of Social Media Marketing?Even though social media marketing is one of the best ways to grow your business, it's not perfect. In truth, nothing is. But despite the wealth of benefits, there are some drawbacks:Risk of Negative FeedbackYou could have the best product or service on the market, but there's always the risk of negative customer experiences. That unhappy social media user can make their feelings visible to others online, which could potentially damage your brand image.Can be Time-consumingPosting regularly can be time-consuming, especially if you have other tasks to think about. That's why it's a good idea to hire a social media specialist or use a social media marketing agency to handle everything for you while you focus on other areas of your business.Paid Ad Mistakes Can be CostlyPaid ads allow you to advertise your company to specific, targeted audiences. However, if you make a mistake or target the wrong audience, you risk wasting your entire budget and getting zero returns. How Does Social Media Marketing Work?Social media strategies will be different for every business, depending on the target market and brand goals. That said, every strategy will normally involve these principles…Competitor ResearchThrough competitor analysis, you can see what your rival brands have done well, or not so well, which should give you a better understanding of what works in your target market.Know Your AudienceFor your content to get likes, shares, and comments, you need to know everything about your target audience. What platforms do they use? When do they use them? Do they prefer live videos or blog posts? You should also learn their age and interests, which can be done by creating profiles of your ideal customer.It's no good creating a Snapchat or TikTok campaign, which would be ideal for 18 to 25-year-old users, if your target audience is 35 to 50-year-old business owners. The older demographic is likely to be active only on LinkedIn or Facebook.Build Your Brand IdentityUnderstanding your own identity will guide the message you communicate to your audience. How do you want social media users to feel when seeing, watching, or sharing your content? The social media approach for a law firm might be a bit different to that of a pizza restaurant.Create a Content StrategyCreating a measurable strategy allows you to build a consistent presence across your platforms, which is vital for building brand awareness, gaining followers, and boosting sales. Hold creative workshops to come up with best-in-class content ideas, which will help your business stand out from the crowd. You can also use scheduling tools, like Hootsuite, to help plan your content for the coming months.Stay Active on Social MediaBuilding on your content strategy, you should also post spontaneously when the opportunity presents itself. You should also pounce on current trends, reply to comments, and maintain accurate profiles, which will keep your brand fresh in people's minds.Analyze ResultsConstantly reviewing your results and insights will help improve your strategy going forward. You'll learn which type of posts get the best engagement, when your audience is most active, and other important metrics. You can view your results directly on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but you can also use third-party tools like Hootsuite or Google Analytics.Find Expert HelpBusinesses around the world use social media marketing to gain new customers and build their brand. But if you're worried you don't have the time or skills to get started, you're not alone – many businesses use social media marketing agencies to handle everything for them.With social media marketing services, you'll have dedicated experts create and maintain a bespoke social media strategy for you, letting you focus on other areas of your business. The best part? It couldn't be easier to find them.If you'd like to hear from trusted social media marketing agencies, and learn more about how they can help grow your business, then use our free comparison tool. Simply answer a few questions about your business, and we'll match you with suitable experts who'll offer no-obligation quotes for you to compare. It's quick, easy, and only takes a minute.Facebook Ads are easy to create and can expose your business to billions of users Are Paid Social Ads Worth it?In short, yes – if you play it well. With paid social ads, you can advertise your website or content to a specific, targeted audience. The overall cost of social media marketing depends on your needs, and the type of advertising you go for. For example, the average cost for Facebook PPC (pay-per-click) ads is $0.97, which is what you pay each time someone clicks on your paid social media ad or link. So, if you get 1,000 clicks on that ad, you'll spend $970. When you think about it, that's a small price to pay for 1,000 potential customers, clients, or website visitors. And when you consider Facebook users click on 12 Facebook ads every month on average, paid ads are likely to bring you results.Like we said, paid social ads are worth the investment – when done correctly. Otherwise, you risk wasting dollars that could be better spent on a new coffee machine. Worried about added costs? We understand. If you have a tight budget, the best social media marketing agencies for small businesses can create a strategy for you that maximizes your limited budget to bring you more customers in the most cost-effective way. Want to start growing your business? Get free social media marketing agency quotes today Get Free Quotes Next steps Around the world, businesses of all sizes use social media marketing to boost sales, gain new customers, and increase brand awareness. These days, if you want to grow your business, you can't afford to go without it. Not sure how to get started? Or simply don't have the time? Don't worry – you can easily find social media agencies to help grow your business while you focus on other tasks.The easiest way to find social media marketing experts is by using our free comparison tool. All you have to do is answer a few questions about your business, and we'll match you with trusted social media experts who'll contact you with free, no-obligation quotes for you to compare. It's quick, easy, and only takes a minute to get started. Written by: Dan Barraclough Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics. Reviewed by: Robyn Summers-Emler Digital Growth Editor Robyn started working on Expert Market in 2021 as a specialist in business websites and digital marketing. As the Grow Online Editor, she ideates, commissions and optimizes content on Expert Market that helps businesses thrive in online spaces and maximize their ecommerce potential. Covering everything from choosing a website builder to scaling a social media marketing strategy - Robyn uses her expertise to help startups, SMBs, and larger businesses realize digital growth in an increasingly competitive landscape.