Cost of Marketing on Social Media: How Much Should It Be?

Patty was preparing to start her small business but one question bothered her, what is the actual cost of marketing on social media?

During her online research, she found several sources that outlined a large number of different strategies.

As someone who is going to be a solopreneur, Patty doesn’t have a big budget available.

So, it’s imperative for her to adopt a strategy and develop a plan that will work for her and the way she wants her potential clients to experience her brand online.

If it was true a decade ago that everyone was on social media, it definitely is a fact now. Even your grandmother is on Facebook sharing viral cat videos.

The fact that everyone is on social media, gives you a good reason to market using social media. Who doesn’t want to be marketing to everyone? 

The cost of marketing on social media is a factor to consider as you start considering your marketing strategy.

Though you can’t afford to ignore advertising on social media you still want an idea of the costs so that you can advertise on social media while staying within your marketing budget.

In this post, you’ll learn who does what on social media, the cost of hiring them, the tools you can use, and the cost of social media advertising.

Also, how to calculate your budget and the number one secret that nobody shares on how to get a return on your investment.

Photo of many hands holding smartphones with lots overlays of social media engagement engagement icons

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing boils down to marketing on social media. Does that answer your question? Probably not. Let’s dig into it more deeply.

Social media marketing involves using social media platforms to build awareness of your brand, increase sales of your products, and drive traffic to your website.

The platforms for social media are places where people can connect with others and share content. Social media platforms include sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. 

You can use your profile on these sites to market to your potential customers. This requires creating content and posting it.

You can use planners to chart out your posting schedule. You can also use tools like Facebook Ads to market to people who fit the profile of your customers that might not already be following you on social media. 

No matter which strategy you pursue with your social media marketing campaign, you need to advertise on social media. There are 4.62 billion social media users this year.

These people represent 58% of the globe. 27.6% of these users say that they discover new products and brands via social media. You need to be marketing to these people to capture your share of the market.  This is the most effective way to generate leads and increase your conversion rate.

Social media marketing also offers the advantage of analytics. You can see in clear numbers the number of people seeing and engaging with your content.

You can easily track which types of posts resonate with the largest market share and create more posts that get clicks. 

Social Media Manager Costs

You are going to be marketing on social media. It is a given in today’s climate. Though there are many tools available to ease the process of doing it yourself, you might be considering bringing in help for your digital marketing campaign.

How much is a social media manager? What about an intern? Let’s dive into it!


Social media marketing interns generally earn around $15 per hour. Their tasks include things like creating social media posting schedules, creating captions or graphics for social media posts, and tracking analytics for already posted marketing. 

Interns might not have the experience to tackle large projects or take on the creation of posts. They are a great option to keep you organised and to handle smaller tasks.

As your intern gains experience you can begin to entrust them with more tasks, perhaps even working up to content creation. 


The internet hasn’t just changed the way we connect with each other via the rise of social media, it has also led to the rise of freelancers in fields such as social media marketing services. 

With platforms like Upwork and Fiverr, you can hire a social media manager on a per-post basis and see reviews of their previous work. Well-reviewed freelancers on these platforms, on average, start at $285 for four posts on two platforms to $795 for 30 posts on four platforms. 

They can be the best way for small businesses to manage their different social media platforms on a small budget.

photo of a person's hand holding a smartphone with social media engagement reactions and symbols

Full-Time Employee

On average a full-time social media manager earns $58,000 per year. Though this might seem like a large chunk of change a full-time employee can make sense depending on the size of your business. 

They will be fully devoted to tasks like increasing your social media following and planning out a posting schedule. They also handle analytics to see what is and isn’t helping your business.  

Social Media Marketing Firm

A small social media marketing firm can charge a variety of rates depending on the social media management you require. Prices range from $50-$300 per hour.

Tasks that these firms can handle range from responding to customer reviews to creating and publishing Facebook Ads for your company. They will also have graphic designers.

Social media marketing firms might seem like an expensive purchase but can definitely be the best option for your social media pages. If you are considering launching a large campaign it can be worth it to have a dedicated team to plan and implement it. 

If you want to increase your engagement with people who comment on your posts or leave reviews it can eat up a lot of your time to do it personally and could be a great task for a firm. 

Factors Affecting Social Media Marketing Costs

A lot of different elements go into creating your social media marketing budget. Are you just in need of some help and can hire an intern?

Have you scaled your business and found yourself in need of someone to create an entire social media marketing campaign for a new product? These come with wildly different price tags. Let’s dive into these various factors affecting price. 

Your Company’s Size

As I’m sure you have found out during your entrepreneurial journey, your needs change as you grow. If you are still running your business as a one-man shop you might consider bringing in a freelancer to handle your posting schedule to open up your time for other endeavours. 

If you have scaled your business and are launching a new product, you might consider an agency to create an entire marketing strategy for you. 

Specific Business Objectives

Your aim in your marketing campaign will affect your budget. Objectives of social media marketing can include building brand awareness, creating sales, or getting sign-ups for your email list. All of these different goals can require different social media marketing elements and this come in at different price points. 

Tools and Software

The content you post for your social media marketing doesn’t come out of the clear blue sky. It has to be created. Creating content requires investments of not just time and creativity, but can also include an investment of money. 

You might need to invest in a higher-calibre camera if taking photos of products for your campaign. 

If your brand is built on your personality you might need a tripod to take better photos for your Instagram feed. Canva’s paid subscription might be a necessary investment for creating graphics for social platforms.

Photo of a person's hand with a smartphone in it having an overlay of social media engagement reactions which is likes and follows

Your business’ social media page is an integral part of your social media marketing. However, you might want to reach people who do not already follow you. This is going to require an investment in ads and sponsored posts. How much do social media ads cost? Let’s dive in. 

Facebook and Instagram, both a part of Meta, allow you to set the price you are willing to pay and will deliver you the best results possible within that budget. How Meta calculates your costs varies according to factors like your target audience or your ad placement. 

For Facebook, the average cost per thousand impressions is $7.19. For Instagram, that figure ranges from $2.50 to $3.50.

The average cost per click on Facebook is $1.72, for Instagram that figure is $0.40 to $0.70. The cost per action on Facebook is $18.68. The cost per engagement on Instagram is $0.01 to $0.05. 

For the popular video content streaming service YouTube, the cost per view ranges from $0.01-$0.03. The cost of reaching 100,000 viewers is $2,000. Like Meta, costs vary depending on many factors like the length of the video or the ad campaign’s objective. 

For a more in-depth breakdown of paid Facebook marketing check out this episode.

Tips on Calculating Your Budget

There are a variety of factors to consider when you calculate your social media marketing budget. There is no one-size fits all answer to the cost of marketing on social media. It is a good idea to consider the following when setting your budget:

  • Are you hiring for additional help? If so what kind?
  • Do you need to pay for any equipment or subscription?
  • Are you going to run ads? On which platforms?
  • Will you do a photoshoot?
  • Are you going to need tools for scheduling and hashtag research?
  • Will you be investing in stock photos?

From your answers to these questions, you can research the average cost of the option you have chosen. Once you have found the average you can set a personal budget that you are comfortable with. 

Though the costs might seem intimidating, consider if you can afford not to invest in social media marketing. Your business needs customers and those customers are on social media. Social media marketing doesn’t require top dollars always.

You can opt to do it yourself or to contract out to a freelancer versus hiring an agency. This can keep costs down but make sure that your social media isn’t suffering in return for you saving a penny. Social media marketing creates sales and is worth the investment.

One thing you can do is start with one method like posting content organically on Instagram 3-5 days a week for 3 months.

Next, look at the metrics and decide if you want to run a paid advertising campaign based on the type of content that is getting the results you need.

Photo of many hands holding smartphones with lots overlays of social media engagement engagement icons

How To Get the Most Out of Your Social Media Marketing Costs

To get the most bang for your buck when it comes to social media marketing you should avoid just throwing money at it.

You’ll want your marketing efforts to yield better results and harness the power of social media. 

Do your market research. Analyse your target customer, check out your competition, and try out some surveys. Get a lay of the land before you jump in feet first. Then you can map out your goals and outline a plan to reach them. 

Keep your eye on analytics. Social media platforms offer built-in analytics tools just for this purpose. Use them to see how your audience interacts with your content and adjust accordingly. 

Keep this up consistently not just when considering starting a marketing campaign. The way you evolve with your audience changes and grows and requires continuous reflection. 

You can use these analytics tools for more than just seeing what content creates the most engagement. These tools also let you see a snapshot of your audience.

Social Media Activity Times

One of the most useful pieces of this is activity times. You can see when your audience is most active and plan posts accordingly. You want active social media users to see your social media campaign.

In addition to continuously checking engagement via analytics, you should conduct regular social media audits. Set aside the time to sit down and look at your social media.

When you look back over time you might find things like schedule inconsistency. If you notice that weekends tend to have a lapse in posts you can consider planning out posts to schedule in advance. 

If you look back through your posts and notice that a key aspect of your business is underrepresented you can add that to a priority list. This will lead you to create and schedule posts on the topic.

Social Media Analytics + Tracking

One of the best ways to get a return on your social media investment is tracking every single thing and checking your analytics/metrics.

When looking back over analytics you might find that some content consistently underperforms in engagements.

As much as you might enjoy your regular series ‘Monday Motivation: Various Photos and Quotes of Things That Keep People Motivated,’ if it isn’t resonating with your audience you might need to drop it. It isn’t helping you reach your business goals.

These audits are also a great time to check your content for broken links or inaccurate information.

In reviewing your feed you can also consider if what you find is exciting or dull. If you find that your followers aren’t growing maybe it is time for a new campaign or a consideration of whether your style has become outdated. 


Social media marketing is essential in the modern era. Nobody can argue that social media is not a powerful influence in all of their lives. And if they are arguing about it they are probably doing it on social media. 

As important as social media marketing is, it can still be an extremely daunting proposition. Should you be posting reels?

My business is in the digital marketing sphere but everyone wants to see a cat meme right? Should I post it to my Facebook story? There is so much to consider!

There is also the budget to keep in mind. Should you opt for Canva Pro? Do you need to hire a marketing agency? Can you justify a freelancer? How much should you bid for Facebook Ads?

Don’t get overwhelmed. Check out our 90 Days in 90 Minutes program and develop your social media marketing strategy now.

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