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3 Steps to Creating a Social Media Advertising Budget

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Seventy-two percent of Americans use some form of social media, so by using social content to promote your business, you have the chance to reach over 230 million Americans every day. If utilized correctly, social media can increase traffic to your website, promote your original content, advertise to your target audience, and measure the success of your social media marketing strategy.

Creating a social media marketing budget is the same as any other budget- you need to know your net income, set your goals, devise a plan, and collect and analyze data to adjust your strategy over time.

Although social media is free to use, paying to promote content is an affordable way to increase your social media presence. To make the most of social media advertising and measure your marketing strategy, you must make a budget for all of your social media promotion spending.

Here are three steps to creating a budget for your social media pages.

1. Know Your Goals and Audience

Before you create an advertising budget, you need to know what you want to achieve through your social media promotions. Decide what goals and audiences you hope to reach through your content. Social media can drive traffic to your website, promote your blog, offer special deals to followers, and more. Knowing what you want to achieve will make your spending more valuable and allow you to realign your budget to better suit your needs.

Next you need to decide who you want to reach through your ads. Creating buyer personas helps you narrow down your target users. Check out HubSpot’s handy Make My Persona tool to easily create detailed personas that represent your specific audience.

You can then use the demographics from these personas to determine which social media platform will bring you closer to your desired audience; Pew Research Center regularly updates its Social Media Fact Sheet, which you can use to identify what platforms your target market is active on.

For example, the fact sheet shows that 50% of people who make more than $75K per year use LinkedIn, compared to only 12% of people with an income of less than $30K using LinkedIn. Similarly, 51% of college graduates use LinkedIn compared to only 10% of high school graduates using LinkedIn. All of this information can be found in your buyer personas and can help to determine where you audience is active.

Once you know what offer or service you want to advertise and who you want to advertise to, you have to figure out what content you are going to use as advertisements.

2. Create Relevant Content

Content marketing is the best way to utilize your social media pages. Create content that is valuable to your target market; you want your content to be a useful resource to your potential customers, which will increase traffic to your site and better your chances of conversion.

You need to factor content creation into your budget. If you decide to hire a professional photographer, or a writer for your blog, this will factor into your promotion budget. Your content should reflect the individuality of your business, so by creating original content you are establishing who you are as a brand.

While anyone can take photos with their smartphone, hiring a professional photographer will provide you with high-quality, original imagery that can be used across your social media pages and website; the same goes for written content. Outsourcing content creation might seem expensive, but in the end you will save time and money by having a pro create unique, branded content for any campaign.

Hiring a professional doesn’t have to exhaust your budget. Online resources like Fiverr can help you hire freelancers, so if you are just dipping your toes into content creation you can start producing professional content without committing to hiring a full-time employee. You can also hire graphic designers, video editors, and anyone else who can create original content that reflects your brand.

One way to make sure you always have fresh, original content shared regularly is to hire a social media manager. Having a professional managing your accounts will give you peace of mind knowing that someone is taking care of all your social media needs, and has the experience to make changes to your marketing strategy to ensure you get the most out of your investment.

Social media allows you to directly connect with your target audience, so investing in your content creation means publishing quality, original content that will continue to grow your sphere of influence.

3. Determine Cost To Promote

Most social media platforms allow you to pay to promote your posts, meaning your content will be shown to more people who are likely to be interested in your business.


Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the world, with over 2.8 billion users worldwide, so it’s no surprise it is one of the most popular platforms to advertise on- and provides the highest ROI of all paid advertising channels! If you already have content on your page, look to see what posts got the highest engagement; using Ads Manager to promote already-popular content, you increase your chances of reaching and engaging new visitors, without having to create new content.

Facebook lets you choose from a number of campaign objectives so you can create ads that match your target audience’s place in the buyer’s journey:

  • Awareness: Brand awareness; Reach
  • Consideration: Traffic; Engagement; App installs; Video views; Lead generation; Messages
  • Conversion: Conversions; Catalogue sales; Store traffic

You will also want to create audiences that match your buyer personas, which Facebook makes easy by giving you many options to sort through to create a thorough audience that matches your detailed buyer’s persona.

Depending on your industry, you might have to pay more per click, but Facebook advertising can still be profitable. According to Wordstream, the overall average CPC for Facebook ads across industries and campaign objectives in 2021 was $0.97, with CPC averages ranging from $0.25 to $3.30.

The cost of advertising on Facebook will vary greatly based on your campaign objectives, the size of your audience, your industry’s seasonality, your daily budget, and the content you release, but these ads have a big impact on consumers. A 2015 study found that when dedicating to well-planned and creative advertising campaigns, the average ROI was 450%, ranging from 300% to 600%.


Instagram, owned by Facebook, offers advertising opportunities to business profiles with a Facebook page. You do not technically need an Instagram account to advertise on Instagram, all you need is a Facebook Business Page. Having an account, however, will better your engagement and help you become more in-tune with your Instagram audience and understand what content connects best with viewers.

Like Facebook, you will run your campaign through Ads Manager, which will help you build your Instagram ad campaign. You can choose from the same objectives as listed above. Determine your target audience based on multiple demographics- location, age, gender, interests, language, people similar to current customers, etc.

Individual posts can be promoted through the Instagram app, or campaigns can be managed through Ad Manager. Ads can be still images, videos, a carousel with multiple photos, or featured before Stories.

Organic and paid, Instagram is hailed for its high engagement rates, with images on Instagram receiving an average of 23% more engagement than the same content shared on Facebook. Instagram’s CPC in 2021 ranged from $0.40 to $0.70, but this accounts for all interactions with the ad. For ads with a URL destination, the CPC ranged from $0.50 to $0.95, while the cost per engagement was only $0.01 to $0.05.


For B2B marketing, LinkedIn is the place to be. While offering standard forms of advertising similar to Facebook, like sponsored posts and text ads, LinkedIn also offers unique ad formats for connecting with B2B leads, like sponsored InMail content and dynamic ads.

Like Facebook, LinkedIn breaks down the campaign objectives to fit the buyer’s journey:

  • Awareness: Brand awareness
  • Consideration: Website visits; Engagement; or Video views
  • Conversions: Lead generation; Website conversions; or Job applications

Depending on the goals for your campaign, what type of ad you create will impact how you connect with viewers. Using InMail content and dynamic ads can take advantage of the unique ways LinkedIn helps you connect with B2B leads, but be careful not to let your content become “spammy.” Make sure your advertisements are specially targeted so you are reaching people who are likely to engage with your content. Improperly targeted content can be a waste of your time and budget, and putting your content in front of the wrong audience or using the wrong message at that moment can harm the image that user has of your brand.

Creating audiences on LinkedIn based on specified demographics can help you to narrow down the millions of users available, so your message goes to the right people at the right point in the buyer’s journey.

LinkedIn ads can be a bigger investment than other platforms, with LinkedIn requiring a minimum $10 daily and total budget per campaign; however, LinkedIn can be a proven investment for B2B companies- there is a reason 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content!


Twitter is like Facebook and LinkedIn, by letting you choose your objective based on the audiences’ journey:

  • Awareness: Reach
  • Consideration: Video views; Pre-roll views; App installs; Website clicks; Engagements; or Followers
  • Conversion: App re-engagements

Twitter does not offer fixed rates for their advertising; instead, they use an auction system. Advertisers bid on limited ad space for their desired audience.

Campaign cost is determined by 4 metrics:

  • How engaging the ad is
  • The size of your target audience
  • How many other advertisers are targeting the same audience
  • How much you bid

Twitter allows you to pay however much you are willing to spend, but the success of your campaign can vary widely. Depending on your industry, you could be competing against many other advertisers for a limited number of ad opportunities, and advertisers with a much larger budget.

The internet has changed the way consumers engage with brands, and social media is a convenient vehicle to bring you right to your desired audience. A well-planned social media marketing campaign has the potential to reach many new visitors, but budgeting your campaigns will prevent waste and maximize ROI.

Thanks for reading,

Editor’s note: This blog was originally published in August 2018 and has been edited and updated in December 2021.

Shannon Briden

Account Manager
Shannon brings her MBA education and design background to find creative, innovative solutions to everyday marketing problems.

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