Social media is constantly evolving. And with increased competition for consumers’ attention, app companies need holistic, creative and strategic campaigns to win. But with a long list of factors to consider, many look for help from social media marketing companies.
Social Media Marketing (SMM) sits alongside Search Engine Marketing (SEM) as a core strategy for every business. And it makes sense when billions of users conduct searches and log into social media every day.
Building brand awareness, increasing site traffic and generating leads are a few of the reasons why a business might turn to a social media marketing agency for support. But they also need to lean into content creation and curation and build online communities to gain the biggest reach.
In this guide, we’ll offer some insights into what social media marketing is. We’ll also highlight how social media marketing companies can help you, and reveal our selection of the best companies to approach when trying to meet your business goals.
What is social media marketing?
Social Media Marketing (SMM) is a term used to describe the use of social media to promote products and services. SMM refers to inbound social network marketing activity that attracts traffic and invites interactions from customers or users. Things like content creation, videos, online interactions and networking come under this category.
Top Social media agencies
Social media marketing started by categorizing platforms into six groups: Social Networks (think Facebook, LinkedIn), Media Sharing (usually video and photo-sharing sites like YouTube, TikTok, Instagram), Social News (e.g. Digg), Bookmarking Sites (such as Pinterest, Reddit), Microblogging (including Twitter and Tumblr) and Community-Building Forums (such as Quora or Mumsnet).
And while some marketers still think in these terms, boundaries have blurred between groupings.
Around 80% of shoppers now use Instagram to research products and services before buying something. And with its media sharing, social networking and community-building abilities, Instagram is now a strategic focus for many e-retailers.
But also, retailers are seeing success on Instagram when they engage with Influencer Marketing. And almost 50% of social marketers say ROI on influencer marketing is better than other channels. A report by InfluencerMarketingHub revealed Instagram and TikTok are the most popular social media platforms for conducting influencer marketing in 2021.
The most popular influencer marketing platforms in 2021 (%)
So, while social media marketing is effective at ‘laying your stall out’ to let customers know more about your brand, it isn’t the same as social media advertising. But what is exactly the difference between the two?
How does social media advertising work?
Social media advertising differs from social media marketing in the way it relies on outbound marketing strategies. Paid social, retargeting and coupon strategies are all effective social media advertising strategies. And they target customers in places they’re most likely to spend their time.
By collecting user information like demographics, social networks allow advertisers to leverage data that helps to target users. And this gives advertisers a chance to increase their conversions and sales.
So, whether that’s through ‘Stories’, regular campaigns or influencer marketing, social media advertising targets audiences using content they’ll share, repost and click through to.
In 2021, social media advertising grew by almost 40%. Plus, the use of digital video increased by 50% and drove total revenues of close to $40 billion.
Most popular digital consumer tactics 2021
Top social media agencies
So how do social media marketing and social media advertising work in practice?
Social media marketing examples
With its powerful means of engaging and interacting with customers, here are some of the best examples of social media marketing in action:
- Zoom stay connected: Keen to boost brand awareness, Zoom launched a Virtual Background competition in March 2020 that has likely helped them become ubiquitous ever since.
- Spotify Wrapped: More than 90 million users engaged with Spotify’s ‘Wrapped’ stories in 2020. And this equated to around 60% of users sharing a round-up of their most-listened to artists.
Spotify Wrapped stats – December 2020
- Airbnb WeAccept: To address criticism over racism, Airbnb launched a social media conversational campaign with the hashtag – #WeAccept that boosted their brand profile.
- Amazon: Using Social Media Listening and tracking tools to understand what customers were saying, Amazon posted humorous responses across channels and encouraged UGC.
Social media advertising examples
Statistics show successful ads have a shelf life of around 10 weeks before they burn out. But there are also data to suggest that UGC outperforms conventional ads by over 50%. Plus, it sees a 28% increase in conversions when combined with Paid content.
But what are some examples of successful social media advertising in practice?
- Lego: Lego boosted revenue by 27% on social media after launching a 2021 iteration of their ‘Rebuild the World’ ad campaign named ‘The Damp Knight’.
- GymShark: According to marketing week, online gym clothing retailer GymShark ran a ‘Blackout’ promotion across Instagram Stories for Black Friday. It reached over 16M people and achieved a 6.6:1 ROAS.
- Groupalia: Spanish app Groupalia ran a 60-day test campaign on Twitter that achieved a purchase conversion rate of 3.85% post-installation.
- Adidas: Launched their new trainers – Falcon W – with a targeted, paid social ad on Snapchat. And their running shoes sold out in 6 hours.
Pros and cons of social media marketing
What do social media marketing companies do?
Social media marketing companies develop social media marketing strategies that help businesses achieve their goals and objectives. They may also create and run original paid or organic ads on social media platforms, acting as a social media advertising agency as well.
- Lead generation and sales: Social media marketing companies can run paid and organic story ads, Facebook ads and focus on retargeting to boost conversions.
- Account management: Businesses can outsource daily and ongoing social media activity to a social media agency.
- Account enhancements: Updating key information such as a business address or location can boost conversions.
- Brand authority, recognition and awareness: A report by eMarketer suggests almost 50% of local businesses use social media to build brand awareness.
- Stories concepts: Alongside paid ads, stories themselves boost engagement by encouraging UGC and promoting brand awareness.
- Influencer marketing: More brands are leveraging micro-influencers who now account for over 90% of influencer market share.
- Audience analysis: Social media marketing companies will review customers’ and competitors’ behavior on social media and use it to support your strategy.
- Define target customers: Many businesses need to understand their customers before running a campaign. And social media agencies can help to define who they may be.
- Measure results: There’s little point in running campaigns if they’re not hitting the mark. A social media marketing agency can use insights to feed into future marketing tactics.
Top social media agencies
Types of social media marketing companies
A report by Sprout Social suggests the top two goals for social media marketers are to increase brand awareness (70%) and generate sales (59%).
Social marketers’ top goals for social media 2020
So how can different types of social media marketing companies help with boosting brand awareness and targeting customers with innovative campaigns?
Social media agencies
A generalist social media agency can support app owners in a variety of ways:
- Content creation and publishing: Agencies can drive creative ideation and produce visual assets that boost brand awareness and engage more customers.
- Account management: A social media agency can handle responses to messages, use tactics to start conversations or help solve customer queries.
- Paid social advertising: Agencies can increase ROAS with campaign creation and optimisation.
- Social media growth: Businesses can turn to agencies for helping with increasing followers, getting more likes and generating conversations.
Specialist social media marketing agencies
- App marketing agencies: App owners may choose to partner with app specialist agencies to support growth on social media.
- Growth agencies: Growth marketing agencies can experiment with a range of creative and data-backed ideas to support effective campaigns.
- Performance marketing agencies: App owners who seek clear, defined goals for CPA or CPI rates may want to partner with performance marketing agencies.
- Influencer marketing agencies: Influencer marketing agencies have the specialism and networks to engage the right influencers to achieve campaign goals.
Social media marketing platforms
SaaS platforms can support social media marketing activity in the following ways:
- Social media management: Platforms can schedule social media posts and maintain regular activity.
- Cross-channel marketing: Businesses who want to work across several social media platforms can programme and track regular activity.
- Paid acquisition campaigns: Paid media campaigns can support growth and target conversions.
- Influencer partnerships: Many platforms support influencer marketing with access to influencers of varying scales and sizes.
How can you benefit from working with a social media marketing company?
There are so many benefits to working with a social media marketing company that we explain below:
Expertise and experience
Engaging a social media marketing agency or platform to handle your social activity encourages a level of expertise that may be otherwise hard to come by. Social media marketing companies handle a huge number of campaigns and have a been-there-done-it-tried-and-tested approach.
Plus, they can act as cheerleaders and ambassadors, picking you up and dusting you off while encouraging you to be bold and aim high.
State of the art technology
SaaS technology is a cost-effective solution that avoids unnecessary hardware. But also, social media marketing platforms are constantly updated. So for fast-moving clients, the benefits include cutting-edge technology, a separate and often cloud-based infrastructure and a much larger framework to target audiences with.
Save time and resources
Ultimately, very few businesses have the time or financial resources to support elaborate, focused and successful social media marketing campaigns. Platforms and agencies can handle ongoing monitoring and tweaking, not to mention giving access to influencer marketing networks and creative templates that increase campaign success.
Which companies are best for social media marketing?
So there you have it – our round-up and review of social media marketing companies. But with several key platforms and agencies to choose from, plus an ever-evolving marketing landscape, it may be difficult to know where to start.
But starting out with some strategic planning can help. For example, what are your business goals? Do you want to lift your brand presence within a target customer base? And if so, by how much?
Or, do you want to take a holistic approach with some winning creative that pairs paid social advertising with influencer marketing to achieve higher growth rates and customer acquisition scores?
To help you decide, we’ve compiled a list of the very best social media marketing companies that can help you.
List of social media marketing companies