How much does social media marketing cost in 2021, and is it worth the price?

Crystal DeCnodderCalgary Marketing, Marketing, So Sharable!, Social Media, Social Media Insights

How much does social media marketing cost
Even though it’s 2021 and nearly every person’s screen time has shot up dramatically, there are still some businesses that do not recognize the value of creating and sustaining an engaging social media presence.

These businesses generally fall into three camps which include:

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Businesses ran by individuals who do not use social media in their personal life and therefore do not understand how or why other people would find and connect with their business using social media.
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Businesses that are too busy trying to manage their existing customer base and are scarce on time to create and maintain their social media channels. (This is sometimes our company!)
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Businesses that have tried to navigate organic and paid social media on their own without an adequate understanding of how social media best practices. These people have typically spent too much money and time for too little return on their investment.

Let’s explore point number three, businesses that have been burned by the cost of social media in the past:

If you spend a lot of money on a social media program, you are expecting results.

All too often, however, business owners only measure last click attribution and overestimate how quickly social media marketing should produce a lead or a sale; they don’t look at the big picture of how social media plays a role in the overall marketing strategy.

Many people are out of touch with how long it takes to attract and nurture a new lead or prospect, especially in an increasingly competitive online environment. I don’t know who needs to read this, but it’s very similar to how long it takes to make a sale in the real world.


Let’s say you send your best salesperson to an event to network and dig up new leads. This individual needs to show up, introduce themselves to new people, take the time to connect, demonstrate likability, establish trust and educate new prospects on who your company is and how your company can help. If successful, your salesperson leaves with a new card and an email address or phone number they can use to follow up with to continue the education and sales process. It has been said that the average sale requires 6 - 8 touch points.
Social media is no different but can help yield more results than a salesperson. It is very unlikely that a customer will convert and buy something from you after seeing only one post or one ad. When it does happen, it’s usually because that one post was either entertaining or informative and was likely a video that can pack in a lot of information in one interaction. Another instance where this occurs is when the price point is very, very, low, ensuring little risk to the buyer if the product is underwhelming. The more expensive your product is, the more technical your product is, the more education and touch points you are going to need convert a browser to a buyer.

What does any of this have to do with the cost of
social media?

Well, the quality and quantity of content you have to create to educate and reach prospects will have an impact on your costs. This is why the most effective social media and digital marketing agencies do not have standard social media packages.
For every brand, you have to consider:
  • How many audiences or consumer profiles do we need to connect with? 
How many educational messages will we need to create so that the target audience understands the brand, the product or service, and most importantly, the value it will offer them?
  • How many channels are we going to use to connect with our target audience?
    What kind of media are we going to create to catch their attention and to share a relevant and interesting story? Illustrations? Photos? Videos? GIFs?
  • What is our objective for each post? Is it to drive traffic to the website? To secure leads? To increase engagement measured through follows, likes, comments or shares?
  • How many formats will we need to create the content in? For example, story format versus gallery format?
  • How frequently are we planning to reach out? A few times week or several times each day?
  • Who is going to handle community engagement? How quickly do we want to respond when the public has a question or comment?
  • Who is responsible for writing and publishing the content? 
If we’re sending people from social media to the website, can the website handle the traffic and convert the lead?
  • What software are we going to use to centralize and manage our social media ensuring an organized and productive team?
If reading this list is giving you anxiety, consider that high performance social media teams are made up several people who wear a number of hats:
  • A copywriter to write original content
  • A graphic designer
  • A photographer
  • A videographer
  • A community manager
  • A web developer
  • A strategist
  • A media buyer

Business owners should also consider the cost of time saved by working with an agency for your social media needs.

How long does it take to consider your consumer profiles, to draft, refine your copy, create your graphics or video content, get approval from key stakeholders in the company to publish that content, monitor responses, report on the analytics, set up the social ads that allow for targeting, connect the credit cards, test that the content will work (tech failures can and do happen) and get your customers to the best page on your site so that you can get the sale?

It’s no wonder that many small business owners ignore their social or are unaware of all the things that need to come together to get the job done; they simply don’t have the time to do anything but to limp out a quick picture and statement, often one that isn’t their best content and isn’t really reflective of their best work. By committing to a social media marketing program with an agency, you are committing to elevating your digital presence and gaining the benefit of a team of experts ready to work hard for you.
Although every client requires a custom quote, common monthly costs for social media marketing management typically ranges between $3,000 - $11,000 (Canadian) each month. This sometimes can incorporate the ad spend paid to networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and TikTok, but in many cases does not. Determining your ad spend will need to be quoted out nearly every quarter as the cost to advertise on social networks can rise and fall depending on the season. Another consideration is the size of the audience you want to reach. The more people you want to reach, the wider the net you want to cast geographically and the volume of posts you want to share through paid social ads will impact your ad spend costs.
Is social media marketing worth the price?
Without a doubt. Although the cost of social media can vary significantly brand to brand, social media marketing connects brands directly with their consumer and this relationship drives sales. Based on common website traffic patterns, we can definitely see several stages of the buyer journey are influenced by social media marketing.

For example, a common web traffic pattern we see on many websites that showcase their social media icons prominently is a user flow where the visitor leaves the website to browse the brand’s social media channels.

This is a common occurrence because consumers want to see a current update from the brand. It’s well understood that websites are not always up to date, but social media can provide a glimpse of activities and updates in real time, and reinforces social proof (how many followers does the brand have, how many likes, how many comments?) Which helps support the idea that the visitor is on a quality site, exploring a quality brand. If other people ‘like’ this brand, perhaps I should too!

Another common traffic pattern is seen in referral traffic. Your customers are discovering and learning about your brand through social media even if your brand isn’t active on social media. In short, social media can help you net new prospects and allows your followers to be brand advocates for your business, sharing their personal experience and testimonials on your products and services. If you want to be a part of that conversation, then you will need to set up your social media accounts and participate.


Given the events of the past year, communication with clients and the establishment of a strong digital presence has become more important than ever.
If you rely solely on foot traffic passing by a brick-and-mortar location to drive awareness and sales for your business, you are ignoring the digital audience that can support your business if that foot traffic goes away, or a physical location stops serving you in the same way. Diversifying your marketing efforts and presence makes your business more resilient to evolving consumer behaviour!
Another benefit of social media, it works when you’re off the clock. Once you have enough content built out on your platforms and landing pages, it allows the consumer to take in all your messaging at their own time, usually when they have downtime to scroll their social channels. For some, this may be between 10 pm and midnight when you are your team are likely offline.
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How much does social media
marketing cost?

Social media marketing is not a free or easy marketing channel for most businesses. There are many considerations at play when determining how much a business should pay for social media marketing and social media advertising.

An average agency retainer for B2B brands executing a high performance social media presence typically ranges between $3000 - $6000 per month allocated to content development and management (strategy, copywriting, photography, videography and graphic design), along with a dedicated ad spend of $1500 or more per month.

When you work with a Calgary social media agency like Full Blast Creative, you can count on:
  • A team of social media experts with a wide range of digital and design skills who are constantly staying up to date with the latest trends and best practices of social media marketing.
  • A transparent and results driven team that will help you create a remarkable and memorable campaign strategy.
  • Access to enterprise social media software to help deliver your content to a targeted audience.
  • Support and consultation with clear communications to help you achieve your social media goals.
  • A customized quote that aligns with your budget and prioritizes the best channels and content to reach your best customers.

90% of agencies offering a pre-packaged social media solution deliver you pre-packaged results that don’t align with your business goals.

If you’re interested in a custom quote for social media marketing or social media advertising, please contact us today!
If you’d like to learn more about digital marketing including social media, design, web-development or email marketing, please consider joining our email list. We send 1 - 2 emails per month with quality resources to help keep you informed on the latest and most important digital marketing solutions.
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About the Author

Crystal DeCnodder

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Crystal DeCnodder is a keynote speaker, social media, and digital marketing expert and is a partner at Full Blast Creative, a creative digital marketing and web design agency in Calgary, Alberta. When Crystal is AFK, she enjoys skateboarding, guitar, travel, and time with family and friends.