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What is social media marketing? Basics for beginners

Titelbild Blogpost Was ist Social Media Marketing?
Maurice – September 22, 2023 – 10 min read

When people talk about social media marketing, they are referring to any measures aimed at marketing a brand or a company on social media. In the age of Instagram and Facebook, companies around the world rely on being active on social networks.

But how does good social media marketing work? We reveal which goals can be achieved with marketing in social media, what the advantages and disadvantages are, and how success can be measured using KPIs.

Let’s start with the definition and then continue to feel our way through the world of social media marketing.

What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing is an important part of the online marketing mix. When people talk about social media marketing, they are referring to any social media activities that are aimed at achieving the company’s goals in the best possible way.

Definition Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is predominantly used to strengthen one’s own brand and create more reach. Thus, this type of marketing is suitable for generating leads, retaining customers and selling various products and services.

Incorporating social media marketing into the marketing mix

Social media marketing has a permanent place in the marketing mix. The professional use of social networks is essential for companies today. Due to current trends and digitalization, social media marketing measures are often significantly more effective than analog advertising measures.

Companies should always carefully consider which social media are the right marketing channels. The decision for or against a network can have a massive impact on the success of a company. That’s why it’s a good idea to pay close attention and weigh things up even before your first social media campaign.

The target group and the potential of the respective platform should always be analyzed precisely. With applicable marketing measures on Facebook, Instagram and the like, companies can significantly increase their leads and reach people all over the world. Because on Instagram alone, more than 1 billion people bustle about every day.

What are the goals of social media marketing

The goals of social media marketing

Basically, social media marketing is divided into two different areas:

  1. the macro targets
  2. and the micro targets.

Macro goals of social media marketing measures

Macro goals include, for example:

  • branding,
  • the customer management
  • and revenue generation.

Branding is about building as well as constantly developing your brand through social media. The approach here should be to increase brand awareness and create some online presence. Especially for start-ups, brand development and brand communication is an important factor. For this purpose, there should be a clear concept of how to reach the desired target group.

When people talk about customer management, they are referring to both the acquisition of new customers and the strengthening of customer loyalty. This can be done through steady positive references as well as reaching new groups of people.

Generating revenue is an equally important goal, which can only be achieved through a strong presence and more traffic as well as advertising. Because ultimately, online marketing via social media should aim to sell products or services and increase sales.

Micro goals of social media campaigns

In addition to macro goals, there are also micro goals. These include, for example:

  • Brand awareness,
  • the social interaction
  • and the traffic.

Brand awareness can be achieved, for example, by increasing reach on individual social media platforms. Those who can increase their user contacts or the number of subscribers ensure that their company is better known.

Social interaction on the various social media channels is just as crucial. Traffic, on the other hand, is primarily about click-through rates to a website. These can also be increased with social media ads and other marketing efforts.

The most important social media marketing goals at a glance

Arguably the most important social media marketing goals include:

  • New customer acquisition,
  • the generation of leads,
  • increased customer loyalty,
  • strengthening the brand,
  • the increase of the range,
  • the improvement of the image,
  • the increase in sales figures,
  • the increase in the recommendation rate.

How does social media marketing work?

Social media marketing works when a reader becomes a follower. This means that if a company manages to convert a page visitor into a subscriber, buyer or fan by means of a clever marketing strategy, then online marketing via social media channel has succeeded. This combines elements from advertising and sales and distribution and uses them across different channels for a marketing campaign.

Then social media marketing works

This makes potential customers aware of the company, or the brand, as well as the brand’s products and services. As a rule, people are reached via a photo, a video clip or an exciting article that is intended to arouse the reader’s interest. Ideally, the reader follows this post to the company’s site and makes further transactions there, such as buying a product or signing up for a newsletter.

In today’s world, social media marketing is here to stay. Especially when starting a new business, strategies via social media channels can be enormously helpful and ensure a successful business launch.

Differentiation from social media advertising

Differentiation between social media marketing and social media advertising

Social media marketing is about creating content for social networks like Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn. But when we talk about social media advertising, the so-called social media ad, we mean something different.

The biggest difference is that social media marketing is simply posting content. A social media ad, on the other hand, is advertising for which the platform is paid by the issuing company. This means that with social media advertising, the content created is advertised in campaigns using specific targeting.

Depending on the network, various targeting options can be used here. Instagram and Facebook in particular offer a wide range of options to control targeting. This is intended to minimize wastage in the advertising campaign and generate a higher return on investment.

The advantages and disadvantages of social media marketing

As is generally known, there are always two sides. Thus, social media marketing also brings its very own advantages and disadvantages:

The advantages of social media

Probably the biggest advantage of social networks is their wide reach. Most platforms offer the opportunity to reach an enormously broad target audience and thereby generate potential leads. Another advantage is the comparatively low cost. While conventional marketing requires printing and distribution of promotional materials, a concept design and implementation of a marketing campaign via social media is tremendously affordable.

In addition, marketing on social platforms is particularly fast and flexible. New content can be communicated quickly and adapted at any time. In addition, content can be linked to other websites and thus be distributed even more widely.

This ensures a rapid expansion of the customer base. Another advantage is the simple success control. This can be determined by key metrics such as click-through rates and likes.

Equally beneficial is the fact that precise targeting can be done with social media marketing. It offers the opportunity to target specific consumers and enables direct interaction with the target group.

This allows companies to answer questions via social media channels, direct consumers to specific store pages and locations, and thereby build a close customer relationship. Such community management cannot be achieved via any other online marketing tool.

The disadvantages of social media

Social media contains a wealth of information. Daily posts from countless people around the world make for tremendous clutter. That’s why smaller companies or firms that lack the right know-how often simply go under.

Therefore, companies that are not sufficiently trained should better turn to an agency that is familiar with marketing strategies in the respective networks. In many cases, a well-developed concept and precise organization can only be ensured by agencies.

In addition, implementing marketing on social media requires a significant amount of time. The daily workload required for the respective marketing strategy can usually only be managed by hiring a social media agency.

Such agencies are familiar with the subject, employ people who can take over and thus relieve companies of a lot of work.

Another reason for employing an agency is the fact that the current data protection law imposes very strict requirements for the use of social media. Companies should not violate these under any circumstances. Agencies know exactly which images, music and videos they can use and help to implement strategies legally and to market services and products legally.

Social media channels: Which ones are there and how do I reach my target group with them?

The choice of social media platforms is enormous. Here is an overview of the most popular networks count:

  • Facebook,
  • Instagram,
  • YouTube,
  • Twitter,
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn,
  • TikTok
  • and Snapchat.

All these networks can be accessed via the PC or in the form of an app. Let’s take a look at the details of each social media network.

Common social media marketing at a glance


Facebook is the cornerstone of the social media world. Founded in 2004, it is the platform for texts, images and videos. With more than 2.9 billion users worldwide, it beats all others in terms of reach. In 2021, sales amounted to an impressive $86 billion.

Facebook is more than just a network. It’s a marketing machine. Whether you’re targeting anglers or architects, you’ve come to the right place. Different advertising formats? No problem. Your budget determines the rules of the game.

Facebook is a useful platform for almost any business that wants to appeal to a broad target audience, especially those between the ages of 25 and 54.


Born in 2010, adopted by Facebook in 2012. Instagram is the darling of visual marketing. Over 1 billion active users make the platform a hotspot for brands, especially when targeting a younger audience. Pictures, videos, stories, reels – Instagram has it all.

Instagram is a useful platform for businesses seeking visual storytelling and a younger audience.


Launched in 2006, Twitter is the platform of choice for politicians, journalists and activists. Short and crisp: 280 characters that can move the world. With over 400 million users, Twitter is smaller, but a real game-changer if you have the right audience.

Twitter is a useful platform for companies and organizations that want to pick up on current news and trends, , especially male users over 32 in leadership positions.


Visual dreams since 2010. Over 400 million users pin their fantasies to virtual pinboards. Ideal for gathering ideas for the next DIY project or the upcoming trip to Thailand.

Pinterest is a useful platform for businesses that focus on visual inspiration and DIY themes.


Founded in 2005, part of the Google family since 2006. YouTube is the go-to platform for video content. From Cat videos to TED Talks, YouTube has traffic. You want to put your brand in the spotlight? YouTube is your catwalk.

YouTube is a useful platform for content creators and businesses that want to do video marketing.


Visual dreams since 2010. Over 400 million users pin their fantasies to virtual pinboards. Ideal for gathering ideas for the next DIY project or the upcoming trip to Thailand.

Pinterest is a useful platform for businesses that focus on visual inspiration and DIY themes.


The king of professional networks. LinkedIn is a must for professionals and companies that operate in the B2B space. It’s the place to show off your professional accomplishments or recruit the next top talent.

LinkedIn is a useful platform for B2B companies and professionals who want to expand their network.


The newcomer who hit like a bomb. Founded in 2016, TikTok already has 689 million users. Short, snappy videos that can go viral.

TikTok is a meaningful platform for brands seeking a young, engaged audience.


A pioneer in ephemeral content. Snapchat has been around since 2011 and has set the trend for temporary content. Even though user numbers have dropped, the platform still has its appeal, especially among young people.

Snapchat is a useful platform for brands that want to target a younger audience with ephemeral content.

You should check the usefulness of every social media channel on a case-by-case basis.

In order to address the right target group, it is essential to select suitable social media channels. Depending on the product, company and service, a social media platform may or may not be very useful.

A social media agency can help select a suitable platform. As a rule, an agency is very familiar with the target group and the audience to be encountered and can therefore weigh up which channels the marketing measures will be best received on.

Measuring the success of social media marketing? – Possibilities of success control and important KPIs

The success of social media marketing can be measured using analytics software. Social media monitoring in conjunction with an analytics platform makes it possible to create and evaluate regular reports. Then, the current data can be compared to previous data and the success of the marketing can be accurately determined.

You can see what percentage of users have ordered something or how many users have registered for a newsletter. In addition, you can track the downloads made and evaluate how many clicks and likes certain posts have achieved.

Visibility (also called reach) is especially important when launching a new brand. Otherwise, there are other relevant metrics in social media marketing:

  • Reach (Range)
  • Likes and Shares (how many times a post has received a “like” and been shared),
  • Comments.

Each goal can thus be clearly measured in key figures. If the key figures improve, that is a good sign. Depending on the goal, suitable key performance indicators, also called KPIs, must be created. We can recommend the following approach:

  • Do you want to increase customer loyalty? Focus on website visit frequency via social media platforms, user dwell time, and the percentage of followers among existing customers.
  • Do you want to increase awareness? Focus on a channel’s subscribers, number of fans and followers, or number of downloads.
  • Is the image to be promoted? Then miss the likes on social media platforms, the number of posts shared and the positive posts and comments on social networks.

Most social media channels offer internal analytics tools to see the extent to which goals are being met. Otherwise, you have many external tools at your disposal or you can contact an agency that is familiar with the online marketing of downloads, articles and services. A social media agency specializes in attracting new customers and targeting the desired audience.

When should I take social media marketing into my own hands and when should I involve an agency?

Basically, we recommend entrusting social media marketing to an agency that is very familiar with it. Social media agencies specialize in the online marketing of products and services and can not only provide you with a well thought out social media strategy, but also provide comprehensive social media marketing services. This includes, for example, managing social media pages, creating posts as well as interacting with users and targeted content marketing.

Companies that have barely explored the options of social marketing, content marketing or influencer marketing can benefit enormously from the services of social media agencies. Such agencies use all the advantages of the Internet to convince people of your products and services and attract new customers. They know their way around social media and save lots of money and time.

On the other hand, a company that would rather do without an agency and develop a concept including a social media campaign itself should employ people who have the knowledge of an agency. These can be employees of the company who have worked for years in a social media agency themselves or who have studied the topic intensively.


Many companies want to take social media marketing into their own hands without having studied the topic in depth and knowing the importance of social networks. This can quickly backfire. A social media agency brings the necessary experience and takes a lot of work off their clients’ shoulders. Therefore, we generally recommend hiring an agency.


What is social marketing?

Social media marketing refers to any measures that companies use to market products and services on social platforms. The aim can be to increase brand awareness, sales or even image.

How does social media marketing work?

To do social media marketing, you need a profile, or channel, on an online platform. Photos, videos and texts can be published on it, thereby communicating a brand message to potential customers.


8+ years of Growth Marketing
Published September 22, 2023


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