Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, Google Plus. . . oh my!

There are a ton of social media platforms and it’s hard to know what you should be doing where.

If you feel like you need a course called social media marketing for dummies, first, give yourself more credit.

Second, read our beginners’ guide for social media marketing below. We’re covering everything from what audiences are to how to set up ad campaigns.

Ready to get started? Read more below.

What is Social Media Marketing?

Have you ever thought about how Facebook makes its money? Apparently, congressmen don’t, as the fact that they sell ads was obviously misunderstood at the Facebook trial before Congress.

So we’re clear, that’s how Facebook makes money which they use as profit and to keep the platform up and running—they sell ads.

And your ads should be part of that ecosystem. If you’re not running ads on social media, you’re missing out on a huge audience.

But social media marketing isn’t just about ads. You need to have a brand presence on your platforms too. But which platforms?

Snapchat was dominating the younger market for a while, but now it’s dying out—with kids favoring their Instagram stories over Snap.

Older people, however, are increasingly using Facebook, but haven’t quite transitioned to Instagram. You want to spend money where your audience is, not where they aren’t.

And that’s our first step, which we’ll explore below.

What is a Social Media Marketing Strategy?

Before we walk through the how-to guide, let’s talk about your social strategy. If you’re going to spend money on ads and creating content, you need to have a goal.

There are four main types of social media marketing (SMM) goals. Each serves your company a different purpose, and you should touch on all types over the course of a year.

Social Media Marketing Goal Types

What’s the biggest issue with your company right now? Are you not driving enough leads or sales? Are your customer’s good ambassadors for you and your products?

Find your pain point, then ask yourself which goal type fits best as a solution.

Awareness: Brand Growth

If you’re a new company starting out, you need to grow your brand awareness.

You’ll spend time crafting lookalike audiences and trying to get more followers, shares, and first-time visitors to your page.

Engagement: More Customer Interaction

If you know who your audience is but they seem invisible—in that they don’t engage with your business—you need to work on your engagement metrics. This is the number of comments, likes, and mentions that each post gets.

When you have more organic interactions (you didn’t pay for them), Facebook will reward you by showing your posts first.

That’s what they came up with as a remedial solution, once the whole Cambridge Analytica thing came out. If you want to have your posts show up more often and people not to have to scroll for an hour to see them, you need to aim for interaction.

Conversions: Sales

We all want more conversions and sales. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t sell products or services. And you can use social media to get more people to your product pages, then hopefully get more sales.

Facebook’s products (FB and Instagram) have specific tools you can use to send someone to a product page. If you have enough followers on Instagram, you can link your stories to product pages by having the person swipe up.

Another Instagram option (only with business accounts) is to have product descriptions pop up, floating over your image when someone clicks.

But we’ll get into those details later.

Retention and Reviews:

The final type of social media goal is to target your current customers in hopes that they’ll bring you new ones. This means asking for testimonials, good reviews on Facebook and Google, page likes, and hopefully, positive post engagement.

There was a study that showed people pretty much trust nothing about businesses. They trust the words of others (especially friends) though, about 84% more.

So, having past customers on your side will do you well in the long run.

Choosing Your SMM Goals

Now that you know what your goals are, pick two to start out with. Maybe one action goal (conversions/engagement) and one passive goal (sentiment/awareness). This will be where you start when you’re setting up your campaigns.

You’ll add the other types in later, but start out small and get the hang of that first.

Set Goals for Your Goals

Now that you have your two goals in mind, sit down and write SMART goals for each. If you don’t know, SMART goals are

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

You need a smart goal for both of your goal types. If you were working on customer conversions, here’s an example of what your SMART goal could look like.

  • S – I want more conversions
  • M – ten new conversions per day
  • A – I’m currently at 8, so aiming for ten seems reasonable
  • R – This will help me get to higher profits
  • T – I want to be at 10/day in by the end of this month

Now you have your goal—you just have to figure out how you’re going to do that. Maybe you’ll increase your ad spend by $3 a day for the rest of the month.

Once you figure that out, it’ll go under specifics.

Define Your Audience

We’re about to talk about the term/idea of audience, a lot. Your audience is a demographic of people who you think are the perfect match for your service or product.

For example, the audience for Instagram followers buying service would probably be something like “Influencers aged 19-28, with ___ amount of money, and at least 20,000 followers”

See how specific that is? Those are the kind of details you need when you build your audience.

Make an Audience Persona

You’ll make what we call an audience persona—which is basically an avatar you create for each audience. The avatar for the example above could be Claire.

She’s a video blogger that lives in Paris and creates videos for local businesses. She needs more followers so that she can charge companies more for working with her.

She’s 24 years old and has 30,000 – 50,000 Instagram followers, most of whom are in the same age range, if not a little older.

You’ll want more than one persona, as more than one type of person buys your products. Start by making two or three, then make more once you get more data and get the hang of it.

Find Where Your Audience Is

Like we touched on before, there are different demographics on each social media platform. Facebook is still the biggest, but Instagram is catching up to it fast with the younger demographic.

We can’t go into full detail on each platforms’ audience, but here are some good facts to know.


FB has over two million monthly active users. Of general internet users, 88% of people aged 18-29 are on this platform.

That’s followed closely by 84% of people 30-49 and 72% of people 50-64.

About four percent more woman than men use the network and the majority of users sit in the under $75,000 per year income demographic.


When it comes to Instagram, there are 800 million monthly users and 500 million daily users. Most of those eyes are young people, ages 18-29.

That youngest demographic sits at 59% of users, while the age group after (30-49) is at just 33%. As you get older than 49, the percentages drop under 15%.

There are significantly more females than males that use the app, about 58% of users are female compared to 42% male.

Of all those users (800 million), 53% of them follow brands. That’s good news for you.


Finally, let’s look at Twitter, which is the comparative dwarf of the network family.

There are 317 million active monthly users on Twitter, and 36% of them are under 30. 23% are between 30-49 and 31% are over 50.

There’s a higher number of male users on Twitter, by about six percent.

Interestingly, 29 percent of Americans who have some sort of college degree have a twitter. So if your audience is well educated, you’ll want to set up a profile.

Setting Up Your Profile

Now that you know where your audience is, it’s time to set up a profile. You’ll need an official business page, and possibly a users group if you want to add that sense of community.

To create a page, you’ll need to create a business account. Then you’ll set up your profile with the exact same information you use on your website and Google Business listing.

You want everything to be the same across the board, so your customers never get confused.

You can set your logo as your profile picture, but you’ll need a header picture too. That should be something branded, but personalized, like a picture of your home office team with the logo in the corner.

Write out the description of your company and decide if you’re going to use the Facebook shop feature.

With all that filled out, it’s time to set up the Facebook Ads Manager. You’ll control your Instagram ads from here as well.

Facebook Ads Manager

When you go into ads manager for the first time, you’ll have to set up your payment options. Then you’ll build your audiences, and then you’ll finally build an ad.

Make sure the card that you file with Facebook is one you are allowed to repeatedly charge. Most of the time Facebook charges your card once you’ve hit a certain amount of ad spend.

Create an Audience

With that setup, go to your tool to drop down and click audiences. Then click “create custom audience”. It’ll give you a screen full of choices, where you can choose things like demographic details and location.

The locations are anywhere from a 5-30 mile radius from the recorded location of your business.

You can also search for related interests. Like if you sold boats you could target people who like the page “National Boating Day”, or something like that.

In a minute we’ll teach you about remarketing, but just create a general audience for now. Make it specific enough that you’ll get people interested in your products, but not so small that it goes under 30,000 people.

Create the Ad

Now you can create a campaign, and within that campaign, you can create an Ad. Facebook has a pretty strict text rule – only 20% of the image you choose for the ad can be text.

You’ll choose how much you want to spend on this ad per day in this screen, along with which audience you want to show it to.

Finally, Facebook will have you choose a call to action for your ad. Something like “learn more”, “shop now”, or “sign up”.

Make sure the one you pick is relevant and that it leads to the right landing page.

Set Up Your Pixel

A pixel is a small piece of code that both Facebook and Google use to track activity on your website. You’ll have to install two different pixels, one for each parent site.

Your pixel will then allow you to create a retargeted audience, as in, the people who visited your page or expressed interest in your product but didn’t convert.

You’ll set that up through the “website traffic” option when you create a new ad audience.

Creating Content

Now all that was just about audience and ads, but you also have to create content. Content is anything that intrigues or brings information to your customers. It could be an informational graphic, a video, or a blog post.

You’re on the hook for creating at least one (if not two) pieces of unique content per day, if you want to stay relevant.

Why Do It Alone?

As you can see, handling social media marketing is a full-time job. If you keep it in-house, you’ll have to hire a full-time employee to help you keep up.

But then you have to pay things like employment taxes and other in-office overhead.

Why not outsource to someone who’s an expert and that will work with you virtually?

Social Media Marketing for Dummies: What’s the Key?

When it comes to succeeding in your social media, you need three things. You need to have goals, know your audience, and create consistent, high-quality content.

If you do those three things, you’ll have a handle on your business. Instead of slaving over this post for social media marketing for dummies, why not let a professional do it?