7 Types of Social Media Marketing

Social media gives small businesses access to completely free marketing platforms. While the platforms may be free, businesses must still invest in social media management and content— either by hiring an expert or dedicating time to learning the ropes themselves. Understanding the types of social media marketing available to you and how they can have a big impact on reaching your target audience, rate of business growth, and ROI. Here are the 7 types of social media marketing categories you can use to promote your business. 

types of social media marketing
Collab with Katie

1. Affiliate Marketing

You’ve probably seen affiliate marketing before. It’s how creators earn money from product recommendations they make. Typically, it involves a link in the description of a YouTube video, an LTK account on Instagram, or an Amazon storefront. When someone clicks on the link, they’re redirected to purchase the product. The creator then earns a percentage of the sale as a commission. 

For creators, affiliate marketing allows them to earn a passive income off of product recommendations over time. For brands, having your products available to purchase with affiliate links helps you gain exposure and makes it easier for new customers to trust your product through the creator’s recommendation. Even if they don’t make a purchase, your brand gains exposure and credibility. 

2. Content Marketing

Content marketing is a way to provide free value to your current customers and win new customers through SEO. Write about key topics your customers are searching and how your product can be the solution to their problem. Content marketing can establish you as an authority in your field and as a credible resource for information. This will build trust by establishing a relationship before your customer even makes a purchase which actually incentivizes them to make purchases and develop brand loyalty. 

SEO works with Google to make your content visible. By using keywords, we’re able to help your website rank higher on the search engine, so you don’t get lost on the internet. Website rankings are super competitive which is why it’s helpful to have a marketing strategy in place to ensure you’re making the most of your content. 

3. Email & SMS Marketing

Email and SMS marketing are smart additions to your content marketing… if you do it right. If you do it wrong, your emails will end up in the trash with the rest of the spam mail we’re inundated with. If you do it right, it can increase your ROI by 122% according to an eMarketer study. 

Email and SMS target current customers. They keep your audience in the loop of campaigns, sales, and content that you’re putting out. Chances are, customers who sign up for email and SMS are already knowledgeable of your brand and are interested in purchasing your products. Your emails and texts should give them that little extra encouragement they need to complete their purchase. Sometimes, that can be as simple as reminding them of the product they left in their cart. Other times, it’s an extra 10% for 24 hours only. Be creative and see what works!

4. Influencer Marketing

The benefit of influencer marketing is that the social media influencer already has a solid relationship with an audience. Gaining access to an influencer’s audience can help expand your brand’s audience and increase your sales. It’s important to choose an influencer whose audience resonates with your brand. If you’re a skincare brand, you probably don’t want to work with an influencer who reviews cars. Choose an influencer based whose area of expertise aligns with your brand, who has an engaged following, and who is creating content you like on the social media platforms you want to reach. 

Social media advertising with an influencer can range from person to person. If your budget is limited, PR gifting can be a happy solution to gaining exposure without the need to allocate more money to the marketing budget. This involves gifting a PR package to an influencer, typically one that contains a product you are trying to promote. This is done without any contract, so you just hope that the influencer will post the PR package and share your brand on their Instagram story. 

The Influencer Relationship

If you have a designated budget for influencer marketing, you’ll have to carefully select an influencer or a social network of influencers who fit your brand. Think of them as brand ambassadors. It’s even better if they’re already using your product so the partnership seems as organic as possible to their followers. At the beginning of the partnership, you’ll create a contract for what is expected from both the influencer and the brand. 

  • What product is being featured?
  • What social channel or social media app will the content be posted on?
  • The guidelines for the visual content and copy being created
  • How much freedom the influencer has to create content?
  • Will the contract include video content or a still social media post?
  • How many posts and stories are expected?
  • What is the duration of the social media marketing campaign?
  • Is there a non-compete so they cannot feature other brands in the same category?

The next thing you’ll need to consider is what size and how many influencers to partner with. Influencers all have different-sized audiences, engagement levels, and benefits that they bring to the table. There are four different types or sizes of influencers: nano, micro, macro, and mega. 

Nano Influencers

  • 1,000-10,000 followers
  • Higher engagement rates than bigger influencers
  • Cost-effective to work with
  • Smaller reach than bigger influencers

Micro Influencers

  • 10,000-50,000 followers
  • High engagement 
  • More expensive than nano influencers
  • More professional content than nano influencers
  • Greater reach than nano influencers but less than bigger influencers

Macro Influencers

  • 50,000-1,000,000 followers
  • Greater reach than nano and micro influencers
  • Significantly more expensive 
  • Lower engagement rates 
  • Professional content and management
  • Works with multiple brands 

Mega Influencers

  • Over 1 million followers
  • Greatest reach
  • Trend setters
  • Extremely expensive
  • Difficult to contact
  • Lower engagement rates

When it comes to influencer size, choose the category that makes the most sense for your brand and your budget. This will vary from business to business. 

types of social media marketing
influencer marketing

5. Organic Social

Organic social media marketing is one of the most comprehensive forms of digital marketing. This is where you create your community and showcase your brand. There are so many platforms to utilize including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Podcasts. 

The trick to using these free resources effectively all comes down to strategy. An effective social media strategy builds community, it helps you create a following that is engaged with your social media content and trusts your brand enough to make a purchase. In order to convince people to follow you, you must stand out from all of the competitors on these platforms. 

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t achieve this with novel, innovative content. Successful brands achieve loyal followings through authenticity. The audience resonates with brands who know who they are and stick to their values consistently. 

Once you’ve gained a following, you need to focus on engagement. Engaging with your followers makes them feel valued and increases your follower retention. An audience that has a relationship with a brand is more likely to support the brand by following, sharing, creating content using the products, and making purchases. 

6. Paid Ads

Paid advertising has become more sophisticated over the years. People are now seeing ads that are targeted to what they want to see and are clicking through to make purchases. As marketing advances, we see paid ads in many forms. 

Paid Search

Paid Search is when a business bids to appear at the top of Google’s search results page. So when a client searches for a specific keyword like “restaurants in Southern Pines,” Google puts your result first on the page. 

Social Media Ads

Businesses can run a Social Media Ad on just about every social media platform you can think of. The first example of Paid Social that comes to mind is Facebook. If you’re considering investing in a Facebook ad, Instagram ad, WhatsApp, or Messenger, you should know that they all exist under the umbrella of the parent company Meta. Next, we have TikTok which is ideal for reaching a younger target audience. LinkedIn is amazing for B2B advertising. Pinterest is an amazing place to advertise if you’re targeting women ages 25-44 who are looking for anything from home decor to makeup, food, fashion, beauty, and more. These ads should integrate seamlessly into the social media platform so they look like organic posts. 

Banner Ads

Banner Ads show up on the perimeter of a website. Let’s say a customer is browsing online for new running shoes, then an hour later they see a Nike ad pop up when they’re looking at dinner recipes. These banners on the top, side, and bottom of websites are one-click ways to get customers to your website where they can purchase a product.

Native Ads

Native Ads are designed to match the content they are advertised on. For example, an ad on Pinterest should fit seamlessly into someone’s Pinterest feed so they don’t think twice about clicking on it. 

Audio Ads

Finally, we have Audio Ads. These are the radio ads of the modern day. In addition to radio ads, businesses are investing in Apple Podcasts, Spotify Podcasts, Spotify Music, and Pandora. This doesn’t have to be the advertisement that interrupts the music-listening experience. This can also include the advertisements at the beginning, middle, or end of a podcast and works almost like an influencer partnership where you gain access to the podcaster’s audience. 

With Paid Advertising, choose the ad that works best for your business and make sure your ad spend is not exceeding your ROI. Continuously check in on your analytics to make sure you’re getting the most out of your marketing. 

7. UGC

UGC stands for User-Generated Content. It’s one of the newer types of social media marketing available, similar to Influencer Marketing where a 3rd party creates content using your product. It’s different because the content is created by your brand’s customers and is posted on your brand’s social media. 

Influencer marketing is all about gaining access to the influencer’s audience. They post your product on their social media. UGC is about gaining content to post on your brand’s social media. You post their content on your social media. This can happen 100% organically or you can encourage your customers to create content. 

The benefits of UGC include community creation, engagement, brand awareness, and authenticity. UGC is the new word-of-mouth and a really effective way to gain trust with new potential customers. 

COLLAB creates a customized digital marketing strategy for your business using the types of social media marketing tools that make the most sense for you. As your business grows, so should your strategies. We’ll help you learn how to build a social media marketing strategy that produces results. Check out our services to see how we can help. 

Rachel Cook

Rachel Cook is the Head of SEO and Copy at COLLAB. She developed her content marketing skills working for large household brands at Power Digital Marketing Inc. and writing for magazines in Austin, TX. Her mission is to change the marketing landscape by bringing her knowledge to local small businesses. 

Rachel is obsessed with lifestyle brands, especially in the health & wellness category. She loves CrossFit, slow mornings, and cooking great food. 

July 10, 2023


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