Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Marketing | 2021 Edition

In this article, we’ll cover everything social media marketing, including the top social media platforms for businesses to market themselves on, their audiences, the advertising options available on each platform and more.

Discover how to grow your brand in 2021 with our Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Marketing! Here you’ll find what social media marketing is, its difference to social media management, how to do ads on different platforms and so much more.

Social media plays an important role in everyday life for lots of people. From using platforms to stay in touch with friends and family to engaging with new content, there are so many great reasons to use social media. With a wide audience on each platform, businesses can target their audiences using social media marketing. From platforms like TikTok to Facebook, each platform has great ways for businesses to market their brand on social media.

Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash.

What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing is the use of advertisements on social media platforms. These ads can be geared towards particular demographics to target a desired audience. Businesses can pay for ads on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, which will appear in user’s feeds while they’re scrolling through the platform. 

Paying for advertisements on social media platforms, like Facebook or Instagram can help to build brand awareness, connect with your audience, drive traffic to your website and increase sales. It’s free to set up and create a page or business profile on such platforms, then create advertisements from your business’s account.

In this article, we’re covering how to use social media marketing to advertise your brand online and reach more consumers. Currently, top social media platforms include Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat and TikTok.

*Statistics from

Social media marketing vs social media management.

Social media marketing uses paid advertising, while social media management involves managing organic content. Therefore, social media management means having presence on social media platforms, while social media marketing is paying to advertise your business within those platforms. 

While organic social media is essential, the platforms are businesses themselves, which is why reach tends to be a bit limited. This is why businesses use social media marketing; it allows them to pay to go beyond organic reach, targeting exactly who they want to see their content.

Social Media Platforms & Audiences

There are so many different social media platforms to market on, and each has a different purpose and audience. From spreading inspiration on Pinterest to connecting with professionals on LinkedIn, there’s great opportunity to market your brand on each platform. 

When setting up advertisements on one or more social media platforms, you will need to fill out similar details. The platform will ask you for your goal, objective and target audience. It’s important to research each of these fields to ensure your advertisement is set up to best reach your desired outcomes.

Common Social Media Marketing Terms:
Conversions, consideration or awareness.
Goal: Impressions, views, clicks, website visits, etc.
Target audience: Specifying your target audience based on options the platform provided, such as: age, gender, location, job, income, etc.

Furthermore, greater than 50% of people using social media will research products on social media and more than 70% are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals.

Some interesting facts from Hubspot:

  • By 2023, there’s expected to be 3.43 billion social media users.
  • YouTube had the highest reach among Gen Z and Millennial audiences in 2019.
  • Twitter is one of the top three social media platforms used by marketers with the highest ROI.
  • Greater exposure is the top advantage of using social media for marketing, according to international industry professionals.
  • Increasing brand loyalty, lead generation and traffic are a few of the top reasons why marketers use social media in their marketing campaigns.


What is Facebook?

Facebook is a social media platform allowing users to connect with friends, family, work colleagues and others online. Users sign up to create their own free profile, where they can also share their own photos, videos, statuses in addition to sharing other’s posts. 

Besides personal profiles, users can also make groups, pages, events and even sell items on Facebook Marketplace. Businesses can also make their own business page with multiple admins, enable auto-chat to reply to users and use Facebook Advertising to reach more customers through Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook audience.

Facebook is a large platform with 2.8 billion active monthly users. On Facebook, you can find  a range of people, from your grandparents to your high school teacher. However, in Australia 25–34 year olds use Facebook the most, but with so many users, you can find people of any age, over the age of 13.

Why should businesses be on Facebook?

Facebook offers many benefits for businesses using the platform. By having a business profile, brands can share content and information about who they are and what they do, answering customer questions and spreading brand awareness. Additionally, businesses can set up their own Messenger bot, which lets users chat with the business using automated sequenced messages.

Social media marketing on Facebook.

Social media marketing on Facebook is an effective way to reach more users on the platform. Facebook Ads can be in the format of a:

  • Photo
  • Video
  • Carousel
  • Right column ad
  • Slideshow
  • Canvas
  • Boosted page post
  • Collection
  • Dynamic product ad

Photo, video and right column ads are the most popular, but carousel ads have the highest engagement. It’s important to research which ad format is best for different demographics and objectives, as each type has its own benefits.


What is Instagram?

Instagram is a visual social media app, connecting users by sharing photos of videos. While platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn rely on text, Instagram primarily relies on visual content. Users can create a private or public personal profile, or a public business profile, which gives access to analytics among other things.

Instagram audience.

Instagram is similar to Facebook, with a vast range of age groups and audiences on the platform. However, according to Statista,  it’s safe to say Instagram is enjoyed most by people under the age of 34. Brands using Instagram should use a business profile, so they can see their statistics like their audience, post insights and more.

Why should businesses be on Instagram?

Instagram is a highly used platform and users may look up your brand on this app as part of their purchasing process. Awario states, “An ODM Group study found that 74% of consumers rely on social networks to help with their purchasing decisions.”

For example, when going to a restaurant, users may look at the business’s Instagram account to see photos of food and drinks to make a decision about what they’d like to order. Others may look up businesses to see how people style a clothing piece they’re interested in or even try to see a brand’s philosophy and transparency.

Social media marketing on Instagram.

Promoting your business on Instagram through paid advertising is an effective way to reach a wider audience. Ads on Instagram can be either on Instagram feeds or stories. This means users see advertisements when they’re scrolling through their feed or watching stories. 

Users with business profiles can pay to promote posts to be shown to a greater audience. This can link users to their website, or users can click on their account name to view the business’s Instagram profile. 


What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is similar to Instagram in the way it focuses on images, rather than text. Pinterest can be described as a visual inspiration platform, where most users go to find ideas for cooking, styling their home and other key ideas. Users can search for a keyword, and ‘pins’ relative to the search will show up in the results.

What’s a Pinterest pin?
A Pinterest pin is a photo with a short description, which links to another page. Pins can be saved to different boards to keep ideas and inspiration organised.

Pinterest audience.

Since Pinterest is most commonly used for inspiration, it’s a great platform to find your target audience on. DIY, crafts and styling are popular categories, but as long as you’re posting visual content for your niche, it will be easier to attract your target audience.

Why should businesses be on Pinterest?

Pinterest is based on inspiration, so why not make your brand inspiring? By sharing images (they can be text images too) with users on Twitter, people searching for ideas relative to your brand may find you. For example, if you’re sharing top marketing tips or photos of your handmade earrings, people who are searching for these things may find your brand.

With so many niches on Pinterest, every business should be on the platform. For example, builders can share design inspo, while plumbers could post before and after posts for renovations and how-tos for fixes. From social media marketing experts to bakers, anyone can post about their expertise by giving others the inspiration they need.

Social media marketing on Pinterest.

Pinterest ads are some of the most unnoticeable. While scrolling through pins, users may click on a pin that is actually an ad, meaning it was paid by a business to receive boosted exposure in relevant search results. 

Businesses can create Pinterest Ads using existing pins or create a new pin. By showing up at the top of the results when users search for a relative term, businesses can receive greater exposure, attracting people who may be interested in their business.


What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a social networking platform, typically known for being used by professionals. Users and businesses can use LinkedIn to connect with colleagues, businesses, mentors and other professionals to build their network and engage in a business space. 

When creating a personal profile on LinkedIn, you can list your current professional role and past roles and experiences, along with your skills and interests. Recruiters, employers, colleagues and other connections can see your career and connect with you.

LinkedIn audience.

LinkedIn is full of professionals and businesses alike. While businesses having a fun or bubbly brand voice may be appropriate for other platforms, make sure to keep professional when on LinkedIn.

Why should businesses be on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a networking platform, which is great for people and businesses alike. From connecting with potential partners, future employees and other brands, LinkedIn is a great place to establish industry reputation in addition to hiring. Sharing community based content is a great way to promote staff wealth and show off company culture. Additionally, sharing insightful posts like a then and now post or business statistics is another great way to grow your brand on LinkedIn.

Social media marketing on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn advertisements can help you reach your desired audience on the networking platform. There are different format options for ads on LinkedIn, including:

  • Sponsored content
  • Message Ads
  • Text Ads
  • Dynamic Ads

After choosing the objective for your LinkedIn Ad,  you can select your goal (e.g. impressions, views, clicks), target audience, budget and schedule. Once your ad is running, you can adjust and optimise it after seeing the results.


What is Twitter?

Twitter is another social media platform. Twitter is known as a micro-post social media platform. It’s all about text, with posts having a short 280 character maximum. You can still post images, videos, URLs, polls, etc.

Brands can share meaningful messages and have meaningful conversations with their Twitter followers. Twitter is great for quick updates, like a tech services company communicating outages and keeping their followers updated. Another reason Twitter is great for companies is because 50% of Twitter’s users follow brands on the platform. Social Media Today claims,“…[Twitter] drives twice the brand favourability of the same ads on TV.”

Twitter audience.

Twitter is a great app for brands to use and post short messages with their audience. Besides following friends and family, users also use the app to see their favourite brand’s messaging and news updates. Twitter’s audience is primarily male (70%), aged 18–29 years old, which may suit certain businesses better than others. While less than 3 minutes is the average time per user spent on Twitter daily, it’s a smart idea to post frequently to remain in your audience’s mind when they use the app.

Interesting Twitter audience stats:

Why should businesses be on Twitter?

Twitter is one of the EASIEST platforms to have brand presence on. Simply Tweeting a couple times a day can do the trick. Whether you’re posting insightful statistics and tips, or resharing blogs, you can connect with your audience by giving them short, insightful updates relative to your brand.

Social media marketing on Twitter.

Marketing your business on Twitter using paid ads lets you use tweets or campaigns to try to reach desired objectives. After choosing the objective for the ad, such as views, website conversions or app installs, you can choose your desired target audience.

When people are scrolling through Twitter, your ad will show up like a tweet, but it will discreetly say, “promoted,” in the top left corner.


What is YouTube?

YouTube is a platform based on sharing videos. Users can create an account and post videos, subscribe to other accounts, like comment and share videos and search for new videos. Users are likely to follow accounts they find engaging and informational, and anyone can use YouTube since it is a creative space full of opportunity.

YouTube audience.

YouTube is one of the most used social media platforms in Australia, with nearly 60% of the population using the platform in September 2019. Thus, there’s a wide range of users, young and old, using YouTube.

Why should brands be on YouTube?

As a platform with 2 billion active monthly users, YouTube is a great way to interact and gain attention from your audience. By posting educational, inspiring, entertaining or engaging content for your audience, you’re offering them something of value. Having presence on YouTube can help brands connect with their audience and gain greater brand awareness.

Social media marketing on YouTube.

Advertising your business on YouTube is done through Google Ads. You can set up your advertisement, which will be a video, to play as an ad before a user views someone’s YouTube video. On the other hand, you can have your video advertisement show up under search results to try and have users watch your entire video.


What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a social media app allowing users to share photos and videos (AKA ‘snaps’) with friends, or groups, which are meant to disappear once they’ve been viewed. Its 6.3 million monthly Aussie users can also use or add filters and text to their ‘snaps’ before sending them.

Snapchat audience.

Opposite to Twitter, females are the largest demographic on Snapchat (61%) and most users are under the age of 30.

Why should brands be on Snapchat?

With the average Snapchat user opening the app 30 times a day, it’s not too surprising businesses are jumping to be on this app. When users subscribe to accounts they can see their daily stories, which is a great way for brands to stay fresh in their consumer’s minds. Sharing behind the scenes snaps, sneak peeks of new products/services and interesting facts are great ways to capture your audience’s attention on the app.

Social media marketing on Snapchat.

Snapchat advertisements can be a great way to reach this younger audience. The short portrait video ad will play either:

  • Between stories
  • Before or during a video users are watching on the explore page
  • As a panel on the explore page

Like other social media advertisements, businesses can choose from a selection of goals and specify their target audience to make the best advertisement possible. However, Snapchat has more advertising limitations than other platforms like Instagram, but may be worthwhile if Snapchat’s younger audience better aligns with a business’s target audience.


What is TikTok?

TikTok is another video-based social media platform like YouTube, but far different. The social media app is designed to be used on mobile devices and consists of videos lasting 15–60 seconds. Users can create, share and explore short videos in addition to following their favourite accounts.

TikTok audience.

Since TikTok is a platform originally created for young people to express themselves, it’s no surprise the main audience is Gen Z (younger than 25). With a 56% male audience, TikTok is split pretty evenly between the genders. On average, TikTok users spend 52 minutes per day on the app, with 90% visiting the app multiple times a day. However, since it is a platform where anyone and everyone can express themselves, there are plenty of niches on here for any business’s audience.

Why should businesses be on TikTok?

TikTok is a personable platform, meaning it has a strong sense of community. Businesses who can effectively showcase their brand in a personable way can capture TikTok’s audience. Furthermore, it’s an easy way to show off your brand’s personality, purpose, products, services, etc., just by posting short 15-60 second videos.

Social media marketing on TikTok.

TikTok ads are sponsored videos with the goal to reach a wider audience. Similar to Snapchat, TikTok also has a younger demographic, which may be better suited to certain businesses. The different formats for TikTok ads include:

  • In-feed Ads
  • Branded Takeovers
  • TopView Ads
  • Branded Hashtag Challenges
  • Branded Effects

This gives businesses a variety of ad types, from appearing in users feeds to spreading hashtag trends to increase brand awareness. Once again, you can choose your objectives and target demographic to optimise your ads performance. 

If you need help with your social media marketing, you can speak to one of our Digital Marketing Specialists in your local area. Head to to get started.

Chloe Thistle

Junior Marketing Administrator

Chloe Thistle is a Junior Marketing Administrator at Localsearch, bringing her talents and background in digital and social media marketing to her role. She has sharpened her marketing skills across many different industries, including entertainment, fashion and in the B2B field. In her spare time, Chloe can be found either lounging at the beach or five coffees deep at one of her favourite local cafés. No stranger to adventures, she’s trekked to Mt. Everest Base Camp — fueled by coffee of course — has completed the Kokoda Challenge and is always looking for the next mountain to climb! Chloe loves looking for ways to combine her passions for adventure, sustainability and marketing, always chasing the latest trends in both marketing and fashion. Now, she’s utilising her vast life and digital marketing experience to blog and assist in the content with the Localsearch Marketing Team.