A guide to social media in the marketing mix

From TikTok to Instagram to Pinterest, modern businesses can take advantage of several social media opportunities to connect with their audiences.

But getting started with social media marketing can be intimidating — not only do you have to navigate the many platforms, but you also have to strike a winning balance that lets you drive engagement, build brand awareness, and boost sales.

In this guide, understand how your marketing mix can play a key role in your business’ social media strategy.

What is a marketing mix?

The marketing mix — often known as the five Ps of marketing — is a foundational business concept that includes product, place, price, promotion, and people.


This is what you're selling, whether it's physical goods, services, or digital offerings. It's also about understanding what makes your product unique — like the branding, features, or benefits — and how it fits into the market.


Where do you sell and distribute your products? This could be anything from a physical store to an online platform.


Price encompasses not only how much your product costs but also pricing strategies that factor into market demand, profit margins, and competitor pricing.


How do you communicate about your product to your audience? Promotion typically includes advertising, sales, personal selling, digital marketing, and PR.


People refers to both the staff involved in your business (including distributors, suppliers, and employees) and your target customers.

Where does social media come into play?

Here’s how social media can amplify the five Ps:

  • Product. Features like Instagram Story polls let you gather customer insights to drive product refinement and innovation.
  • Place. With Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook all allowing shoppers to discover, browse, and purchase without leaving their apps, social media platforms offer new places for selling products.
  • Price. Use social media to observe your competitors’ pricing strategies and fine-tune your own.
  • Promotion. Whether you want to share discounts, run targeted ads, or host live events, social media offers plenty of promotional opportunities.
  • People. A direct line to your social media user base means more personalized interaction and community building.

The keys to implementing a social media marketing mix

While your social media marketing journey will differ based on what you sell and who you’re selling to, there are some universal best practices.

Set goals and objectives

Nobody wants their social media marketing efforts to be a hodgepodge of train-of-thought posts and random ads.

Instead, take the time to define your goals. Is it brand awareness, customer engagement, lead generation, or direct sales? Use your objectives to narrow down the types of content you create.

Your goals will also determine your key performance indicators (KPIs). Social media content engagement rates, follower growth, conversion rates, and social media content reach are all great starting points.

While there are plenty of external tools, social media platforms typically offer analytics tools to uncover how your content is performing, who engages with it, and the overall impact on your business objectives.

Once your social media marketing program is up and running, use this data to continually refine your content strategy. Experiment with different posting schedules, content types, and promotional tactics to discover what resonates best with your audience.

Understand your audience

The power of social media platforms revolves around their targeting capabilities. Rather than blasting messages to everyone, you can reach specific groups most likely to be interested in your business.

Using data from existing customer feedback and website analytics, review who your audience is. Consider demographic factors like age, gender, location, income level, as well as interests, values, and online habits — what platforms they use, when they're most active, and the kind of content they engage with.

Choose the right platforms for your business

With so many social media platforms available, it’s important to consider each one’s unique strengths and how they cater to different demographics.

For example:

  • Facebook. Great for both broad reach and detailed targeting. Learn about how to sell on Facebook Marketplace.
  • Instagram. Best for visually driven content and engagement. Use these Instagram marketing tips to create captivating posts, and consider setting up Instagram Shopping to drive in-app sales.
  • TikTok. A must-have for those targeting younger audiences.
  • Pinterest. Particularly effective for businesses in fashion, home decor, and DIY industries.

TikTok and Pinterest, in particular, can help boost brand visibility through feeding users personalized, visual content, making it easier for people to discover and connect with new businesses.

Conduct thorough research to see which platforms align most with your goals and target audience, and check out PayPal’s guide to selling on specific social media marketplaces.

Conduct market and competitive research

Before you dive into the challenge of creating social media content, take the time to complete a social media competitor analysis.

Focus on questions like:

  • What are the latest trends?
  • What are your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses?
  • How can you carve out a unique niche for your business?

Best practices for social media marketing

Ready to bring your social media marketing strategy to life? Keep these tips in mind:

  • Consistency is key. Regularly post content to maintain engagement with your audience – it’ll help you build a loyal following.
  • Engage with your audience. Respond to comments, messages, and mentions to increase your visibility and strengthen your relationship with your audience.
  • Use visuals. Images and videos tend to perform better on social media.
  • Diversify your content. Mix different types of content (educational, promotional, entertaining) to keep your feed dynamic.
  • Compare ad prices. Ad prices are constantly changing.

Learn more about how to market your business on social media.

Getting ready to mix it up

Building a social media presence that drives sales starts with creating a marketing strategy.

Use the five Ps of marketing as your north star and focus on building a foundation rooted in goals, your target audience, and any relevant platforms. Experimentation is key, so mix it up to see what resonates with your audience most.

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