We have all been there. Laying in bed late at night dreaming about how successful our businesses would be if only we had a larger marketing budget. Jealous of companies like Apple, that can afford elaborate marketing campaigns that drive serious results.
It is very easy to get discouraged when such thoughts enter your mind. Luckily, there are quite a few ways to market your business for little or no money at all on social media. In this post we will discuss several of these strategies and you will see how you can implement them, regardless of the size of your budget. Before we do that though, let’s take a look at a few statistics:
- 88% of SMBs in hyper growth use social media to generate word of mouth about their company. (HubSpot)
- 72% of Twitter followers are more likely to make a future purchase from a business they follow. (Twitter Research)
- Social media is used by over 1 million SMBs in North America. (HubSpot)
How To Define Your Budget
Before you get started with social media marketing, you first have to define what your budget will be. Defining a marketing budget is something that makes many business owners cringe. Without a budget, however, you are setting yourself up for failure. So before we even discuss marketing tactics, we need to first define your budget. It is ok if this budget changes over time, but you have to have a set number before you can decide what to invest in. Start by answering the following questions:
1. What do you hope to achieve?
- Brand Awareness
- Social Shares
2. How will you measure success or failure?
- Number of Website Visitors
- Total Impressions
3. What are you currently paying, if anything?
- Are you seeing positive return on investment?
- Should you abandon these tactics?
- Should you increase your spend in these areas?
4. How fast do you need to see results?
6 Budget Friendly Social Media Marketing Strategies
1. Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, YouTube, Google+… The list seems to go on and on. Common sense might lead you to believe that the more places you are active in the better. In theory, this is true, but only if you have the resources and time to have an effective presence on all of these different networks.
But let’s be honest, you are reading this because you do not have such a luxury. Instead of creating accounts everywhere, focus on having a high quality presence on a few networks. Where should you start? Let your target market determine that. Find out where they spend the most time and start there. Remember, you can always create accounts on other networks as you grow. Spreading yourself too thin is the easiest way to burn through your budget without seeing the results you desire.
2. Use Tools To Save Time
Ask any marketer what their secret is and they will tell you about the tools they use. When it comes to social media marketing, you definitely need a tool to help you remain productive and organized. These tools can range in price, so you can align the tool with your budget. When you keep in mind how expensive it would be to hire an additional employee or a social media agency to manage your accounts, the price of these tools will seem like a steal. Before you dive into social media head first find a tool, like eClincher, to help you manage your presence.
Other tools that would would recommend to make your life easier are:
Buzzsumo: This powerful tool makes it easy for you to find out what content is popular by topic or on any website. You can even see which social networks is was shared most on, who backlinked to it and much more. Use this tool to find high performing content, as well as a source of content ideas.
Feedly: This content curation tool takes all of the hassle out of finding content to share. Simply add the topics you are interested in and it will find relevant article for you. Use this tool to quickly find content to share on your social accounts.
Canva: This design tool makes it easy for anyone to design beautiful images. Yes, even you. The tool is free, so go get creative.
Giphy: This tool gives you access to millions of free animated GIFs that you can easily share on social media. All you have to do is search, attach and post.
If you haven’t heard of Twitter Chats before, we recommend you click here. When it comes to return on investment, there are few things more promising than a Twitter chat. This is due to their engaging and viral nature. The best part? You can start a Twitter chat for little to no money. If you can spare a few hours a week to devote to hosting a weekly Twitter chat, we highly recommend it.
4. Leverage the Reach of Influencers
Imagine if one of the most influential people in your industry shared your content on social media. This nod of approval would immediately give you credibility, more reach and would hopefully boost your sales. Surely, you have dreamed of this exact scenario before.
When you have a small budget, this type of exposure seems impossible. By working with influencers you are able to take advantage of their large social media followings. For information on how to connect with influencers and implement an influencer marketing campaign, check out the following posts:
5. Co-Produce Content With Other Companies
We have all heard the quote “work smarter, not harder.” When it comes to creating content, this quote could not be more true. Did you know 54% of B2B marketers and 50% of B2C marketers cited “producing engaging content” as their top challenge? If you also face this issue, you are not alone.
At times it can seem impossible to consistently produce high quality content, especially when you are busy with other aspect of your business. One solution to this problem is outsourcing your content creation to freelance writers, but this can become expensive and hard to manage.
A better solution is co-producing content with another company. Ideally this cuts your workload in half, while allowing you to take advantage of their reach and credibility. I don’t know about you, but we like the sound of that.
Related Post: The Beginner’s Guide To Co-Producing Content
6. Be An Early Adopter
Depending on the size of your budget, you may want to experiment with paid advertising on social media. Unfortunately, you will be bidding against companies with much larger budgets. This can lead to higher bid prices or the inability to get the reach you want.
A great way to improve your odds is to be an early adopter of new networks. For example, when Facebook first released their advertising platform the cost per click (CPC) and cost per impression (CPM) were extremely low. Early adopters enjoyed massive return on investment. If you are struggling to compete for exposure on networks like Facebook, you should consider trying an emerging network that has significantly less competition.
You know your marketing goals. You know your marketing budget. You know several ways to succeed on social media with that budget. Now it is time to decide how you will effectively spend your budget.
This will require a solid understanding of your customers, which hopefully you already have. If not, try to define the following things:
- Job Description
- Preferred Social Network
Once you understand who your ideal customer is, it will be much easier to decide what to invest in. For example, if your target customers spend the majority of their time on Facebook, investing time and resources into hosting a Twitter chat might not be a good idea.
Be sure to be realistic with your expectations. Social media requires a lot of trial and error, so plan for at least a few months of testing and optimizing before you see consistent and noticeable results.
Now it is your turn. Share your tips and tricks for achieving social media marketing success with a small budget!
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