Making Social Media Work for You on a Limited Budget

SocialMedia_Graphic-200x180You don’t have much money to work with but need to generate some brand awareness, generate leads, and earn sales. Some companies spend an extraordinary amount on social media marketing for the year, but getting results doesn’t necessarily require a ton of money. In fact, social media marketing offers some of the most economical marketing solutions at the highest rate of return. If your business hasn’t started using social media to meet marketing goals, consider it now.

On average, companies spend about $200-$350 on social media marketing per day. Companies on a tight budget may not have that kind of social media budget, and that’s okay. You can start with an investment of time and as little as $100 per month until you begin seeing some results.

If you have some spare time and a little wiggle room in your marketing budget, you can:

  • Create content. You don’t necessarily need graphic design skills, a writing background, or videography skills to create meaningful content on social media sites. All you really need is some time and willingness to research. For instance, if you want a fun and branding-appropriate flair for your social media homepage, use a free or paid service as needed.
  • Focus on graphic design and visual cues. Audiences experience imagery on a website before they register the text. Invest what you can in visual design. Focus on making all visual components support your message with a subtle nod to your brand personality and branding.
  • Update posts. Every social media campaign requires consistency to make an impact. Companies can’t post content sporadically and expect it to magically drive business. It takes time and a consistent approach to start building a following.
  • Free listings. Some sites allow you to input certain information to a directory. Use those opportunities to add your contact information, website link, and social media links whenever possible.
  • Learn about analytics. A tight budget may prevent you from hiring out a firm for SEO help, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of free and low-pay social media analytics platforms. Keep track of popular trends, monitor your reach across platforms, and measure the success of content to continually improve social marketing tactics.
  • Ask your personal network for help. Startups and small businesses need champions on social media. Ask friends, family members, and acquaintances to post reviews and positive feedback on your social media pages and to share posts. The more buzz you can generate, the more likely it is to spread further than your original network.
  • Make every piece of content shareable. You may have excellent content on your website, but if others can’t share it, it may not achieve its potential. Add social media buttons on every piece of content you post, from emails to blogs.
  • Use a social media management tool. Hootsuite offers a paid and free version for managing multiple social media platforms at once. Decide when and where content will post, and upload it to this one site for posting at a later date. If you have more money, you might want to try a more comprehensive tool like HubSpot. It can get pricy, but it offers many exceptional tools, guides, and strategies for anyone looking to make the most out of a social media campaign.
  • Invest a little in social media advertising to gain a big reward. If you’re struggling to build a following, you can purchase inexpensive ads from social media platforms. With as little as a dollar per day, you may increase brand awareness and an audience following of 4,000 individuals or more.
  • Target your market. With a little research and the right tools, you can narrow your campaign to focus on the marketing personas that make sense for your business. Use survey tools, social media demographic targeting tools, and industry knowledge to find out where your audience is spending time. Focus on getting your content to those areas.
  • Always respond. Failing to answer a comment on social media could mean a lost lead. Check social media sites daily and respond to user engagement as soon as possible. Use friendly, conversational language to encourage users to continue to follow your social media page and ultimately move to your website.
  • Keep your eye on a few platforms. Businesses on a shoestring budget may not have the time or money to control a social media campaign on five or six different fronts. Instead, focus on two or three social media platforms where you know your audience engages with the content.
  • Focus on adding value. Good social media practices can also help companies improve organic SEO. Google algorithms evolve regularly to incorporate more specific information including context to provide relevant search results for users. Create content your audience wants to read. The number of shares, likes, and click-throughs will naturally increase.

Social media campaigns can be simple or very complex. Until your company can easily support a larger budget for social media, stick with small, manageable goals. Regular posting, strategic investments in paid tools, and a focus on quality content will naturally help your business grow.