As a small business, we understand that your marketing budget needs to stretch as far as possible.
It’s entirely possible to promote your business effectively on social media platforms with a limited budget – and that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about in this article.
Keep reading to find out how to effectively promote your small business on social media with a limited budget in 6 steps.
#1 Choose the right channels
Identifying the right platforms to use for your business is key to making the most out of your social media budget. After all, it’s no point using TikTok if you want to reach people who are over the retirement age – 92% of its users are under the age of 50.
So how do you figure out which platforms to use?
To understand what platforms your target audience uses, we thoroughly recommend creating a social media marketing strategy.
Research which platforms are mostly used by the demographic you want to target. Don’t waste your time on platforms that won’t reach the people you want to reach.
This will give you the chance to research which platforms your audience use, and minimize the amount of time and money you spend on platforms that your audience won’t engage with.
What social platforms should you use?
There are a variety of social media platforms out there for you to choose from, and we understand that it can be overwhelming to identify the right platform for your business.
To help get you started, here are the top social media platforms used by marketers as of January 2020:
So which of these are right for you?
Ultimately, that’s down to you to decide.
You’ll need to do some research and figure out which platforms will work best for you and your business depending on the industry you’re in and the audience you want to target.
#2 Use a social media calendar
Once you’ve identified the platforms you want to use, it’s time to think about posting on your social channels.
One of the most efficient ways to do that is by creating a social media calendar. It’ll reduce the amount of time you spend on the social media channels, and will ensure that your content is aligned with your social media strategy.
How do you make a social media calendar?
To keep costs low, you can easily create a spreadsheet to plan your posts. You can then create diary reminders for yourself to post the pre-written content on specific dates at specific times.
But if creating your own calendar isn’t something you want to do, don’t worry. There are automated platforms out there that aren’t too expensive:
Later is the perfect platform for scheduling posts for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. It’s easy to use interface makes it effortless to keep on top of your scheduling, and to manage your media library.
From $12.50 per month, you can have access to their business plan – but only when billed yearly.
For those looking to post to a wider variety of platforms, SEMrush is a great tool. The software allows you to schedule posts for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google My Business.
Prices start from $99.95 per month, so a little more expensive than Later, but this price also includes access to SEO and PPC tools.
So, if you’re looking for something that reaches beyond social media scheduling, SEMRush could be perfect.
#3 Listen to your customers
One of the best ways to make your social media strategy work is to listen to your customers.
Social listening helps you emphasize the best features of your product, and even refine your product to make it more appealing to your target audience. Using a social listening tool like Mediatoolkit also allows you to track, monitor, and respond to your customers in real-time.
Whether it’s a brand mention on Twitter or a hashtag trend on Instagram, you should pay attention to what customers are saying about your brand.
Let’s take a look at this example from Designmodo:
In this case, Designmodo can use this tweet to revamp their marketing strategy. How exactly? By leveraging the ease of getting started and integrating it to their landing page.
This tactic can undoubtedly increase your leads and conversions. And if you look at their website, it’s pretty straightforward. Designmodo makes it easy for you to set up an account.
Let customers feel heard and more connected with your brand by listening to them on social media.
#4 Share your own, unique content
When you’re working on a limited budget, finding content to post on social media can be tricky.
Our advice? Use existing content from your website, and create new content with your social media strategy in mind.
By doing that, you’ll make the most out of what you already have by repurposing old content and create new content knowing that it can also be shared on your social media channels. It’s a win-win.
How do you create content for your website and social media accounts?
Here are a few things we’d recommend:
Free tools such as Canva are perfect for creating professional images and infographics to post on your website and your social media channels.
It’s a quick, easy and free way to create engaging infographics that catch the eye and provide useful information.
You’re probably thinking why you need a blog when you haven’t even created a website. Only 50% of small businesses have a website despite the benefits they provide, like boosting brand awareness through blogs.
Blogs are a great way to engage your audience in a conversation, and they’re great for SEO too.
Make sure your headlines are interesting and eye-catching to grab people’s attention while they’re scrolling.
Having a dedicated blog section on your website is also a great way to increase traffic.
EarlyBird, an investment gifting app for children, has a great blog to provide financial education to their customers and share company news.
85% of internet users watch online video content, so it’s definitely something that we’d recommend doing.
Video content doesn’t have to be complicated. It could be as simple as a video filmed on your phone of you introducing your business or talking about a product or service that you offer.
It doesn’t have to be a million-dollar Hollywood production. In fact, short videos are the best way to keep viewers engaged. This 30-second video on PropelPLM’s Twitter page gives a quick explanation of the benefits of using their product lifecycle management software.
#5 Provide links to your website
This is a really simple, easy and free way to encourage people on your social media channel to visit your website. And when we say it requires minimal effort, we really mean it.
Fill in your complete company information and, of course, a link to your website. Check out how LFA does this across their social media platforms:
This is definitely a quick and easy way to get people onto your site from your social media channels. And guess how much it costs?
If your website link is too long, you can shorten it online with some free tools, such at Bitly or Short URL.
Now, if your visitors are coming from your website, you also want to include them on your social media pages so they can easily follow and connect with you. In most cases, they are placed in the footer of your page.
Don’t forget about user experience on your website
If you’re directing people to your website, it’s also important that your website is up to scratch. User experience and conversion rate optimization specialist, Paul Boag, says:
“The layout of your website can define its success. Get the wrong design and people will be confused and disorientated, destroying the user experience.”
So don’t forget to think about the website design, structure and the overall user experience before you start directing people to your website. The last thing you want is for people to land on your site only to leave it again within a matter of seconds.
#6 Offer giveaways and competitions
Another great way to encourage engagement on your social media platforms is by offering a giveaway or competition that requires users to engage with your channels.
You may also choose to give your followers free information, such as access to ebooks and other downloadable content.
For example, Nlyte provides a link on their Facebook page to download their free ebook explaining their DCIM software. This is also a great way for them to collect data from potential leads.
You can also create competitions offering users the chance to win one of your products when they like, share and comment on your post by tagging a friend.
By doing this, your post will be shared far and wide without you having spent any money. Of course, you’ll have to provide the winner with what they’ve won, but in return you should have a larger following and hopefully, more customers in the future.
What’s the best way to pick a winner?
There are lots of free or reasonably priced apps out there that allow you to pick a winner at random. Here are a couple you can choose from:
Lukky is a free app that allows you to select a winner at random from the comments in your Instagram post. You can also do a live draw, which is pretty exciting for people who are waiting to see if they’ve won.
Osortoo integrates Instagram and Facebook posts to select a winner from both. This is a great app to use if you decide to offer a giveaway that requires people to engage on both platforms.
The app does offer a free trial, but to use the integrated version for Facebook and Instagram you’ll need to pay for a single pass, or sign up for a monthly/annual package.
#7 Partner up with other businesses
Developing partnerships with other businesses is a great way to build your online presence by spending little or no money.
Take Pottery Barn and Sherwin Williams as an example. The two brands partnered to offer a referral code on seasonal palettes:
The promotion was announced on both businesses social media accounts, and they also hosted live videos to discuss new color palettes and promote the referral code.
By partnering with another business this way, both companies have:
- Increased reach on social media.
- Targeted a similar customer base that they might never have reached before.
- Are likely to see an increase in sales and/or website traffic.
And not a cent has been spent!
There are plenty of ways you can promote your small business on social media without a large budget, so don’t worry if you’re restricted by the amount you can spend. You just need to get creative and think outside the box.
To make sure you’re spending time and money on the right platforms, and that you’re posting the right type of content, don’t forget to track your metrics and monitor your social media activity. If there’s anything we know about social media, it’s that the landscape changes quickly and often.
Is there anything we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below if there’s anything you’ve done to promote your small business on social media without spending a fortune.