Social media can offer a gateway to more sales and increased brand awareness, but you need to be active in order to see the results. It isn’t something you can just do on a part-time basis. If you look at the major companies you will see that their social media is active 24/7. They have multiple shift covering every platform, making social media an extension of their customer support that is available every single minute of the day.
What if you are a small business with an equally small budget? Sure, you won’t be able to hire a multi-person social media team, but you can still be active and take advantage of the opportunity. Here are some ways to step up your social media marketing, even with a very limited budget.
Focus on the platforms your customers live on.
You will never do well if you try to master all of the social media networks. Rather than just participate on a bunch, learn to dominate the ones that have the largest audiences. If you know that most of your customers and the target audience you want to go after uses Facebook and Instagram the most, then put all of your effort on those two. Cut down the time on learning the best engagement channels with your customers and use social media monitoring tool to learn where your potential customers are concentrated. Be ready to help your customers with your product immediately and to improve and gather all feedback.
You will do much better with that approach, rather than putting in a weak effort on a half-dozen platforms that you aren’t even sure will produce results. A health blog isn’t going to want to waste time on LinkedIn, just like a resume writing service wouldn’t want to waste time and money on Pinterest. You have to know where your audience is active on social media.
“You will be much better off mastering two social media platforms rather than attempting, and failing, at several,” says Oliver James via Perth Web Design. “Instagram and Facebook are usually going to be the ones that offer the biggest opportunity simply because their user base is massive.”
Avoid fake followers and engagement.
Don’t buy fake followers, fake likes and fake engagement. “While you might think buying fake followers will make your your pages and content popular, savvy consumers can smell fake followers a mile away,” says Darryl Howard, an expert in blogging for beginners. “In the end this has a negative impact, as they will see it as a desperation move and decide to distance themselves from your brand.”
If you only have 200 followers, then so be it. Focus on providing them with great content and engage with them. They will respect this move and reward you by not only continuing to be a customer, but also by sharing and engaging with your content.
Consider hiring an outsourced social media manager.
If you can’t afford to hire a full-time social media manager in-house then consider going overseas to outsource the job. While $5,000 a month might be too expensive, what about $500? There are plenty of virtual assistants and social media specialists in developing countries that are qualified for the job that can be hired at a small fraction of the cost.
This allows you to put someone in place that can create content, reply to questions and make your business appear to be social media pros. It’s a great starting point that can really help to take your social media results to the next level.
“Don’t let outsourcing scare you,” advises Loren Taylor of Soothing Company. “Many of the largest companies in the world outsource this because the cost is hard to beat, and the results are comparable.”
Use a post scheduling tool.
Now, if you don’t want to outsource you can still attempt it yourself by using a post scheduling tool. If you take one day a month and set a couple hours aside, you can schedule all of your social media posts for the entire month in advance.
“You want to make sure you have something new going up daily that your followers can engage with,” offers Pedro Del Nero of Vaporizer Vendor. “You also should experiment with several different posting times.” Over time you can then use the data to see what times perform the best and on what days. Then you can optimize your posting month after month to go after the most engagement.
Don’t copy the large competitors — find your own voice.
When you are trying to learn how your followers will respond to you, don’t just copy what the big players in your niche are doing. If your audience also follows them (and they probably do) then you will just been seen as someone that is not original and who copies.
This is a good way to quickly push people away. “Figure out what makes your brand and social media voice unique and then leverage that,” says Jeannie Hill of Hill Web Marketing. “You will be rewarded if you are able to really shine in your own unique way, rather than just copying what works for someone else.” With so much noise on social media you need to find a way to be original.
Offer incentive for followers to share and engage.
One of the easiest way to get followers to like and comment and share is by giving them something in return. One of the easiest ways to see an engagement spike is by announcing contests. You can do it per post or just a weekly giveaway.
The key is to make it well known that you are doing a giveaway and make it known what your followers can win and how to qualify. You can drive a lot of awareness and engagement, and you will see that they are willing to participate even just for the chance of possibly winning something. The founder of P101 Pest Control rewarded social shares with a pest control warranty for taking the time to share. You can literally offer anything of value, from an extra service or a discount. Sometimes the smallest offerings will trigger sharing.
It doesn’t have to be of high value either. People just like to see winners, so make sure you highlight every single winner. This ‘social proof’ makes your giveaways look legit and you will get more participation this way.