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Social media marketing plays a key role in the success of your business.

If you’re just starting out on social media marketing, the budget can be quite enormous.  However irrespective of the size of your budget, you need to ensure that you get the maximum returns on your investment in social media marketing.

According to Marketing Sherpa, adults aged 18 to 34 years are 95% more likely to follow a particular brand through social networking. With the right social media marketing strategy, you can connect effectively with your existing customers, reach out to potential customers and generate better sales.

If you are strapped for cash or have invested your marketing budget on development, design and other essential aspects, you may have to operate on a very tight budget. Here are a few effective, economic and practical tips to help you reach your social media marketing goals on a budget.

1. Focus on the Strategy

The first step in an effective budget planning is to create a workable strategy. This needs your effort, time and most importantly some creativity. To ensure you get the strategy right, concentrate on what area of your business you want to highlight like an early promotional offer or brand promotion in general or to identify apt brand ambassadors for your product. A good strategy will help you to:

  • Identify your target audience
  • The specific social platform to use
  • The engagement mode your business intends to create

2. Slow and Steady

Social media marketing success is not an overnight process. It is a gradual one that has to be executed with diligence and patience. This will help avoid missteps that can cost you your business. To know an approximate budget for the social media marketing, here are some of the things you should consider:

  • The existing and potential social media networks
  • The objective you aim to accomplish with each of the network
  • Assign appropriate people to take care of the content and brand voice
  • Plan an editorial calendar for every month with the topic, publishing time and platform, images, author and other relevant details

3. Create Diversified Content

When it comes to content that you post on social media, make sure it is engaging and easy to share.  To enable this, use different types of content such as videos, blog posts, memes, photos, GIFs etc. While you are at it, ensure all the content including text and visuals are consistent.

You can also outsource content creation. There are business specific content and SEO sites to take care of the task. For instance, if you own Physiotherapy clinic, there are reputed sites that handle all the online marketing tasks needed to establish and grow your business.

To ensure the content is engaging track the key metrics including conversion and engagement.  Allot appropriate amounts to production of the different types of content and the analytic tools you use for measuring the engagement.

4. Explore Viable Social Media Platforms

While Twitter and Facebook are obvious choices that come to mind, the platforms are already saturated with plenty of marketing efforts. While the audience base is wider, you have to consider your budget and how to use it best. So explore other social media platforms and find out the platforms that your target audience are using. New and developing platforms offer better opportunity and less competition giving you the edge you need to engage and reach out to your audience.

5. Use Unique Strategies

While there are certain tried and tested marketing strategies that help you kick-start your campaigns, avoid being one among the crowd. Allot a small percentage of your marketing budget to spend on new out of the box concepts.

Social media is a platform that thrives on innovation. It is very competitive, fast paced and continuously changing. To meet the demands of the platform, you need to be creative and innovative in your marketing ideas.

6. Don’t Sell

Avoid sales pitches in the content you use on social media. The chief objective is to engage your audience and channel the engagement towards meeting your marketing conversion goals.

To enable this be personal and authentic. Storytelling is an excellent way to reach your audience effectively. So use it to the maximum.

You cannot expect to build an active customer base quickly. The best way to use social media is to garner the attention of your target customers as soon as possible. People are lured by the value and benefit you are providing and not the product. So build your marketing plan accordingly.

7. Use the Free Tools

Marketing need not always involve spending. Yes, social media marketing can be done with free tools too. You can record videos with your smartphone or webcam and upload them on Vimeo or YouTube. There are free sites for graphics creation such as BeFunky which you can use. Other ways include

  • Use Facebook Live for streaming content
  • Make use of Twitter chats, Facebook groups and Google Hangout
  • Use slide share for your posts
  • Host Instagram contests or an event on social media
  • Make use of content generated by users

You can begin with these free tools and once you have gained a good foothold, with an organized team, well planned content and data analysis, you can use more expensive ideas and blend them with the free ideas that worked to boost your marketing.

You should have a dynamic social media strategy that is scalable with the growth of your business. Make sure your planning aligns with your business growth by keeping up with new activity, managing the wider customer base and interacting more efficiently. If you are not adept in certain aspects of the marketing, it is best to outsource it. Time is valuable. So ensure the time you spend on social media is worth it.

If not, try delegating the task to ensure the process works effectively without your active input. In the early stages of your business, you are sure to be low on money. The main purpose of planning a budget for the social media marketing is to ensure the money you spend is returns to you manifold so you can reinvest it and develop your business. Ensure the money does not go down the drain. Measure the engagement and keep tweaking the strategy, until you have a winning one in place.

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