We may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.
Perhaps you’re thinking, “A shoestring budget? What if I don’t have a budget at all?” Whether your funds are limited or nonexistent, that doesn’t make a difference. Small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs can leverage free accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to amass sizable communities of followers, provided they understand how to use these platforms effectively.
Should there be a small amount of funds available, that’s even better. Each platform offers affordable marketing options. As a small business owner, you might wonder how to maximize your budget. Implement these tried-and-true strategies to cultivate an engaged social media community.
What’s That on Your Profile?
Start by scrutinizing your social media accounts and the information you initially provided when creating your profiles. Are your logos and business name consistent across all platforms? What about your profile descriptions?
Your ‘About’ section should ideally commence with a commitment to your customers. This is followed by the company’s introduction, outlining what it does, the benefits it provides to customers, and details regarding its location and service areas. Does your company succinctly express its purpose and the audience it serves? Make sure to optimize and update your descriptions and ‘About’ pages as needed.
Create Your Social Media Marketing Plan
The advent of social media for business felt quite sudden, and many small businesses eagerly joined the trend. While this move was advantageous, the haste might have resulted in overlooking the necessity of a strategic plan. If you haven’t yet developed a comprehensive social media plan and marketing strategy, now is the time to make a start.Small businesses and budding entrepreneurs can take advantage of LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter free accounts and build large communities of followers. If they know how.Click To Tweet
The key aspects of an effective social media plan include:
- Define your goals: Figure out what you most want to accomplish with social media. Make a list with the most important goal on top. Include secondary goals. For example, do you want to increase brand awareness? Is your top goal to sell more products or services? Do you want to send more people to your website,
blog, or online store?
- Identify your target audience: With social media, you can reach out to the whole world. But, do you want to? Identify your target customer and prospect. Plan your social media activities with your target group in mind.
- Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn — choose your platforms: Each platform is distinct and appeals to a different type of user. If your business is B2B, LinkedIn is the place to generate sales leads and strengthen your online reputation. If your business relies on visual representation, Pinterest and Instagram fit the bill. Twitter is ideal for artists, writers, and designers to build credibility, interact with colleagues and find potential clients. Facebook is probably the one social platform you should absolutely use. Facebook has the largest group of users and its easy flow of communication means you can engage with followers in effective ways. If you’re like most small-business owners, time is at a premium. Choose one or two social media platforms that fit your business and spend your time there. Creating a profile on every channel available and not engaging with each one is a cardinal sin in the world of social media.
- Plan your content: A common mistake among small business owners is failing to regularly post content on social media. Establish a social media calendar that outlines the dates, platforms, content types, and posting frequencies. If time is scarce, consider utilizing one of the free or affordable social media management tools to schedule posts for automatic upload.
- Please the eyes: It doesn’t matter what you do or sell, you have to use eye-catching images. People won’t sit and read a lot of text simply because there’s a bold headline. If you’re not a graphics genius, don’t despair. There are several free tools online where you can find great graphics and customize templates to fit your needs.
- Go all in: Engagement goes well beyond posting content. To use social media effectively, you have to find relevant and complementary sites, blogs, and experts, follow them, and share their content. Post and share information that fits the interests of your target audience.
- Use the analytic tools: Each platform offers a wealth of information for small business owners in the metric/analytics section. You’ll be able to see which posts garnered the most engagement, which was most shared or liked, and find out who your followers are. Understanding what your community likes and responds to gives you a map to follow going forward.
Deliver the Best
To captivate and retain your followers, it’s important to offer content that encourages repeated engagement. So, what kind of content should you post regularly? Industry news tends to resonate with LinkedIn’s B2B audience, while Twitter users appreciate updates on business and current events. Facebook followers are often drawn to quizzes, competitions, and heartwarming stories.
Ensure that the content you share is relevant to your audience, even if it isn’t directly linked to your business. For instance, if your small business is community-focused, your followers might be genuinely interested in a local high school basketball team’s participation in a state tournament.
Got a Little in the Budget? Here’s How to Spend It
For many small businesses, organic or free, social media marketing is all that’s required. If you have a small working budget for social media marketing, however, you can get greater results by utilizing some of the paid social media options available.
Facebook and Instagram are both great options for small businesses because of their low minimum spending levels. They also include an easy-to-use ad format and audience targeting options.
If Twitter is your platform of choice, consider paying for sponsored Tweets. LinkedIn offers several B2B advertising options.
Learn and Grow
As you become more aware of what’s working and not working in your social media strategies, make changes to reflect what you’ve learned. Nothing stays the same and what works for one business may not work for yours. Social media is a great marketing tool, but like everything else in business, you have to stay attuned to your customers as well as trends in your industry.