Social media use and strategy are on the rise among business leaders, marketing executives and practitioners from around the world according to a recently released Social Marketing Strategy report from Ascend2.
While many respondents in the survey cited that the most effective tactics are often the most difficult and costly tactics to use, they don't have to be.
In this blog post, we'll cover how you can effectively market your small business while on a budget.
Each business may have their own objectives and KPIs, but some goals are consistent across the board. Ascend2 found that the most important objectives of social media strategies for companies are improving customer engagement and increasing website traffic as well as sales revenue. In order to do this, marketers are using a number of tactics including cultivating a blog and social followers.
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It isn't just enough to have objectives in mind. Businesses need to have strategies that help them meet and exceed those goals. A superior strategy will measure everything and focus on content creation and distribution. This is where social media comes into play.
- The SMM report found that the most effective tactics used are creating articles or blog posts (51%), using social sharing buttons (33%), creating audio/video content (32%) and administering branded social networks (27%). Social sharing ranks second while managing a social media presence comes in a close a fourth. For your small business to make the most of social media on a small budget focus on content creation, then your social sharing strategy.
Strategies for Success -- Creation and Curation
The social media world online is becoming more visual. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, right? Well a video takes that number to the next level. However, Ascend2 found that some of the most difficult social marketing tactics to execute are creating video and audio content as well as creating blog post and white paper content. Here are a few steps your small business can take, without breaking the bank, to create and curate video, audio, and written content.
- With PowerPoint and a microphone, your business can create high-quality videos. You won't have to worry about investing in an expensive camera or production equipment. Just make sure your videos add value to those you're trying to reach.
- Use sites that culminate content automatically, such as Feedly, to easily discover shareable content. Curating content can help you get ahead with drafting post for social media sharing and provide you with inspiration when you hit a writer's block.
- Repurpose your content. A podcast can become blog, use case studies as a basis in white papers and use social feedback
Strategies for Success - Distribution
Once you have the content your business finds most effective on social media, you need to distribute it. You can increase content reach by being present on the networks where your customers can be found and engaging with others.
- Invest time. Social media networks are about being social. Spend the time connecting those who will add value to your business and who you provide value to. This will help you build a lasting relationship.
- Consider social sharing partnerships. Once you've found other people or businesses and establish a connection, reach out to them directly and see if they'd be interesting in an equal cross-sharing strategy on social media.
- Utilize third-party tools. Hootsuite, Buffer and TweetDeck are just a few of the tools you can use for free to manage and optimize your social media presence. With autoschedule features, you can even reduce the amount of time spent sending out status updates and posts.
- Utilize the 1-4-1 and 1-to-3 rules to start. For every self-serving tweet or pin, share four pieces of content from other people and businesses and retweet an influencer. On Facebook and Google+, post 1-3 times per day.
Before your small business becomes active on social networks, you'll want to have a strategy in place so you can optimize the time and effort you'll be putting in. Take into account how you will create content, curate it and then distribute it.