With such a large percentage of consumers active on social media, businesses must have a presence, regardless of their size. Don’t let a limited budget stop you from capitalizing on social media.
There are several ways that you can leverage social media to drive traffic, sales and revenue for your business. I polled a number of experts, entrepreneurs and business owners, who all helped contribute to this massive list of 99 social media marketing tips for small businesses with a limited budget.
This is an extremely long post, packed full of information, so make sure you bookmark it and share it on social media, as I am sure there are other business owners and entrepreneurs that could greatly benefit from reading this.
1. Make connections with influential industry members.
My best advice for marketing on social media with a limited budget is to spend your time messaging influential people in your industry. Our problem is obscurity — not enough people know who we are. Take your time to craft personal messages on your favorite social media, and get the attention of the people who matter most. It has worked wonders for us, better than any other tool, and all it takes is time and effort. You must stay persistent with this, it may take 100 messages to get a couple replies.
Rob Kessler, Million Dollar Collar
2. Write and publish round-up posts.
One of the techniques that has worked really well for us is doing round-up posts. To do this, you can reach out to 15 – 20 experts in your niche and ask them questions pertaining to your niche. For example, if you’re a content marketer, you can ask about the future of content marketing. Once you publish the roundup, you can reach out to these experts and ask them to share it across social media. This works really well as you get access to the audience of these experts.
Sumit Bansal, Trump Excel
3. Generate leads via LinkedIn.
The best social media marketing tip for a small business with a limited budget is to use LinkedIn for finding potential leads. It’s completely free and can be used as a database to drum up customer interest in an organic way. It can be time consuming but can help with increasing your network as well as marketing your business. All of the material you spend time creating to use on LinkedIn can also be used for the other social media networks you use. Once you’ve built up a substantial amount of connections via LinkedIn, you can cleverly import them into Facebook as well, making it a seamless and easy business tool.
Lanara Mitchell, ICAAL
4. Don’t ignore simple calls-to-action on Facebook ads.
Always add a call-to-action to your Facebook ads. Asking people to like your ad or page can greatly increase the number of followers and conversions you rack up. And yet, many marketers don’t think about writing something as simple as “Please Like Us” in their ad copy. A short and simple call-to-action can really make a big difference.
Gregory Golinski, YourParkingSpace
5. Create a social media worthy centerpiece at your location.
Invest in a social media centerpiece for your retail shop. Build or install a photo-worthy feature that invites visitors to take pictures of themselves that they’ll post on their own social media accounts — because what your customers say about your business eclipses anything you can say about yourself. For example, if you’re a sandwich shop, set up a podium and trophy for “Best Sandwich Eater” with cardboard cutouts of TV cameras and microphones from fake news stations. Whatever you create, make sure to include your business name somewhere in the feature, because most customers won’t think to tag you. When done right, a social media centerpiece becomes an engine that continuously drives customers to your store.
Steve Spatucci, Plasmic Studio
6. Use a content calendar.
Once you finalize your social media strategy, build a content calendar. It should include topic, channel, time of post and re-post frequency. If there is a team who is managing the social media efforts, then the ownership as well. There are numerous benefits of investing your time in the content calendar. It helps to maintain and track your efforts, and it is a good way to assess what kind of topics resonate most with your audience, which channels are working best and where to reduce effort.
Charu Babbar, Productivity Spot
7. Use Facebook custom audiences.
The best way to spend a limited budget is by getting in front of people already interested in your product or service.
If you have an email list of previous customers, create a custom audience with this list on Facebook, and then push relevant ads to these people. As they’ve bought before, they already know your brand and are interested in your product or service. Your money will be better spent targeting these people than pushing an ad out to a new audience and hoping they become a new customer. Previous customers are more likely to provide repeat business.
If you don’t have an email list, you can use the Facebook Pixel to build a custom audience of people who have visited certain product or service pages on your website. Apply the same principle and push relevant, timely ads to these people that have shown an interest in what your business has to offer.
Targeting people who are already familiar with and trust your brand will provide a better ROI than advertising to people who have never encountered your business before.
Emma White, Multi Layer Media
8. Be active in LinkedIn groups.
Discussion groups on LinkedIn are a much-overlooked tool. They allow you to demonstrate your expertise to the same group of people over and over without annoying people with buy-me messages. All they cost is your time. Look for groups that have 1,000 or more members, ten to fifty posts per week and a very close fit with your target market. If they have recognized experts participating, even better — you can become known to those people by responding to their answers.
Shel Horowitz, Going Beyond Sustainability
9. Show some personality.
Inject some personality. So many marketers get bogged down with facts, specifications and stats — but at the end of the day, no one really cares. Consumer behavior has changed — it’s all about creating an emotional connection with your audience. The easiest way to communicate with your audience on an emotional level is to simply communicate on a human level. Talk to customers directly, show the people behind your brand and get your customers involved in your marketing outreach.
Stuart Dudleston, Névé Studios
10. Join Facebook groups.
Facebook groups are filled with people looking to create and exchange information about specific topics, and providing them with this information is a very powerful way to drive traffic to a blog. Join a few groups related to your niche, and then establish a reputation as a thought leader in the space. Once you’ve done that, post a few links in the group.
Make sure to engage in insightful conversations with group members before posting links to your content. Spammers are easy to spot, and you’ll likely be called out for it if you don’t provide real value to the groups.
Also, actively engage with members who respond to your post. When Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm sees a high level of engagement, it considers the post “highly relevant” and will show the post to more members of the group.
Syed Irfan Ajmal, Ridester
11. Use local hashtags.
If you’re a small, local business I’d definitely recommend engaging in conversations with other businesses and entrepreneurs in your area through local hashtags. This is a great free way of getting your brand out there and you can even use a tool like Buffer to help schedule these messages.
Izaak Crook, AppInstitute
12. Share content using branded links.
Branded links allow you to share content on social media using short links that are on-brand, which is great whether you are sharing content from your own website or a third-party site. Because you are sharing links with your brand’s name on it, followers trust that the link won’t bring them to spam or a phishing site. So, this is a great way for small businesses to build trust, improve their click-through rates and look professional on social media.
Louisa McGrath, Rebrandly
13. Know your audience.
Too many companies spend all their time going on the latest shiny network, whether that be Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. But they never ask their audience where they hang out. The issue? You might have the greatest Facebook page ever, but if your audience isn’t on there, it’s a wasted effort.
Talk to your audience. Question them. Ask them where they hang out online. Ask them where they spend their time. Where do they prefer to receive marketing? Hint: they will tell you if you ask them. Companies who ask their audiences and actually get them engaged and invested in the company/product have higher sales than those who don’t.
Peter Shankman, Peter Shankman
14. Run a contest on social media.
Run a social media contest for free using Hootsuite. It also offers some free contest templates customized for different social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Business with small social media marketing budget can set up the entire contest campaign for free and offer giveaways to winners at the end of the campaign.
Omkar Padwal, Impulse Digital
15. Focus on creating quality audience-specific content.
Whether you’re a small brand, an artist or just a regular person, the key to building your audience on social media is to focus on creating high-quality, engaging content that is relevant specifically to the people you want to share your story with.
Forget about getting followers and likes and think about the relationship you are building with the people who are already following you. How can you publish something amazing that they’re going to go mad for? There’s no point posting clickbait, competitions, ads or using other sneaky tricks to get more followers if those followers aren’t going to love what you do and what you post on a daily basis.
Focus on feeding your biggest fans and then use whatever limited budget you have to reach relevant new audiences (using ads or via collaboration with others) who will follow you on social media and love all your future organic posts.
Keegan Webb, MARBLE
16. Leverage your existing data.
Communicate and incentivize your existing customers to join you on social media. Your current customers are the best place to start for growing your presence on social media. Your existing customers are more likely to be engaged since they are already familiar with your brand. Just make sure your content is different, consistent, and relevant on the social media platform first.
You can also use your existing customer data to grow your social media presence beyond your current customers. You can use existing customer data like names, emails, location, and purchase behavior to create an audience profile. You can then ask the social media platform to mirror this audience profile to help you find new customers who fit this profile and target them with ads which ask them to follow you in the social media platform.
Jonathan Simon, Jonathan Simon
17. Perform market research.
If you have a limited budget, one of the best things to spend time and money on is understanding who your target audience is and what they want or expect from a brand — but more specifically a brand in your product category.
Using the general rule of thumb approach to market data works so long as you have a great strategy and awesome content, but in general being short, specific and to-the-point is the best way to convince people about your service or product based on real-time needs and ideal delivery mechanisms etc.
This will also help you get an understanding of what competing brands or businesses are doing in order to create a more effective strategy that is tailored to your product or service.
Nate Masterson, Maple Holistics
18. Use audience targeting when running paid social media campaigns.
Target your ads so they are only shown to those who are likely interested in seeing them. This can be done geographically, by identifying the city, county or region, as well as by age, income and education level, interests and more. The more targeted you can be, the better the results. Also, don’t hesitate to experiment with a $5 ad for a day or two to see if it is really reaching the people you want to see it.
Kristine Gobbo, Spectrum Public Relations
19. Repurpose user generated content.
Utilize user-generated content, when possible. If your customers or users are sharing content about your business, sharing this content on your network is a great (and free) way to distribute relevant and authoritative content.
John Surdakowski, Avex Designs
20. Use Facebook re-marketing.
Make use of dynamic re-marketing ads on Facebook, especially if your products have attractive photography. These ads would be displaying products to people have already viewed your website. These ads normally work quite well, as people whom you are targeting are already familiar with the product and therefore more loyal. By spending a little, you are able to achieve a lot. Also, once set-up, these ads do not require too much attention to manage.
Alisa Nemova, SEO with Love
21. Focus on scalable campaigns.
I can tell you that small businesses should formulate repeatable, scalable social media marketing techniques. In order to achieve this, you must know your customers first. Start with what they want, and then dig deeper. Ask yourself: Where does my ideal target audience hang out in person and online? What content do they consume? What pain points do they have that your product or solution aims to address? When you identify these, start small with the intention of scaling the successful campaigns.
Elias Arosemena, Kruma
22. Consider alternative marketing solutions.
I’m the CEO of Orionsguard, which is the first and only marketing agency allowing small businesses to choose their own marketing price. I noticed an issue in the market where many small businesses needed social media marketing help, but couldn’t afford it. They cannot compete against large companies because they cannot afford the cost of an agency. How much they choose to pay determines how many posts they’ll receive per platform.
Zach Pittman, Orionsguard LLC
23. Optimize your social media profiles.
Business owners and marketing professionals tend to focus on SEO for their website, but see social media as a different ecosystem. Paying attention to the ‘on-page’ SEO of your social media pages can have two long term benefits that cost you nothing to implement.
Firstly, remember that the social media websites themselves rank highly in the search engines, and you can ride their success. Secondly, inside each platform there is a search box, social media websites have their own internal search engines where your audience can find you.
Do plenty of keyword research and then incorporate these keywords into your company pages as much as possible. Each title, URL or bio has limited space, so make each word count.
Jason Lavis, Out of the Box Innovations Ltd.
24. Search for people that have the problem that your product or service solves.
Find the questions people are asking that are relevant to your industry and provide the answers. Twitter is a great source for questions. You can use hashtags to find questions in your industry. You can use Twitter Search to keep track of certain keywords and phrases. For example, if you own a flower shop you can save a search on twitter for any tweets that contain the phrase “flower gift” or “flower bouquet”. Check it once or twice a day. Over time you’ll find your follower count and engagement increasing. You’re also connecting with potential customers and earning their trust.
Dayne Shuda, Ghost Blog Writers
25. Don’t make social media content solely about your business.
Most people don’t care nearly as much about your business as you do. It’s fine to mix company things in every now and then, but the last guy at the party anyone wants to talk to is the guy who does nothing but talk about himself. Start sharing interesting content you find elsewhere online — the type of stuff that your typical customer will find interesting, and I guarantee you that you will grow a larger and more engaged audience.
Dave Hermansen, Store Coach
26. Shift your focus.
If you want to succeed with social media marketing and you don’t have a big budget, you need to shift your focus. Stop “spending” on social media marketing — focus on investing to get the most out of your time and money. Start with a blog. Blogs are the nucleus of social media marketing and this is where the bulk of your social media posts will stem from. When you write helpful, thoughtful posts, your content becomes easy to share on all platforms. Search engines index the content on your blog, helping to boost search visibility, while the great content elevates your credibility. Blog posts can be shared and shared again, giving you more content for less time and money spent.
Lorrie Thomas Ross, Web Marketing Therapy, Inc.
27. Automate your social media posting.
We use a tool called Smarter Queue+ and it allows me to schedule up to 2,000 posts and access to analytics. About every two months, I take a day or two to schedule posts for the upcoming months. It’s a huge time saver and relief knowing I don’t have to worry about what’s posting regularly on our social media.
Lindsey Andrews, TorHoerman Law
28. Have a strategy in place.
Approach social media with a structured strategy in place. When you’re operating with a limited budget, you can’t afford to try everything. Stick to the platform most appropriate for your industry and leverage advertising opportunities on that platform. Facebook ads are typically the smartest route, and most likely to bring in leads if you put the work into developing the right audiences and A/B testing your ads. Keep your Facebook page fresh with posts a few times a week, but don’t go overboard — you’re not going to see much engagement or traffic from organic posts.
Maria Mora, Big Sea
29. Pick a platform and stick with it.
Pick a platform that makes sense for you and stick to it. As an example, I tend to wade pretty far off topic on social media, so Facebook isn’t a great fit for me, but Twitter is more engaging, so I spend more time there. Also, not every social media network is going to lead to direct sales. Keeping in touch with bloggers as an example, can lead to long term business success, instead of only short-term sales.
Mark Aselstine, Uncorked Ventures
30. Cross-promote with businesses that share similar clientele.
The key for small businesses is to amplify the reach of their social media content without paying for ads. The most effective way to achieve that goal is to find businesses that have a similar clientele but are not competitors. Do you bake wedding cakes? Partner with a photographer, wedding planner, event hall, bridal gown retailer or caterer and promote each other’s content across all your social media platforms to gain the maximum audience.
Zack Gallinger, Talent Hero
31. Narrow your advertising radius.
We have a small retail jewelry store and an online store. Our budget is small for advertising on social media, so we are very focused on our efforts. We only advertise 5 miles around our store on Facebook and Instagram. This keeps the spend low and the audience targeted. Most customers live close, so this allows us to target them specifically. We haven’t seen any increased foot traffic by going outside that range.
Jeff Moriarty, Moriarty’s Gem Art
32. Create videos at work.
People are inherently lazy, and they will always watch a video over looking at an image or reading copy. That’s why your small business needs to be making videos at work. Many business owners are camera shy and don’t want to create videos, but the fact is that you don’t need to have Hollywood level production anymore for your customers to watch it. Upgrade to a digital camera if you can, but use your smartphone if needed. The end result will be the same — you’ll create a bond with your local customers and they’ll be more likely to buy from you.
Bob Bentz, Purplegator
33. Go the extra mile for valuable social media love.
Unexpected, exceptional customer service should be every business’s best practice to build up brand equity with their customers.
After brainstorming we came up with an idea to tap into our customer’s soul through their pets. When a homeowner signs up for our service we gather information on if they have pets, and if so what are their names. We do this so our lawn vendors know to be careful when entering the lawn.
We decided we could use this info about our customer to send a personalized gift to our customers’ pet, addressed to them.
This really wowed our customers, we received personal thank you notes, videos of their dog chewing the bone we sent posted on Facebook, Yelp, and thank you tweets.
Gene Caballero, GreenPal
34. Experiment and master Facebook targeting options.
If you’re a small business, you should be doing Facebook Ads. These ads are quite affordable compared to Adwords and are more targetable due to Facebook’s data. You can get very specific with your target audience – you can target by job titles, location, interests, gender, etc – so finding potential clients in your niche is relatively easy.
There are also many different ways you can use the ads — they can be image carousels, website links, lead forms; anything you need, Facebook Ads can do — on a budget. Additionally, the dashboard itself is great at providing insight on your ad performance (cost per click, impressions, reach, engagement – you can even drill down further to see who has viewed your ad by age and gender). The data is very valuable and will, over time, assist you in finding out exactly who your market should be.
Roxanne Williams, Full Stack Talent
35. Post often and be consistent.
Once you’ve identified niche/subject area on each platform, then post often to distinguish yourself as an authoritative source. We use Buffer to schedule our post throughout the day on Twitter and religiously post everyday on the other channels. But, posting often doesn’t mean that you have to produce new content. Digital content never expires and is often not seen by the same two people. Systematically retweet old post so to reach new audiences to organically expand your reach and attract new followers.
Acacia Berry, Archaeological Analytics
36. Publish customer testimonials across all social platforms.
My top social media marketing tip for limited budgets is to invest in gathering video and text testimonials and endorsements from your most loyal customers and distribute them across all of your social media platforms. Nothing sells online better than social proof. Testimonials help to immediately validate and provide an emotional connection to your product or service. Not to mention, from a budget standpoint it does not cost a dime to take out a smartphone and film a high-quality video that you can distribute on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or to create a slick image overlay graphic with text. The only cost to you is time.
Justin Knott, Intrepy Healthcare Marketing
37. Invest in a time-saving tool like Hootsuite.
The best investment you can make on a small budget is a post scheduling tool like Hootsuite. One of the biggest factors affecting your social visibility is the time of your posts, and a post scheduler can help out with all major social networks, making it a very worthwhile investment. It allows you to set aside time to create posts for the next few weeks, then get back to running your business.
Alex Naoum, Alexander Paul Institute of Hair Design
38. Live-stream video content.
There is no cost to stream live and it’s the epitome of original, organic content which social media loves. The best edge rank and the best for the new Facebook algorithm — without a doubt, do live video.
Adam Smith, Core Finance Group
39. Keep up-to-date on trending industry news and events.
Insert yourself into the conversation whenever you can. Every day I scan the news, check trending hashtags and try to stay up to date with what people are talking about on social media. If you can relate to what’s trending relevant to your brand, you can increase engagement and followers in a big way. A few months ago, #Happiest5WordSentence was trending on Twitter so I inserted our mission into the conversation and tweeted, “Cure for all childhood cancers #Happiest5WordSentence,” with a photo of our founder, Alex Scott. It was one of our top posts from last year with over 1,000 engagements and was picked up by a few digital news outlets. The only cost was a few minutes of my time in the morning.
Jaime Horenstein, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation
40. Fish where the fish are.
Only invest in those social channels and platforms that make sense for your customers and prospects. Put yourself in their shoes and evaluate how you think they will likely engage with your brand, and where, on social media. You don’t need to be on every channel just to say you are — it’s better to use a small number of channels in a strategic and more impactful way.
Daniel K. Lobring, rEvolution
41. Increase frequency among high qualified targets.
Even a small budget behind promoted posts can go a long way, especially if you are an e-commerce retail operation. The key to maximizing a small budget is delivering a very specific message to a narrow target, with an increased frequency. Where you don’t have the volume, you should focus on increasing frequency among a highly qualified target.
Kimberly Price, Merkley+Partners
42. Focus on the ‘social’ aspect of social media.
Post about what topics are of interest to your target audience. Remember, people come to social media sites to be social, not to have you sell your product to them. I like to think about the 80/20 rule — 80% of your content should be informative, entertaining or useful in some way to your audience. The remaining 20% can be used to sell your product. Your ultimate goal is to connect with people who are interested in buying your product, and you don’t get that by selling to them. And make sure you respond to comments and questions — it will show your audience you are engaged and want to help them out.
Jessica Califano, Temboo
43. Aim to become a thought-leader within your industry.
Figure out where your ideal customers are already hanging out and learn how to use that platform to reach them. By consistently and congruently showing up, posting relevant information and being a thought leader, you can increase visibility and credibility as the expert in your area.
Dr San Ludhra, The Global Business Clinic
44. Use LinkedIn for your B2B lead generation needs.
One of the most effective digital marketing B2B channels is LinkedIn, as an earned and owned media channel for cost-effective lead generation. LinkedIn is the least tapped in terms of leveraging influencers. With over 13,000 connections myself, I’ve become a bit of an expert on the platform and see this as a big opportunity for 2018 and beyond.
There is no other platform that can target prospective customers with ads, based on employer, job title, location and other key factors. It’s ideal for generating awareness and credentials via thought leadership (posting updates and writing articles on LinkedIn Pulse) as well as participating in LinkedIn Groups.
Kent Lewis, Anvil
45. Focus on quality over quantity when starting out with Facebook ads.
Marketing on social media, specifically Facebook, is all about the quality of your audience over the quantity of your audience. Some businesses use big budgets to get their products and services in front of as many eyes as possible, but it’s not impossible to make an impact with a limited budget. Take your small budget and build a specific, well-targeted audience. You can target by location, interests, occupation, and more – even with a small budget, using optimum Facebook targeting can have a huge effect on your business. It’ll take some trial and error to build your perfect audience, but once you do, you’ll know that your marketing dollars are being well spent.
Jordan Zaplatosch, LuxeDecor
46. Follow the 80/20 rule.
When you don’t see growth just posting occasionally, your first instinct is probably to post more. Don’t be convinced that you need to be churning out content just so you can be in people’s newsfeed. Focus on posting when you have something interesting to say or just a post that is engaging and of value to the audience. If you’re promoting your products or services all the time, people are going to get bored quickly.
Your audience will become passive, they will briefly stop at your posts, and in the end, as a result, they will stop seeing your posts. Many channels now use an algorithm that determines who sees what you post and that’s largely based on who engages with you regularly. Follow the 80/20 rule — twenty percent posts about product or service, and the other 80 percent is interesting and shareable content.
Nedelina Payaneva, Asian Absolute
47. Focus on unique ways to help your customers.
I would advise a small business to go where your customers are, and then focus on the unique ways you can help. Facebook might be the social media powerhouse, but your customers might be having their conversations on Yelp, Instagram or Twitter instead. Dedicate your time there, instead of spreading yourself too thin or trying to build a presence where it won’t benefit you.
When it comes to what to share — identify where you can help. Maybe it’s in answering specific questions, pointing people to resources, or sharing relevant news to keep them informed (while allowing them to avoid the noise). Fill a void, and fill it where people are looking.
Lisa Barone, Overit
48. Use social media micro-influencers.
Find the influencers in your area and start finding out what they would charge for a social media shoutout post about your company. Avoid the big influencers who expect thousands of dollars in compensation. Target the small ones who will accept free product or a small amount of money. When one of these influencers posts about you, share it on your social media and ask all of your friends and family to do the same. If your product/service is worth buying, then those shoutouts can snowball.
Josh Matteson, Lula
49. Make social media a component of your overall marketing strategy.
We often hear that it is very important to be social and to engage on social media as a business, which it is, but it’s not often that we hear about strategy. As a small business it is imperative that you create a solid strategy for your social media content. This strategy should be informed by a larger overall marketing plan for your business.
Social media still needs to be targeting the right demographic, using the right keywords and addressing the right pain points. Social media needs to be seen as the marketing tool that it is, rather than only the social connector that many businesses treat it as. If you want results, treat it will professional respect and invest in the time and money to create a sound strategy. If you do not have a marketing plan for your business, that is where you need to start.
Kaare Long, a Cue Creative Marketing and Consulting Inc.
50. Share customer social posts.
Share, re-tweet and re-post user generated content (with permission, of course). People appreciate being recognized for quality content and are likely to engage with your post. Then their audience can see their interaction with you, which creates free impressions. This is also a cheap way of getting quality content.
Christine Elizabeth Cooper, Crissibeth
51. Consistency is key.
Not long ago, I managed the daily content and posting for a major tire brand on three social platforms. The best piece of advice that I can offer for any brand regarding their social channels is to post relevant content that offers value to your audience on a consistent basis. Do not get overwhelmed in the ever-changing opinions of how many posts per day, per channel provide the best engagement. That aspect is an ever-changing moving target. The consistency of your posts is what matters. When a customer is checking out your social channels and sees weeks, or even days, between posts it sends a negative message about your brand. Be consistent and use a scheduler to help the process, if needed.
John B. Robinson, Purple Monkey Garage
52. Use polls to generate a buzz.
Source content from your followers by way of “voting” and polls. Affording user’s the chance to sound off is an effective tool that generates buzz organically and brings users back to see how other users may be affirming or opposing their viewpoint.
Jake Tully, TruckDrivingJobs.com
53. Understand you will need a limited strategy.
Limited budget means that you need a limited strategy. Don’t try to do everything possible on social media. Instead, take an honest inventory on what your brand really needs, limiting yourself to 1-2 objectives max. Then be honest with what social media strategies and tactics are best at driving to that. Need to drive e-commerce visits and sales? Then run a highly targeted content campaign that creatively drives users to your website for purchase.
Also, resist the urge to grow vanity metrics like followers or fans. Instead, focus on defining who you need to reach and what actions you need them to do. By focusing here, your social strategies will make more sense and better connect to your objectives.
Lisa Braziel, Ignite Social Media
54. Combine social media and content marketing.
Content marketing and social media are perfect for one another and they are powerful when combined. I have found that one of the best uses of social media is to be useful to your followers by giving them content that they enjoy seeing in their social media feeds. Not only will you see engagement levels go up, but conversions as well. You need to be inherently useful to your followers. Not just kind of useful but truly useful and they will keep you close to them.
These social platforms are unprecedented because they put businesses and their friends together and their friends aren’t constantly trying to sell to them, so you shouldn’t either. Give them something that is useful to them, and they’ll be happy to complete a lead capture form, subscribe to your e-mail list or follow you on social networks. These permission-based marketing vehicles allow small businesses to continually engage with these potential clients and win business.
Jayme Pretzloff, Wixon Jewelers
55. Identify your own sharing time.
Each company has different target audience. So, your audience will have different active times on Instagram. Many social media specialists have wondered what that right time to post on social media is, and you have to be mindful of the target audience’s location. For GREAT WINE, Inc., as we target audiences in both the U.S and China, we depend on both time zones to schedule our posts. So, do not follow the posting schedule rule you find on a blog article. You need to test and post according to your audience.
Lili Le, GREAT WINE, Inc.
56. Recognize that social media marketing is marketing, pure and simple.
It would be nice for users to engage with your business via social media, but the fact is most people look to social media for its “social” benefits – to connect with people they know. Accordingly, commercial appeals usually fail.
So instead of approaching social media platforms as outlets for sharing information with prospective customers (as you might for your own social media presence), think of social media platforms as advertising outlets – places you can buy space to guarantee your message will be seen by the defined audience you want to reach. Sponsored posts are among the most affordable ways of reaching thousands of eyeballs, and you have the ability to do so with razor-sharp targeting. A small budget goes a long way.
Daniel Weinbach, The Weinbach Group
57. Use your email list to kick-start your social media accounts.
When you’re starting with social media marketing, things can seem a little bit difficult, especially if you don’t have much of a budget. If you’ve been doing marketing for any length of time though, it’s likely that you will have started to gain an email list. This can be used to kick start your social media accounts.
We all know how effective Facebook is as a digital marketing tool. With 2 billion active users it has by far the largest potential audience for your brand. How to access this audience and get them to like your page can be tricky though. As well as opportunity, there is an equal amount of competition. There are many ways to leverage your current audience to get them engaged with your Facebook page: website/social media integrations, call-to-actions, etc.
One that’s often overlooked though is Facebook’s built-in ability to invite users to like your page using their email address. You can import your email list into Facebook by logging in to your business page, clicking on the ellipsis button (…) then on ‘Suggest Page’ and upload your contacts here. This will then send out invites to like your page. While not everyone will accept the invitation, you’re certain to get a number more likes to your page and a valuable new avenue for engaging with your audience.
Jordan Harling, Wooden Blinds Direct
58. Be an authentic brand.
The most important thing you can do in order to garner interest and support via your social media channels is by staying authentic to yourself and your brand. Though good photography, videos, and content are 100 percent vital to having a strong campaign, if you do not have authenticity in your posts, it just looks like the myriad of other companies trying to be something that they may not be. Post regularly, double check your work and be authentic to who you are.
Dan Salganik, VisualFizz
59. Do your research and provide content that resonates.
Your social media channels aren’t likely to be successful if you just post a stream of sales pitches. Users aren’t interested in seeing this on social media, so they tend to just tune out anything that looks like a direct sell. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use social media to sell your products, you can, but you need to post it between engaging content that resonates with your customers.
This way, people will engage with your brand more and see you in more of a positive light, leading to them being more accepting of your sales pitches as a result. For this to work however, you need to know who your customers are. Who is a typical customer of your business? What TV shows do they watch? What products do they buy? This sort of research will help you to produce more relevant content which will resonate with customers more.
Alex McCormick, It Works
60. Use free tools like Canva for beautiful images.
Utilize free tools such as Canva, which allows you to create your own graphic designs to share. It’s useful in multiple ways, especially since people can remember visuals days after with up to 90 percent accuracy. Create your own sales ads, product highlights, or exciting events going on at your business.
Take a famous quote or mantra that your business believes in and create a more compelling design to establish trust with your customers. Make your own quick infographics and blog header images to increase your traffic and add a polished look to your online presence. While this does take some time, Canva is incredibly user-friendly and you’ll find it’s an excellent addition to help make your social media posts pop more.
RaShea Drake, Verizon Business
61. Stick to one or two channels that you can really own.
Depending on what your goals are, that will help dictate what social channels you may want to use. For example, we’ve focused on Instagram as one channel to help build a better perception of our brand — high quality compact appliances that fit into your life. The other main channel for us is YouTube as we use it to show how our products work and for troubleshooting. Both of these are low cost to be on and unlike Facebook, most of your followers will see your posts without having to promote them.
Andrew Stephenson, NewAir Appliances
62. Use brand-relevant hashtags.
Social Media Marketing for small businesses is all about connecting with a wide range of consumers, each in different shopping moments. A simple yet effective way to engage your brand with a specific audience is to make use of popular hashtags in your community.
Whether you’re promoting an upcoming event or simply want to get people to know your brand exists nearby, community-known hashtags allow you to refine your social engagement. Start off by exploring hashtags used in your area and build out your hashtag strategy to include relevant tags. They key here is relevance, as hashtag spam is a social media no-no. Making use of brand-relevant hashtags allow your business to be easily discovered by the right audience in the right location.
Gail Gregerson, RingPartner
63. Create an informal Facebook group for your business.
From your brand’s Facebook page, click on the option to create a Facebook group but name it informally — don’t use your business name. As an example, Ryan Stewman, owner of Hardcore Closer, created a group called Sales Talk For Sales Pros which now has over 70,000 members. Facebook groups can be an easy way to create positive relationships with thousands of potential prospects and industry influencers. Make sure the group provides something of value to your specialized market. This creates a low-pressure place people in your industry can come discuss news and events. As the provider of this benefit, your status is elevated.
Justin Quick, Netblaze
64. Test with a small $200 monthly budget.
A $200 monthly budget can effectively reach a targeted, local market. Start out by “boosting” Facebook posts. It’s simpler than creating an ad and you’ll still get to take advantage of Facebook’s targeting options.
With Instagram, develop your own style by posting beautiful images, stories and compelling content. Host a contest and ask your followers to tag a friend or two in order to win. Look for micro-influencers who might host a contest for you in exchange for product or service, rather than monetary compensation.
Trayce Zimmermann, TrayceZPR
65. Hire interns to manage your social media.
Don’t have funds to hire a pro for a social media strategy? Contact your local college and talk to the head of their marketing program. Ask for a couple of interns in exchange for college credit. Each school has a set of guidelines for their intern program. Most interns are very eager to get started, which leads to them taking control and creating a killer strategy.
Veronica Amarante, Amarante Communications
66. Spend time growing your personal LinkedIn network.
LinkedIn is an obvious place for B2B businesses to connect with their audience. To make the most of the LinkedIn algorithm you need to grow your personal network. Create posts from your personal profile that do not include a link, as LinkedIn is much more favorable to posts that don’t link outside of its network.
Images and text work best and will help to spread your brand. You can go back to published posts and add links or include them in comments. Once your reach has increased, you can then start sharing your company page posts that include links to your content. As a small business owner, I’ve brought in a number of clients from these text-based posts.
Penni Stanton, Kabo Creative
67. Use the correct stack of tools and software.
A clever social media management software stack can go a long way in making sure you get the most out of social channels on a budget. Using Buffer, Hootsuite or Sprout Social to schedule tweets without spending all day on it is key for small businesses to cut down on the time requirement associated with monitoring and maintaining all of their social channels.
Next to that, products like Crowdfire can help strategically target the followers of competitor accounts and try to get them to follow you instead. Finally, if you want your accounts to tweet and post by themselves a clever IFTTT recipe will do the trick. Auto-retweet your favorite influencers or post articles of the best industry publications regularly to keep your audience engaged.
Nicholas Hopper, Crozdesk
68. Give responses to get responses.
Spend an hour every day commenting on the feeds of people or organizations that are part of your target audience. Social media marketing is a two-way conversation. Your comments spark curiosity and attract attention back to your feed. It’s not simply about posting content and expecting people to engage.
Julia Labaton, RED PR
69. Post live video content on Facebook.
If you have a limited budget, your best choice is going to be Facebook Live videos. Facebook Live is the changing the way people interact with content on Facebook. It’s fast and free and anyone can do it – all you need is a smartphone. That means no need to hire a photographer or wait for editing. It also boosts engagement. According to Facebook, people comment more than ten times more on Facebook Live than on regular videos and the Facebook algorithm treats Live and native (uploaded) post differently. Because of this, Live videos are more likely to appear higher in News Feed while they’re live.
Kyle Miller, Bellhops Moving
70. Use a chatbot.
Chatbots are consistently returning a lower than average cost-per-lead (CPL) for our clients. Implement a simple sequence that pulls leads into your system and follows up to convert them to new business.
Karen Sahetya, Brand Central Marketing
71. Leverage your customers.
Due to advertising overload, consumers have learned to ignore traditional advertising channels, and are now relying heavily on the endorsements of their friends, family, and social influencers. While this has been detrimental to the effectiveness of traditional marketing, it has opened up a tremendous amount of opportunity in the social media space.
Although there are many ways for businesses with a limited budget to use social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram as a marketing tool, an effective social media marketing strategy we use to grow our audience is leveraging our target consumers’ personal network to do our advertising for us. This tactic is similar to a social influencer campaign, however, we are using our actual customers. We incentivize our customers to share our products and their experience with us on their personal social accounts, which allows us to tap into their network of friends and family, effectively amplifying our advertising efforts and helping us earning new business through these personal endorsements.
This simple tactic is a great low-cost way for small businesses to kickstart their social media marketing efforts.
Matt Edstrom, BioClarity
72. Utilize the staff and team members you currently have.
For small businesses with limited budgets, utilize your own employees. Establish a social media schedule for sharing worthwhile information related to your business (not sales pitches for your business) and rotate responsibility among employees with the other employees re-sharing the social media of the person who is at bat.
Important first step: Review everyone’s personal social media accounts that will be used for this marketing plan to ensure respectability. Then provide templates and examples of content to be shared so that all employees understand what is appropriate for the business.
Phyllis Zimbler Miller, Miller Mosaic LLC
73. Leverage user-generated content on social media.
One thing that small business can and should leverage as much as possible is user-generated content. According to ADWEEK, 76 percent of customers find content posted by other consumers to be more honest than brand generated content. Some examples that can be used include testimonials, guest blog posts, photo or video contests and sharing customer stories.
Encouraging customers to submit content to be featured not only will increase customer loyalty by allowing them to feel a more direct human connection to a brand but also rewards the customer with a form of social currency that can then be shared within that customer’s network and consequently increase a brand’s organic reach.
Cassie Gonzalez, OnePitch
74. Measure and track all social media marketing efforts.
Most importantly, measure and track all social media marketing efforts back to your bottom line. It’s easy to spend a lot on social media management and get nothing back. A better use of this money is to do the management yourself and pay for ads to reach more people.
As for creating content, pay attention to what posts catch your eye in your personal life. Save, pin or like these posts to analyze what types of content worked on you. Remember, people use social media for entertainment. Be human and understand what value your social posts are adding to people’s lives. Instead of posting just to post something, be helpful. When it comes to catching attention, there are plenty of free image tools to help, like Canva or Infogram.
Michelle Kubot, Ambrosia Treatment Center
75. Don’t spread yourself too thin.
For anyone with limited resources, just be careful not to spread yourself thin. Focus on one social channel and hit it hard. Do that by becoming an expert and learning to use the latest features to take advantage of new trends. You’ll have to put in the time, but with persistence it will pay off. Always keep it about your customers: solve their needs, be an authority in your field, be available and be ready to engage and take the conversation deeper.
Michael Loguidice, Labor Finders International
76. ABC (always be creating…content).
Content, content, content. It doesn’t matter if you have a big budget or a limited budget when it comes to creating a following on social media. In fact, we gather about 20 to 35 new followers a week just with organic, raw, live video, stories and posts. The trick is to have more content. That’s really the difference between you and your competitor. Add video and photos of the processes and people inside your office. Take videos and photos with clients. Take selfie-type videos outside the office while you’re running errands for your company. Bring your audience behind the curtain.
Vince Lefton, Bulldog Adjusters
77. Spread your brand awareness with quality content.
The easiest marketing tool a new business owner can start with is social media. Most of us have experience using social media in our private life so it makes for an easy stepping stone for your business. Using it as a platform to spread your brand awareness with quality content and online-interacting with your client base should be your first step. It’s also important to interact with complimentary businesses social pages, as long as they are not a competitor. These online interactions are a win/win for both parties.
Jeff Hands, Optimum Control
78. Focus on building relationships rather than just sales.
If you are a small business with a limited marketing budget you can still generate some great interest on social media. People want to do business with people they like, and they also want people they like to succeed and will provide you referrals. So, one of the best things you can do on a budget is show the personality behind your brand. Create content that builds a strong relationship with your audience, have that be your focus and don’t concern yourself too much with vanity metrics like how many followers you have, they don’t equal dollars in the bank.
Natalie Athanasiadis, Ormi Media
79. Invest your time into creating compelling content.
Brands on a budget have to leverage what they have. There are powerful features on every platform that enable live video content, blogging, and of course, taking photographs. If your budget for social media can only accommodate the time it takes to dream up the content and post it, then I’d recommend leveraging those features. They can go a long way.
You can show a lot of process and thought leadership with a well-done live video, or one recorded on a smartphone and posted later. Photos go a long way in telling a story, and compelling, long-form posts can get a lot of traction. It’s not always about the money poured into photography, video, or coordination. It’s about the experience of the content and the message. Find what works for you, and it will start to produce a return on investment. Even if that investment is just time.
Kristine Neil, Markon Brand
80. Contact influencers directly.
Influencers are way more approachable and excited to hear from you than you think, and you can contact them yourself without going through a PR firm or paying for some expensive service that finds influencers for you. Get on Instagram, poke around, and see who may be a fit for your business. If they list an email address in their profile, use that. If not, DM them.
In my experience, micro-influencers (2,000-15,000 followers) are even more effective than mega-influencers. Their audiences are more engaged and still see them as a friend/peer as opposed to some unattainable celebrity. In fact, I was able to tie over 15 sales directly to a specific influencer recently — usually, there’s no way to do so, but her audience was eager to tell us that they purchased our product because she recommended it because they wanted to support her.
Chelsea Cole, ADO Digital
81. Identify what resources you have available.
The biggest thing to remember when you’ve got a small budget is to prioritize which social channels you actually use. Businesses are better to be present on less social channels and do a great job, than be on every social channel and do an average job. In order to do a great job on social, figure out what resources you have that will allow you to provide the most value to your followers.
If you can take awesome photos or have time to re-gram images, go for Instagram. If you have money for ad spend, consider a targeted Facebook campaign to reach your audience.
Whatever the platform, ensure you’re putting yourself in the best position to provide value for your audience.
Vivien Conway, Ace The Gram
82. Use the correct type of customer testimonials.
Be careful with testimonials and don’t be a braggart. Too much bravado can cause problems, as people will question their authenticity. Testimonials that can help customers learn more about your business and your products are beneficial, but those that don’t say much beyond the product or service being great don’t help prospective customers make a buying decision.
Justin Lavelle, BeenVerified
83. Start a $5/day Facebook campaign.
Run a Facebook boost post campaign targeting your audience and with as little as $5 a day, you will see results.
Vicky Llerena, Social Vibes Media
84. Understand the key differences between Facebook, Instagram and Twitter ads.
Small businesses need to know where their customers hang-out, and what kind of interactions are most important to them online.
Facebook pages don’t have many interaction options, so it will require a budget. Facebook ads are best for driving website traffic and advertising products and sales. The better you know the demographic of your customers, the more effective the ads.
Twitter ads are much more expensive than Facebook ads, and not always as effective for driving traffic. Twitter is, however, quite useful for building an engaged community, and providing customer support via a more informal medium.
If it is a lifestyle brand, then Instagram is essential for telling their story, and showcasing their success. Instagram ads go through Facebook and are best for building awareness. From my experience, Instagram ads with a bit of humor have the greatest success.
Alexis Chateau, Alexis Chateau PR
85. Use non-promotional content to spark engagement.
Engage your followers with non-promotional content. Stop linking to your website or posting promotion codes non-stop. Instead, give your audience content that actually helps them, and they might enjoy. For instance, if you own a shoe line, instead of just putting out link after link of pumps, put together a top 10 list such as “Fabulous Fall Fashion for your Feet” or a graphic that illustrates how you know your shoe is ill-fitting. By giving your customers content like this, it shows them you care about them, and they are more likely to engage.
Christina Hager, Overflow Story
86. Keep your audience constantly engaged.
Audience engagement helps create your brand’s authority. It also increases credibility. Keep sharing quality content that is trending. If you do not have the resources to constantly create new pieces, then you can always curate content. Do not limit yourself with sharing any one kind of content. Share videos, images, articles and infographics to give your audience variety. Organize online contests with interesting and valuable giveaways that ultimately will bring in more followers. Build relationships and use social media to engage in conversations. Add a personal touch by signing off with your name rather than using your brand’s or create a brand personality to represent your brand.
Sree Devi Sowndarya Kishore, Social Animal
87. Create lookalike audiences on Facebook.
Create lookalike audiences off of your best customers based on either high lifetime value or number of purchases. These types of customers give you the greatest ROI for every SMM ad dollar invested, so focus your prospecting dollars around finding more customers like them. If possible, try to upload at least 1,000 customers to give lookalike models enough data points to run on.
Jens Nicolaysen, Shinesty
88. Story tell to create organic growth.
My number one tip for small businesses with limited marketing budgets is to story tell in order to build their channels organically. I recommend documenting your journey in business, telling customers about your process, products and pricing. For most, I’d focus on the two most popular channels which are Facebook and Instagram. As you start to build a presence, I’d then look to spend a bit of cash on paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram ad platforms — these are currently the most underpriced opportunities available.
Jason Scott, Archway Cards
89. Start with a minimal test budget of $100/month.
Spend $100/month on native advertising within any platform you’re investing in – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Be sure to create a well-targeted audience (either customers built to match your target market or using lookalike audiences) and be sure your engagement rate is growing while your audience does. This will validate that A) you’re finding the right people; and B) you’re sharing content that resonates with them.
Tessa May Marr, Mad Media
90. Engage the right influencers for your brand to experience exponential growth.
We use influencer marketing as part of our digital marketing strategy for Instagram (363k followers), and it’s our favorite platform because we get the most engagement out of it. Our target audience includes fashion-oriented people who attend music festivals and enjoy electronic dance music. We engage in influencer marketing in a variety of ways. We find popular accounts who meet our criteria for selection, and we engage in a conversation to gauge whether or not it’s a good fit.
For us, the most important element of an influencer package aside from cultural fit, is the overall reach of their account. We measure our return on investment based on the number of impressions we receive, how much referral traffic we get, and of course — how many sales come as a result of the campaign. Aside from influencer marketing, we also do a lot of giveaways. Typically, we give away festival tickets. We encourage our fans to tag five of their friends and share the contest, which helps our page grow exponentially.
Brandon Chopp, iHeartRaves
91. Respond to all social media followers, questions and comments.
Interact with all of your social media followers. Never delete comments and always answer every single person. Trust me, they notice.
Brian Corsetti, Corsetti Cruisers
92. Don’t worry about limited budgets — just post consistently.
The cheapest form of social media marketing is posting on your social media accounts on a regular basis. All you need to do is take a few minutes out of your day to post something that is going to be intriguing to your audience. The more interesting and useful your post is, the more people you have the potential to reach. And the best part of this method is that it’s free.
Samantha Walls, InTouch Marketing
93. Make sure your social media profiles (and image) are consistent.
Make sure your social media profiles tell a consistent story. When you try to be cool, or a partier on Facebook or Instagram and very buttoned up on LinkedIn, it may raise a question as to who you really are. Authenticity is key personally and professionally.
Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls
94. Analyze your competition.
The most time and cost-effective tactic you can employ in your social media strategy is competitor analysis. If you don’t want to or simply cannot afford to conduct huge experiments, the first place to look is your competition. First of all, analyzing your rivals’ social media strategy will show you what works and what doesn’t work for your niche, what kind of content resonates with your audience most and what tactics don’t bring much value.
Don’t forget why you need social media in the first place – to communicate with your customers, gain more visibility and provide some customer support. So, there’s one more thing you can achieve by looking at competitors’ social media profiles – you can always see what their customers are complaining the most about (and make sure your service/product implements that competitive advantage) and delicately spy on unhappy customers of theirs who are already interested in the service/product your competitors provide but might be looking for another provider.
Anna Lebedeva, SEMrush
95. Repurpose your website content across social media.
If you’re a business that has a lot of content but haven’t done much on social media, I would recommend pushing out your pages and blog posts via an evergreen campaign via a tool like Meet Edgar or Social Bee. So, if you have 100 combined pages you want to push to social media, you can push those out every 3-4 days, randomly, about 3 times a year. At that point most of the work is done, all you would need to do is sprinkle in new content, offers or exciting company news.
Cale Loken, 301 Madison Consulting, LLC
96. Account for every dollar and what you aim to accomplish.
You need to first define what you want to accomplish and then where every dollar should go. Is it building brand loyalty, increasing sales or follower growth? Maintain that strategy and target your social ads accordingly. With the new Facebook and Instagram algorithms, platforms for businesses are a pay-to-play arena and participation is required to keep up with competitors.
Post ads that your target audience is craving and utilize behaviors, interests and demographics that are supported by research. Targeting is essential to maximizing the most out of your social media dollars. Pull monthly reports and track hard numbers on the performance of your posts; exploring what works and what doesn’t for your specific audience will keep your business on the right track moving forward.
Laura Kenat, Jo Chicago
97. Invest time in relationship building.
The best tip for those with a limited budget is to spend a little extra time forming a relationship with your customers via your company’s social media channels. Letting your customers know you are there for them is the quickest way to earn repeat clients and garner word-of-mouth business.
As technology continues to evolve to make things easier, some aspects are losing that human connection. How frustrating is it when you call a business and get transferred from automated message to automated message just hoping you get connected to a person to talk to? Social media is quickly becoming the new customer service line and gives customers the opportunity to communicate directly with your business.
Greg Corey, Porchlight
98. Diversify your social media content.
Diversifying the type and source of the content you share demonstrates the extent of your industry knowledge. It also ensures you’re both driving consumers to your business (with your own content) and expanding the reach of your content, by sharing content from leading industry sources, preferably publications. In the case of the latter, it’s crucial to tag brands when possible. Tagging gets your content in front of the source’s audience, in addition to your own, meaning more eyes will see your work.
Randi White, SJC Marketing
99. Stay up-to-date on industry trends.
It’s critical to review what your competitors are doing on social media. Pay attention to the kind of content they’re putting out, at what cadence, and which audience they’re targeting. Make a private list of your competition on Twitter. That allows you to both mimic their best practices and know what you’re doing to differentiate yourself. It’s an easy — and free — way to make sure you’re aware of the trends in your industry.
Sunny Nickel, TINYpulse