Article

Adeel Khero
Adeel Khero 7 March 2017

How To Use Social Media On A Small Business Budget

If you’re the owner of a small business or a start-up, chances are you're running low on a marketing budget. So what should you do to spend less and get more exposure and brand awareness? Let me share some simple and easy ways to make your brand stand out with a rock bottom, or almost free budget.

Many of the start ups and small business owners don’t have the financial backbone to fully support their marketing objectives. Their main emphasis remains on generating at least some sort of brand awareness or revenue stream that eventually starts helping their larger marketing plans. And it’s understandable.

Social media marketing is the quickest and cheapest form of “brand activation” tactic that should be used in a calculated manner. WeAreSocial’s global digital snapshot 2016 mentioned that out of 3.4 billion internet users, 2.3 billion are active social media enthusiasts. This clearly shows that the total addressable market is most likely to have a social media account on any of the popular social channels like twitter, linked in, face book, instagram, you tube, snap chat or others.

Global-Snapshot-Jan-2016.png

The choice of social channel is dependent upon the product, services type and market segment. Since small businesses wouldn’t want to waste their precious bandwidth or money on generic efforts, choosing the best possible social channel would be crucial.

Here is how you can start:

Follow a Content Calendar, Strictly!

A content calendar file holds almost everything related to a full blown content creation and marketing plan. One can easily list down targeted business keywords, industry segment, press releases, ETA for publishing and even the size of that content to be created.

sample-content-calendar.jpg

Use this file to push out targeted and controlled content on your website, BLOG or content marketing plans. And don’t forget to incorporate keywords that your audience would use to search for products / services that you offer.

Newsjacking

Newsjacking is the art of blending your company message in a trending news item. It’s a novel way of getting your company’s word out in a “not so related” subject, but bending it in such a way that people would love it. I will cover this topic in another article.

Take an example of movie “Star Wars the Force Awakens” which was released in 2015. Many companies used the popular hashtag #StarWarsTheForceAwakens to spread their message that gave them instant buzz and recognition in a highly saturated social arena. Below is an example of how NVIDIA utilized this popular hashtag to circulate their company message.

Many of the small business owners struggle with identifying right audience and social channels for branding. Overcoming this challenge is not rocket science. Start by listing down the qualities of your product and the audience personas or segments. Most of the business to business (B2B) audience hangs around a portal that is considered authority in their industry and subject. Professionals are using Linkedin, MeetUp or BranchOut to connect with likeminded people or to laser target their offering to people who are decision makers.

By utilizing your content calendar, start sharing content on regular basis. Connect with your audience segment by carefully understanding their intent of being on such a channel. Get hold of best possible graphical creative, short videos, case studies and or latest industry happening and sharing them on targeted groups or discussions. Regular helpful contributions would be help you emerge as a thought leader.

Hashtag Power

Hashtags make your target audience intercept with your brand or product. Brand hashtags act as a beacon for engagement with your audience in a transparent way. Utilize popular as well as brand hashtags to compliment your promotional efforts. For example, if your company is offering a decent discount on a product for a limited time period, a combo like #MunchSomeDiscounts or #DiscountedBuy could resonate with your audience. Trending topical hashtags are a must to be utilized in your social updates that could roll eye balls. Tools like hashtagify and keyhole can help you monitor the hashtag arena timely.

Gather & Address Pain Points

It’s highly possible that even your powerful competitors might be lacking new product features or services improvements. Start monitoring their social media engagement patterns by following their updates, customer complaints or any product updates. Try noting these powerful “pain points” and compare it to your offering. If you offer more, promote your product. If you offer less, try adding those features into your product wherever possible.

Influencer Marketing

Positive brand advocacy by thought leaders and influencers convinces and converts absolutely. Fans of a certain celebrity, expert or leader tend to take their advice seriously by making decisions accordingly. If small businesses or startups can leverage this form of marketing tactic with detail and precision, they could experience huge spike in brand loyalty very quickly. One should approach these influencers with paid incentives, by offering free services for limited time or making them their brand ambassadors. I will discuss it in details in another article.

Get Promo Offers

Social engagement increases if your target audience loves your updates. Carefully planned out seasonal campaigns, discount offers, event promotion, free trials and other promotional activities could make them interact with your brand. Top up with crisp imagery or short videos that could echo in your audience’s minds. Remember, these offers should be “pain point” driven that should address their core concerns with allurement of promotional campaigns.

All of the above mentioned methodologies are just few of un-ending possibilities of how social networks could be used for brand engagement. Free and paid social tools like HootSuite, Buffer and SproutSocial could be aggressively used to plan out, schedule and monitor your activities in an automated way.

About the Author:

Adeel Khero is head digital marketing chef at AdeelKhero.com, a digital marketing restaurant serving scrumptious dishes, a SEMPO member and founding partner of OrloMedia.com. You can find him on twitter @adeelahmedkhero.

All images property of their respective owners.

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