Social Media Marketing on a Shoestring Budget

By on May 2, 2011

When a small business starts out using social media, often there is no real budget available for promotion or marketing. This means that you’ll have to dedicate some time to learning how to use social media yourself. If you want to keep costs low, it inevitably increases your time investment – especially if you’re serious about seeing any real results from your marketing efforts.

social media shoestring budget

Courtesy of Mashable.com

Isabel Isidro of PowerHomeBiz.com, recently published an article on how to market your business on a shoestring budget. We’ve taken that same principle, and applied it to social media, for start-up businesses looking for a boost in promotion. Here are some ideas for you to work on.

#1: Spend Your Limited Budget on Copy

To build authority on the internet, and to generate positive feedback for your business from your social media communities – you will have to invest some money in great content. The internet is all about content, and it’s your greatest ally in online marketing. In social media marketing, this exact rule applies. Every bit of content you release that is associated with your business, tells your community something about your products or services.

Bad, poorly researched and written content, will put you on the fast track for failure online. That’s why many small businesses choose to spend their small budget on a decent writer. When you have a great ghost-writer creating valuable content for you, your marketing efforts will succeed. Excellent content is the beginning of a worthwhile social media campaign. You can always post this content yourself – but get it done by a professional.

#2: Use Competitor Campaigns as a Guide

Because you can’t afford to hire a social media manager, you’ll need to find out for yourself what your competitors are doing with their social media. Take notes as you page through their content. What do you like, or not like? What makes their campaign successful? Notice how they communicate with their community, their unique value proposition, and the different apps that they use to make their pages special.

Make a list of what you would like to have on your Facebook page, your Twitter feed, your LinkedIn page and blog. If you have to, sign up for a free blog page with blogger.com. You can always transfer your database of blogs to a new site, once you generate enough income to afford one.

#3: Search For Apps To Use on Your Pages

For effective social media management, use social apps like SocialOomph, Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to upload pre-written content to. Once you have them all uploaded, schedule them to be published at various times of the day. This will keep your pages fresh. Just remember not to repeat yourself, or to include too many marketing messages. Teach, don’t preach to your community.

For Facebook, find a fan gateway app to add to your page. Wildfire and Iwapa are great apps that will help you create original ‘homepages’ for your fan page. Add other apps like polls, shopping carts or video to keep your community interacting with you as often as possible. Connect your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages together for better syndication of original content. This will cost you nothing but a few hours of investigation and perseverance.

As you become more acquainted with social media, you can improve on your mini social media campaign. Use Google, and search for things you don’t understand. Chances are, other business people have written about the solution to your problem!

How do you run your social media campaign on a shoestring budget? Any tips for us to share with our community? Publish them below!

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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