Small business owners are constantly searching for ways to attract new customers.
While there are various marketing strategies available for small businesses, only a few of them can help you effectively build customer relationships as social media does.
By 2025, statistics suggest that there will be more than 4.4 billion users on social networks worldwide, and the numbers will keep growing. For smaller companies, social media represents an opportunity to develop brand awareness, build connections with customers and prospects, and amplify sales.
The question is: How can you create and implement a successful social media strategy without a big marketing budget?
We’ll tell you how.
Here’s your guide to low-cost social media marketing:
7 Low-Cost Social Media Marketing Tactics for Small Businesses
Many people check out their favorite social media platforms every day, looking for opportunities to connect with friends, family, and brands. The key to social media marketing success for small companies lies in figuring out how to leverage the right strategies and tools.
Let’s take a look at the tactics you need to succeed in social media marketing.
1. Research Your Audience
The first step to successful low-cost social media marketing is to understand your audience.
Having a good understanding of your audience will ensure that you can create targeted campaigns to specifically reach people who are the most likely to buy your products and services.
Good targeting increases your chances of driving conversions and reduces the amount of money you waste interacting with people who won’t convert.
If you already have some information about your audience based on people who bought your products or visited your website in the past, you can use those insights to build a buyer persona. If you don’t have much data, try to analyze your competitors’ data to get insights about the consumers they target. You can also examine marketplace benchmarks for handy information.
Creating a user persona will give you a complete overview of the kind of customers you want to reach. Some of the information you’ll need about your target audience includes:
- Demographic data: Age, gender, etc.
- Location: Where your customers are
- Likes: What they enjoy doing, their hobbies, interests, and favorite brands
- Dislikes: What they dislike about other companies
- Behavior: How much time they spend online and which channels they use
Having a good overview of your target audience will make it easier for you to target the right people through your social media campaigns on Facebook and Instagram. It can also give you an idea about which channels you should leverage to get a better ROI.
For instance, if a majority of your customers are under the age of 19, then TikTok is likely to be a good bet. To target people aged 25-34, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter can be better choices.
2. Choose Your Social Platforms
There’s a social platform to suit every kind of customer and brand.
You may need to be active on more than one channel to ensure that you’re able to reach and engage your target audience. However, it’s important to know which channels are most likely to deliver results.
For low-cost social media marketing, you need to choose your platforms wisely and run highly-targeted campaigns. We’re sure that you won’t want to waste money on running ad campaigns on channels that your ideal customers aren’t going to visit.
To figure out which platforms you should focus on, think about the following:
Your Brand’s Image
What kind of reputation are you trying to build?
If you want to be seen as fun and young, then TikTok and Instagram might be good choices. If you want to create a professional B2B image, you should try using LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
Which channels are your competitors using actively? Analyzing your competitors’ social media profiles and marketing strategies is a good way to determine where your customers are.
Your Products and Services
If you sell insurance plans, visual platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Pinterest are less likely to drive good results for your brand. If you sell makeup products, then creating video tutorials on YouTube and Instagram is likely to attract your ideal buyers.
With so many social platforms to choose from, here’s a quick insight into the most popular options available in the market:
- LinkedIn: The most popular platform for professionals with over 3 million company pages and over 690 million members, LinkedIn is ideal for B2B companies.
- Facebook: The social media platform with the broadest reach, Facebook offers excellent targeting opportunities and helps you reach a wide section of consumers.
- Instagram: The ultimate visual platform, Instagram has more than 1 billion users who frequently interact with brands as well.
- Twitter: The news platform, Twitter is ideal for connecting with people through quick announcements and news commentary.
- TikTok: This video platform is ideal for you if you’re trying to reach a younger audience or build a fun personality for your brand.
3. Create a Content Strategy
Once you’ve identified the best channels to use for social media marketing, you should build a content strategy next.
Having a content marketing strategy in place will help you ensure that you’re building and nurturing good connections with your target audience. The better planning you do, the easier it will be to improve your conversion rate.
Your content strategy should include a plan to create different types of content. This includes writing informative blog posts regularly so that you always have valuable content to share on social media and drive traffic to your website.
You should also plan what type of content you’re going to create for each of your social media profiles. For Instagram, you may decide to publish 3-4 photos a week along with a handful of Instagram Stories and Reels, and the occasional IGTV video.
Creating a solid content strategy will help you ensure that you’re taking full advantage of all of the content formats and features available on each social media platform.
To design a successful content strategy, keep the following tips in mind:
Decide What You’re Going to Share
Your social media accounts need to be more than just platforms meant to advertise your products.
You should focus on creating and sharing valuable content that can entertain, inform, and educate your audience. Make sure that you’re posting plenty of engaging content like “how-to” videos, mini blog posts on LinkedIn, tutorials, guides, and actionable tips.
Keep an Eye on Your Competitors
Take inspiration from your competitors who are acing the game of social media marketing.
If they’re using certain kinds of content on specific platforms, should you leverage them too? Which types of posts are driving maximum engagement for them? Is there anything your competitors aren’t doing but you can do to stand out?
Adapt Your Content to Suit the Platform
Every social media platform supports a different kind of content. Instagram is ideal for sharing photos and videos. TikTok only supports a specific kind of video content and Twitter is all about shorter posts.
While repurposing content is possible, you can’t just copy-paste your content from one platform to the next. You need to optimize it for each platform.
Constantly Collect Data
You should audit your social media posts and engagement activities to test your ability to achieve your goals and tracking your campaign performance.
You should keep an eye on metrics like reach, follower growth, and engagement levels. You can use the analytics available on different social channels to see which of your posts are driving maximum engagement.
4. Plan a Content Posting Schedule
An off-the-cuff approach to social media marketing is rarely a good idea.
With a business to run and customers to support, you won’t always have the time to create and publish amazing content. If you’re not taking the time to plan your social calendar in advance, you’re inviting problems.
Planning your content calendar in advance is a great way to design campaigns around specific times of the year and boost sales. There are many tools out there that allow you to schedule posts for specific days and times.
Scheduling your social media posts means will help you ensure that your content gets posted at the right time to drive maximum engagement.
You can use the following social media marketing tools to schedule your posts:
One of the best-known tools for social media marketing and scheduling, Buffer supports more than 75,00 companies. It is an intuitive platform, ideal for publishing content in a queue, creating and organizing content calendars, and analyzing your campaign’s performance.
With a free forever plan, it’s easy for small companies to get started. You can also leverage their paid plans for $15-$99 per month.
Image via Buffer
Another popular choice that works with a wide range of social platforms, Hootsuite makes managing your content easier. The all-in-one platform allows you to schedule your social posts, track campaign outcomes, and even find out when people are talking about your brand online.
You can either use their free plan or subscribe to their paid versions to get access to advanced features.
Image via Hootsuite
5. Work with Influencers in Your Niche
Influencer collaborations are probably one of the best mediums to increasing the ROI of your low-cost social media marketing efforts. There are many different kinds of influencers out there who can help you improve your content strategy, enhance your online reputation, and attract new customers.
Notably, influencer marketing isn’t limited to working with famous celebrities. Partnering with micro-influencers (smaller accounts with a few thousand followers) can prove to be just as valuable.
In fact, influencers with smaller followings tend to generate more views and engagement than celebrities in the long run. Also, it is less expensive to work with micro-influencers, which means that you can also partner with multiple influencers at the same time to drive the best results.
Here’s an example of an influencer disclosing her partnership with the intimate apparel brand, Aerie:
Image via Instagram
To leverage influencers for your social campaigns, the first thing you need to do is to create a solid influencer marketing strategy. It’s important to find the right influencers who already speak to your target audience.
There are various tools out there to help you with influencer discovery, selection, and vetting, which include:
One of the most popular TikTok influencer discovery platforms, Influence Grid allows you to sort through potential collaborators based on metrics like likes per video, views, follower count, and engagement levels.
You can even see which country your potential influencer is popular in so that it’s easier to find the right people to work with.
Image via Influence Grid
Though it started as a link-building tool, BuzzStream quickly emerged as a relationship-building solution for companies that want to search for influencers. You pay a monthly subscription fee to search for collaborators using keywords and get access to their contact details.
6. Create High-Quality Content
The content you create for your social campaigns needs to be tailored to the interests of your target audience and the platform you’re using.
Publishing high-quality content will help you ensure that your customers keep coming back. While customers do follow brands on social media to learn about new products and services, they’re mostly looking for information, entertainment, and fun ways to spend their time.
You should optimize your content for the platforms you choose to promote your brand on.
Instagram is a highly-visual platform that allows you to post videos, photos, and other graphics to promote your products and services.
It’s worth looking for tools that can help you to enhance your visual content such as Photoshop and Canva. Remember to write captions that can engage your audience and include hashtags that can help boost its reach.
Image via Canva
Facebook allows you to publish all kinds of content, varying from links to your latest blog posts to photos and videos. It’s best to experiment with a range of content types here so that you can connect with a wider audience.
LinkedIn is a professional network, mostly designed for B2B brands and professionals looking for networking opportunities.
On LinkedIn, you can post links to curated content, connect with customers through thought leadership articles, and share your blog posts. You can also create polls and surveys to gather insights about your industry and clients.
TikTok is the go-to social media platform for people under the age of 19. It allows you to reach your customers through hashtag challenges and fun video content.
Make sure that you get your hashtags right and remember that TikTok fans love authentic content.
Pinterest is a fantastic place to share visual content, how-to guides, and infographics. If you want to share visual content that’s a bit more comprehensive than the snaps you find on Instagram, Pinterest is a good choice.
7. Engage Your Social Media Audience
Finally, one of the most important things you need to do on any social media channel is to engage your audience.
It’s not enough to post valuable content and wait for people to buy from you. You need to connect with your existing customers and prospects on social media.
Ask questions, host polls on your Instagram Stories, and respond to all of the comments on your posts. The more you engage with your audience, the higher your chances of building strong connections with them.
Here are a few ways to boost user engagement on social media:
Run a contest, asking people to tag a friend or share your profile on their Stories in order to win a prize. This will help you generate buzz about your brand and products and help you create user-generated content (UGC).
In the example below, Hallmark ran a contest to increase post engagement:
Image via Instagram
Use a branded hashtag to encourage your customers to create user-generated content for your brand. You can use it as social proof and also reward your followers for their contributions by choosing the best picture of the day and featuring it on your official account.
Daniel Wellington encourages people to take photos of them with their watch collection and post them using the hashtag, “#danielwellington.” The brand features the best ones under their #DWPickoftheDay campaign to boost brand awareness and user engagement.
Image via Instagram
Asking questions and hosting polls is a brilliant way to connect with your followers. You will get the opportunity to learn something about your customers and their preferences.
Live videos on Facebook and Instagram allow you to chat with your customers on almost a face-to-face basis. You can run Q&A sessions and even invite industry experts to answer your audience’s questions.
Remember that your captions aren’t just an opportunity to attract people using relevant hashtags. You can also use them to improve engagement.
You should write compelling captions and include a call-to-action to ask people to take an action. You can ask users to visit your website or encourage them to buy a product before a specific discount code expires.
Image via Instagram
Leverage These Low-Cost Social Media Marketing Strategies Today!
Social media is a fantastic tool for building brand awareness and unlocking sales opportunities.
Just because you’re a small business, doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on the advantages that social media marketing offers. With the low-cost social media marketing tips mentioned above, you can generate great results even on a low budget.
Do you need help running social media campaigns? Feel free to connect with our social media experts today.