Last Updated on April 3, 2023
Learn how to establish a strong social media presence for your brand. Social media on a budget is possible!
It’s a familiar song-and-dance, especially among small businesses. Everyone’s constantly offering advice on how you can make your brand more mobile; advice which often involves “get yourself established on Facebook/Twitter/Google +/Instagram.” There’s only one problem – you’ve genuinely got neither the time nor the budget necessary to succeed in doing so.
Your business is a bootstrapped start-up, and most of the money’s going towards getting the organization on its feet. And as for you, you’re likely working upwards of 100 hours a week. Adding social media management is a risky combination, leading to burnout or budget issues.
Imagine if I told you that’s not the case. What if you can establish a strong social media presence for your brand, despite budget or time constraints? Social media success is determined by resource allocation, not money spent.
You might call me crazy – save for the fact that these statements are all entirely true. Believe it or not, you can actually ace social marketing without even having to drop a dime. I should probably explain, no?
Consider a recent McKinsey study that found influencers generate twice the sales of paid advertising. In other words, if you’ve the right personality or professional on your side, it doesn’t much matter how much you spend. They’ll naturally attract leads.
Not only that, Deloitte found back in 2009 that customers brought in through word-of-mouth actually have a 37% higher retention rate than those brought in through paid ads.
So, first thing’s first, figure out what type of influencer you want to attract to your brand – which one best suits your purposes, your brand image, your genre, and your demographic? Once you’ve nailed that down, ask yourself who you’re trying to reach, where you’re trying to reach them, and what you want them to do for you. Finally, with all the details sorted, it’s time to approach your chosen influencer.
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In order to do that, however, you first need to find them.
Kristen Matthews of Kiss Metrics says that brand advocates are your brand’s most influential supporters. They have a strong following because they align with your brand and actively promote it.
Matthews encourages businesses and marketers to reach out to bloggers, monitor social feeds and hashtags, set up Google alerts, and utilize tools like Social Mention to find influencers that might be worth working with. See, ideally, you’re going to want to approach someone who’s already shown an independent interest in your brand. They’re more likely to accept your marketing advances and doing some work for you already.
As far as actually attracting them, Matthews offers a few words of advice:
- Compensate them. Offer shout-outs, free products/product discounts, commissions, or even straight financial payments.
- Encourage them to create content – ask them to upload photos and videos, and incentivize both your influencers and regular users to answer case studies.
- Participate – make yourself known in online discussion forums, send out free products/trial runs without requiring a commitment, and swap guest posts with bloggers.
Mind you, influencers aren’t the only source of reach, either. As demonstrated by Starbucks, your own employees can be as formidable a marketing force as any professional firm. Now, granted, your startup may not have as many employees as a multinational conglomerate…but that doesn’t mean you can’t encourage the employees you do have to talk about your business online, share details with their friends, and offer updates on what they’re doing at work.
Again, though, this is something you need to approach with caution. If you’re going to use your employees for social marketing, Fast Company’s Ryan Holmes advises the following:
- Make them want to share updates. You can’t force people to use Facebook or Twitter. If you try, their messages are going to come across as empty and insincere.
- Make sure your messages reach the right audience. If your employees don’t have a social following that would care about your brand or its products, then your marketing efforts are likely better spent elsewhere.
- Keep it spontaneous. Offer suggested posts to employees, sure, but otherwise encourage them to share their own content. Of course, you’ll need to train them to ensure there aren’t any significant flubs.
- Keep it simple. If the social sharing process introduces any additional steps or needless complexity into the social media experience of employees, then it isn’t likely they’ll want to get involved in it.
- Use sparingly. The most important thing to keep in mind is that your employees aren’t drones or an automated marketing system. They’re people. Treat them as such, and they’ll offer well-crafted, valuable content to their followers; content which will bring in new leads and brand advocates.
Last, but certainly not least, don’t underestimate the value of a brand personality. Make your brand a living entity, not just a company. Be consistent with your brand’s attitude, story, and posts to attract potential consumers and grow without spending much.
After all, marketers are like event managers in one thing, at least: they’re natural storytellers. Use that to your advantage, and your bootstrapped company will ace social with ease.
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