Social Media is big business and big for business. I’m sure that this statement comes as no surprise to anybody reading this, but the point is always worth reiterating. Business and organisations not using social media to spread their message can expect to fall way behind their more net savvy peers in terms of outreach and market penetration.
However, not all business owners are wise to the importance of a robust social media campaign and fail to organise a budget for it. One possible reason for this is that they hold the idea that social networks are free and thus do not require any budgeting. They either haven’t done the research into why social marketing is a worthwhile investment that requires some monetary outlay to be really successful, or they simply don’t see the importance of it.
This is all very, very wrong.
However, in case you are one of those poor unfortunate souls who has been given the task of promoting your organisation through social media and no resources beyond a computer and broadband connection with which to achieve it – fear not. Whilst you are certainly in for a challenge, all is not lost. Please allow us therefore to present our top tips for devising an ace social media campaign without spending a penny.
As with all marketing endeavours – strategy is key. This is even more important when working with a zero budget. Companies with a ton of money to waste can afford to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. However as possibly the lone gunman of your company’s social media team – your time is precious and you cannot afford to wander down the wrong road for miles at a time.
Think about what you want to achieve with social media. Having a firm goal in place will keep your efforts (and meagre resources) focused on that outcome. If you are looking to gather more followers on Twitter for example; think about why that is important to you. In which way will a large base of followers benefit your business?
Now you can focus on which networks are best placed to achieve that goal. If Facebook is taking up lots of your time, but another network is performing better, then focus on that one. Chances are that your time is the only investment that you have to plough into this operation, so make sure that you spend it wisely.
As already discussed – your time is your most valuable commodity. Therefore you want to arrange your time so that you are maintaining your social media on a regular basis.
Use tools such as Hootsuite or Google Alerts to streamline your social media work. By monitoring your networks and sending you alerts, managing a few different platforms becomes an absolute breeze. There are also tools that let you schedule your updates and will post them for you. This means that you can take an hour out of your day to set up your posts for the day and then leave the tool to do the hard work for you.
Don’t forget to use your smartphone either. This will allow you to manage your social media platforms, even when off doing other things and save you a bunch of time.
Spreading the Word
Without a budget in place it is going to be difficult to promote your networks online. Most businesses achieve this by throwing money into things like targeted advertising, but without any funds available this option won’t be available to you.
Therefore you are going to need to find other avenues with which to get the message out and a good place to begin is with your fellow employees. Ask them (very nicely) to join your networks and help promote your pages to their friends and families.
Also ask customers to join up and engage with the company online. Make this fun and enjoyable for them by posting lots of things that are easy to join in with. “Just for fun” competitions or discussions are a great way to do this.
Engage with your community regularly. Answer comments, join in with discussions and address any complaints, this will keep your platforms and the communities contained within active and thriving, and increase your chances of expanding your reach even further.
Well, we hope that we have convinced you that it is not impossible to run a decent social media campaign with no budget. It is no mean feat to achieve and your life would be significantly easier if you had some funds to throw around, but work hard at it and persist and you should start to see results.
Please let us know if you have ever run a zero budget social media campaign. What were the challenges and successes that you experienced and what might you do differently if tasked with one again?
Kerry is a prolific technology writer, covering a range of subjects from design and development, SEO and social, to corporate tech and gadgets