Some recent stats let us glimpse into our media consuming habits. According to GlobalWebIndex, the average person spends 2 hours and 22 minutes on social media a day. 54% of users use social media to research products. As much as 91% of users access their social media feeds on their mobile devices. (Source: Social Media Marketing Institute) How do your marketing efforts take these numbers into consideration? Is social media playing a strong part of your marketing mix?


The following ideas will help optimize your small business social media strategy on a budget.


1. Look at your target audience, and determine which platforms they prefer spending time on (IG, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter)

First, depending on who your ideal clients are, it makes sense to put time and effort in one, two, or three social platforms, but maybe not all of them. If your target audience are Millennials, you should be heavily investing in Instagram and Twitter. If your ideal clients are in their 40s and 50s, you should rather want to focus on Facebook. For businesses with a store front, listing their location on Google and Yelp are essential. Once you figure out where your audience is, invest in creating a professional looking presence with interesting content.


2. Take advantage of being part of online groups

In addition, groups can be an asset to your business. Your main goal to join a group should be to expand your network and make new friends. Joining one with the mindset of selling and making money only is wrong, and people will single you out for it. If you can commit to be active daily or several times a week, you’ll be able to participate conversations that others are interested in. Once people see you show up on a regular basis, they will begin to trust you. Making a priority to recommend others in your community will pay off overtime. Likewise, offer your services when the topic comes up. Look at groups based on how active they are, and how many members they have. The best ones have a few hundred or thousand active members and conversations start several times a day.

3. Use free resources when you can

When you are starting a new business, taking advantage of free tools is smart. For example, design apps like Canva, or Adobe Spark make it easy to create appealing visuals for social media or printed material. Moreover, free stock image sites, like istockphoto, Pixabay, or Pexels provide free images if hiring a photographer isn’t an option. In addition to these, there are also great free video editing software available for business use. Blender, Magisto and Spice are just a few to name depending on what’s your preferred device to edit on.


4. Solicit user generated content

Once you have traction with your social media, ask for user generated content. For instance, if you have a store front, have some fun props around and display your Instagram or Twitter handle for people to be able to tag your store easily. Ask people to check in on Facebook at your business. Even if you’re an online shop, you can solicit your customers to tag your products in their Instagram posts. Free publicity is the best, so why not take advantage of it?


5. Obsess over your social analytics

At the end of each month, it’s worth to take a closer look at your social insights. Evaluating the key numbers is essential to understand what people like, and more importantly what they engaged with. Most important data for small businesses are reach, engagement numbers, and cost per lead in ads. Consequently, you should adjust your content to create more of the kind of posts people liked and engaged with.


6. Where should your social marketing dollars go?

Finally, there are so many options to spend money on social media, that it’s vital to make smart decisions when you’re on a limited budget. Should you invest in creating more videos? Should you spend on ads? Should you pay a professional to create content for your business? The answer isn’t simple, because one size doesn’t fit all. It’ll depend on your products or services, your target audience, your level of adventurousness, and other conditions. Most likely, it’ll be a combination of these. Going with a professional usually pays off, but ask around and chose someone that is recommended and have great reviews. If you or someone close to you is a talented video maker, you can save money there, and invest more in paid ads. Last, have some conversations with other business owners that have experience already, you’d be surprised about the answers you get from a seasoned business person.

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