Gone are the days when marketers would sweat bullets to release an ad on television and get it printed in newspapers alone.
Today, you can run social media marketing on a budget from the comfort of your home and watch your brand soar. Unlike TV and print advertising, you also get customized insights into how many people have consumed your content and how they have reacted to it.
Another fact remains that social media marketing has become much more expensive than it used to be a decade ago. All platforms are nudging brands and marketers to spend more.
Social media marketing on a budget is not impossible. It requires incredible discipline and hard work to reach its fruition. We will identify nine strategies that combine to help you make the most of organic marketing on your preferred social media channels.
- You can have strategies for social media marketing on a budget that take your business far without investing too much.
- The key is to understand your target audience and strategize your marketing efforts to meet their needs.
- It’s not a good idea to invest in ads at this time in your business journey; you need to plan your finances accordingly.
- Social media branding is just as important as social media marketing. If your branding is inconsistent, your marketing strategy can only take you so far.
- There is no “perfect” social media channel, but you can find the perfect one for you and your strategies. YouTube is renowned for cost-efficient marketing.
- The best thing you can do is create authentic content and repurpose it across different channels.
- Make sure to keep track of your finances. The most important arrangement is to save money while getting results. If neither is happening, then reassess.
9 strategies to own social media on a budget
While exploring these invaluable hacks and tips to conduct social media marketing on a budget, be mindful that nothing guarantees success the way a paid social media campaign does.
With that in mind, let’s plunge into the possibilities presented through a lean-budget social media presence.
1. Define your target audience
Brands make a special effort to identify their target audience when the brand is new, but as time goes by, the zeal to do so regularly fades away. A brand’s target audience evolves with products, trends, and human behavior. Not defining your target audience can cause catastrophic losses of money and equity on social media.
As social media platforms become more conservative with organic exposure for content, targeting niche audiences becomes a preferred strategy. Brand community-building on social media works only if the community is more involved.
If you have a tutoring business that caters only to your neighborhood, you would prefer to identify the trends of parents within your area and create social media handles only on platforms where they are present.
You needn’t speak with everyone on social media. It is a waste of your energy and content.
💡Tip: Don’t be a star. Speak to your audience, conduct surveys, ask for feedback, and more. You can only truly understand a community if you’re a part of it.
2. Choose the right social media channels
Identifying the correct channels to reach your customers is a great way to save on marketing costs. If you want to conduct social media marketing on a budget, then be open to questioning the conventional. Some businesses view all social media platforms as must-haves. The truth is far from this.
Not every platform delivers your message as effectively as it should. More importantly, not everyone you want to reach out to is present on every platform. You can employ A/B testing, study the results, and identify which platforms give you maximum engagement.
If you are biased towards a platform that isn’t conventionally used for brands like yours, analyze brands in a similar space. See the traction they receive on their content and decide whether you should pursue the platform or not. Try creating an organic presence on the platform and, after some time, invest a small amount of money as a test.
💡Tip: Every social media channel comes with strengths and weaknesses. Adjust your marketing strategy to differ on each platform depending on what the audience is looking for.
3. Own your UVP (Unique Value Proposition)
Customers get bombarded with tall promises and cliches on social media. Nearly every third post they view is an ad. With so much to deal with, brand communication hits a metaphorical ‘blind spot’ for customers.
When you do social media marketing on a budget, you must find your best feature and do your best to hammer it home. You are more likely to attract customers with one solid promise than a long list of features and benefits. Be bold and confident in how you position this unique value proposition.
By doing so, you own the maximum “share of voice” on the platform for that proposition. You have a natural advantage over your competition.
💡Tip: Create a UVP in the language of your customers. Avoid focusing on what you offer and focus on how it will benefit them.
4. Avoid relying on ads at the start
Running ads can become a bad habit if you want to run social media marketing on a budget over the long term.
There are two reasons for this:
- Once you begin advertising, the platform identifies you as a paying brand, and you lose your organic equity with them.
- The engagement and impressions you enjoy with ads will never be replicated organically.
Seeing lower returns on organic efforts can be discouraging. You may spend more than necessary to match your initial performance.
💡Tip: You can experiment with ads if you so choose, but keep a strict eye on your finances. Set a daily budget and stick to it without investing too much of your resources.
5. Create authentic content
Being honest goes a long way in winning the trust of a social audience. Your customers will appreciate your content as relatable and trustworthy. It’s these little things that win the ‘likes’ that brands crave.
Social media marketing on a budget is, well, marketing. But it needn’t be designed around overpromising and overselling. Tell stories that connect with your audiences. Open up conversations that challenge the authenticity of your product and beliefs. Discuss and acknowledge viewpoints from your customers.
Brand belief is important because your customer buys the values that your brand represents just as much as the benefits they reap from it.
💡Tip: Take note that authentic content revolves around providing value and not manipulating your audience for business gains. Success does not come from trickery.
6. Repurpose your content
How often do we see brands post content across all their social media channels without optimizing it for each platform? Each social media platform has its own strengths.
Content published across platforms must look native to that platform. What happens if it doesn’t? Your customers realize that you are running social media marketing on a budget and are too lazy to make the extra effort to customize content for them.
The internet is rife with guides and best practices for each social media platform. Even if you must use the same piece of content across platforms (since you are on a budget and cannot create new content for every platform), ensure that your content gets repurposed so that it feels at home wherever it is published.
💡Tip: The content you repurpose on social media needs to be evergreen. Algorithms differ on every platform, and the content has to stay relevant no matter how much time has passed.
7. Tap into YouTube for budget-friendly marketing
Google offers some of the best marketing tools and financial packages to advertisers. Starting a YouTube channel can help you spread your branded content without spending much. Content discovery on YouTube occurs because of natural interest since it is a search platform.
YouTube has several content creators who may fit right into your target audience group. You can get in touch with them, get them to use your product to their advantage, or demonstrate a feature on their channel. In return, they can give your brand a shoutout. With hundreds of thousands of views on the videos they create, you can enjoy a spike in word of mouth without shelling out a dime.
💡Tip: To get results on YouTube, your branding needs to be spot-on. Get a logo for YouTube to make an impact at no cost to your finances.
8. Contact micro and nano influencers
Here’s a hack if you are trying social media marketing on a budget: work in association with smaller influencers.
Here are some benefits of tapping into influencer marketing:
- They are far more affordable to work with and can create content for you through a barter deal
- They have shared equity in your brand, which insulates you from any PR crisis on their end
- Multiple influencers mean you have more categories that you can communicate to
- Micro-influencers are more likely to concentrate on your brand and its message and are more flexible too
- They have an intimate group of followers who trust them
💡Tip: To avoid potential complications, ensure that the influencer you collaborate with shares the same brand ideals as you do.
9. Track your performance
Track your social media advertising (paid and unpaid) with the same zeal as you would keep a check on your monthly budget. Being careless with tracking can cause leaky gaps to slip through.
There’s no point in social media marketing on a budget if you later find that it actually doesn’t save you money. It’s not hard to go overboard with your brand marketing strategies, so you need to track whether the results are worth the financial investment or not. If not, you may have to reassess your methods.
💡Tip: Don’t skimp on your bookkeeping as a small business. It allows you to track your expenses and make informed decisions.
Frequently asked questions: 4 popular FAQs about social media marketing on a budget
What are some commonly asked questions about social media marketing on a budget? Get your questions answered with these four FAQs.
1. What is a normal social media budget?
The Content Factory estimates that the daily cost of social media marketing for the average business is between $200 and $350. This ranges from $72,000 to $126,000 annually, or $6,000 to $10,500 per month. If you manage a small business, expect a much lower number.
2. Which social media is cheapest to advertise on?
Actually, out of the four social media platforms, Twitter has the lowest cost per click at $0.38, and Facebook isn't far behind at $0.97.
3. Is it better to promote on Instagram or Facebook?
If you have plenty of high-quality visual content to share, Instagram is where you should put your advertising dollars. Instagram is all about visually pleasing content, so you absolutely need an Instagram logo that impresses your audience.
Facebook could be a better fit if your content is more diversified or includes more written content.
4. What is a good marketing budget for a startup?
A recent survey found that the typical marketing spend for startups is 11.2% of their revenue. This is enough to begin raising brand awareness and attracting leads.
These nine strategies will set you on your path to social media glory. It’s not instant noodles but a slow-cooking broth. Social media cannot work miracles for your brand unless you deliver “true” value for your customers.
So make the right choices, always have your finger on the pulse of your customers, and be true to yourself. You never know—your brand could become a social media marketing case study that inspires the world.