5 Adless Ways to Leverage Social Media for Your Small Business

January 30, 2015

Social media has a big influence on consumers but at the same time, its ROI value is questionable. Some say bitter marketers just don’t know how to use it, while others point to the obvious fact that it is a social network, not a marketplace. Then there are those who say it’s useless. Either way, a cash strapped small business doesn’t have the marketing dollars to splurge on social media ads.

Here are 5 ways that you can leverage social media without spending on ads:

Hire a skilled social media officer.
There are enough social media blunders out there to teach you that an intern or an entry-level employee isn’t enough.

If you really want to capitalise on your social media presence, you’ll need someone who can do more than just upload pictures of your charity event. Social media marketing entails a diverse set of skills. You need someone who has knowledge of marketing and communications, interpersonal skills, and strategic yet creative thinking. The social media officer needs to be tech-savvy enough to use analytics and application program interfaces.

Know thy audience.
Engaging in social media networks is like talking to yourself in a crowded room. You need to create a target so that your efforts would be nuanced and effective.

A good way to do this is to think about your ideal customer. Based on this image, think of ways that another person can do to encourage interaction with that customer. Mix in your branding message and business goals. Don’t hard sell. The results – an outline of your demographic, suitable ways to reach your target audience, and a clear goal with a purpose.

Social listening
Social media marketing is not entirely useless. You just have to use it for what it’s worth.

It gives you real-time feedback about your products or services. This can give you useful insights about your brand. Sifting through all those messages is a huge task, but it’s rewarding especially for upcoming businesses that need to establish trust. The Cloud has affordable analytics tools for small businesses. If you’re going to spend money on your marketing efforts, might as well put it in something that can deliver real results.

Link to a blog.
Most people don’t like reading corporate blogs. They’re devoid of personality and plagued with business-speak. Not cool. But a blog can be a valuable tool for your content marketing strategy.

A blog is where you can loosen up a bit and relate to your consumers on a personal level. You can use it to start conversations, educate readers, and show the people behind the brand. You can feature stories from your staff and customers. It can also serve as a content hub with different kinds of content, linked to your social media and website. You’ll have something more to share to your followers.

Build an online community.
The number of your followers is never an accurate tally of your active users. They may check your page for a couple of minutes to share a piece of content. But that doesn’t mean they’ll stick around.

The best way for businesses to benefit from social media is to turn passersby into active users. An online community will keep your brand alive and kicking without the need for push marketing.

As social media gains more influence among consumers, the need for human interaction – not just some faceless corporation – becomes more important. These tips will require time and effort, but would prove to be beneficial in building organic engagement.

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