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Create a Social Media Strategy on a Shoestring with These Six Tips

Create a Social Media Strategy on a Shoestring with These Six Tips Kent Lewis
Anvil Social Media Strategy

The first “social media” campaign I worked in early 1998 involved creating and distributing ‘viral’ videos featuring popular Hasbro toys. Back then, YouTube didn’t exist, and there was no easy way to share videos, so we just forwarded them as attachments in email to influencers. Truly shoestring. Since then, social media has evolved significantly, yet many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are still struggling to consistently create and promote compelling content. This article provides a six tips and tricks for anyone with limited time and resources interested in creating a more visible and engaging presence in social media.

Get the Interview

No, I’m not talking about the sensational parody about North Korea. I’m talking about the easiest and most effective way to create compelling content for your blog in less than 10 minutes. Send an email with 3-5 questions to employees, customers, partners, peers, influencers and subject matter experts. Format the responses as formal interviews and post them to your blog. Don’t forget to ask permission to post, edit for clarity and accuracy and optimize for search engines. Promote your blog post via social and related electronic media including your website (home page) and email newsletter. If your interview series utilizes the exact same questions or at least have a similar theme, it may be worthwhile to create an ebook compilation once you’ve achieved critical mass. One more valuable product to market!

Go Video

I’ve written about video marketing extensively in the past, but that doesn’t mean I’m done evangelizing! You don’t need a $10,000 HD RED camera or even a $1,000 SLR. All new smartphones include an HD camera with quality lens that is always with you and is easy to use. Take the interview idea to the next level and get face-time with your subjects. You don’t need dedicated lighting or a remote mic, although both can dramatically help. You don’t need editing software to post decent videos either, although the free editing app, Splice, does a good job  for iPhone users. Don’t forget to share custom versions of the video across relevant sites including YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Instagram and Vine. Read my article on video marketing for best production, optimization and distribution best practices.

Syndicate Multimedia Assets

Once you’ve created the video content (30-120 seconds in duration is ideal) it’s time to get serious. Start by pulling out the best HD images from the video for Instagram and Pinterest as well as to support website, blog and other content that would benefit from imagery. Strip out the audio to create your first podcast and syndicate on iTunes and Stitcher. While not as sexy as video, audio/podcasting is still relatively popular and much less competitive than video or text. Lastly, transcribe your videos, as appropriate, to create blog post content. Remember, Google loves multimedia with context, so create related text around any images, audio or video on your blog or website. Don’t forget to share all new content via social media to further boost visibility and credibility with the search engines.

Share the Love

Many small business owners and managers wear many hats, which doesn’t leave much room for social media management and content creation. One of the best workarounds for any organization larger than 1 employee is to distribute responsibilities across the team. Start by assessing the skills and talents of your existing employees and determine how much training and investment in tools may be required to assign social media responsibilities across the team. One key resource you will need to keep your team on-task is a content calendar that outlines what type of content will be created and distributed by each employee. Monthly planning sessions helps maintain cadence and improves the quality of content and overall level of engagement.

Automate and Measure

One of the challenges with creating and curating compelling social media content is dedicating the time to post and monitor the content. The good news is that there are a host of tools that can help make this process easy. For example, I use HootSuite to schedule posts across various social media platforms. I shorten the URL to save character space, while enabling click-tracking within the platform. There is a free version available, although the pro version is around $6 a month and is ad-free. You can also rely on each social platform’s embedded analytics for insights on clicks and engagement rates, as well as Google Analytics and both are free. While HootSuite offers keyword tracking, you may be better off augmenting its limited capabilities with Google Alerts and/or SocialMention. Both are helpful in identifying opportunities, especially if you track competitors and industry-related terms. Don’t forget to monitor content engagement rates to determine topics for future posts.

Go Green

Beyond recycling video content across the social graph, I’m also a fan of creating “evergreen” content that has a longer shelf life and can appeal to broader audiences. Timeless content can generate high levels of engagement over time and can be easier to create. I recommend sharing industry best practices, industry research and how-to’s. Another way to generate exposure cost-effectively is to repost content from other industry resources, influencers and employees. Acting as a filter creates real value to followers and generates awareness and credibility with very little effort.

Factor in the six best practices above for social media marketing with limited resources and watch your return on investment increase dramatically. Feel free to share your time-saving ideas in the comments section below.

With a background in integrated marketing, Lewis left a public relations agency in 1996 to start his career in search engine marketing. Since then, he’s helped grow businesses by connecting his clients with their constituents via the...

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