The high-priced ads of the Super Bowl always remind us that good advertising doesn't have to be expensive. In fact, it can cost next to nothing. After all, even the funniest or most compelling ad isn't a good marketing tool if it doesn't result in increased sales or qualified leads. This is where effective use of social media can be a boon for those trying to save on advertising while also trying to boost sales.
Using social media to bolster your marketing efforts doesn't have to be difficult, expensive, or time-consuming. It's all in how you focus, target, and engage.
Here are a few ways to run a cheap social media campaign for your business.
Ads add up -- in a good way
You don't need to go crazy here. Just $25 a month can go a long way when used appropriately. Start small by narrowing your target to a smaller radius (think of one zip code or neighborhood), and aim to make an impact. Aim to make ripples, and not waves -- at this point you are just trying to test your demographic to make sure you are hitting your targets. Once you establish the best places to fund your efforts, your funds will go further and your impact will be greater.
Your day may seem pretty normal to you, but to an outsider who loves your products or services, a little insight into how you make it happen is actually pretty exciting. Take candid photos and let your followers take a peek into your day, whether you show them your favorite coffee mug, your current source of inspiration, your playlists, or glimpses of the next goal in the pipeline. The best part of these posts is that they are completely free -- and you just have to be yourself.
Stretch your dollar, not your focus
Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest -- the list of social media platforms just keeps growing. How can you possibly handle all of the varied content, keep it relevant, and keep it coming? The answer is easy: You don't. Or you hire a social media firm that can. Since this post is about saving money, though, here's what you need to remember: The most successful social media campaigns you run are the ones you are most comfortable posting to regularly. Commit to one or two platforms, update consistently, and have fun -- your passion will come through in your posting, and the rest will come naturally.
Short is sweet
Always remember that people are a lot like you. They don't have time for paragraphs, they love snippets, and they embrace glimpses. Think in sound bites, impactful images, short stories, and witty quips.
You never know what you can get unless you ask
Want a free focus group? You got it. Engage your fans and followers with quick polls, trivia, random questions, even calls for advice on things as personal as what to have for lunch to what your next product should be. You never know what you can get until you ask, so ask. The more engaged a customer is in your service or product, the more committed they will be to buying it.
Keep your eyes on the prize
Unlike personal social media accounts, social media for business has a purpose outside the ego (well, usually). Your goal isn't just to fill your basket with likes and boost morale. Your goal is to get your fans and followers to do something -- visit your website, order your project, stop by your store, email for the latest coupons, sign up for a seminar, etc.
Watch your toots
You can puff up your chest and toot your own horn on occasion, but do it sparingly. There's a reason why DVRs are infiltrating American households; no one likes commercials. The success of your cheap business social media campaign hinges on how many people allow you into their feeds, so be sensitive, informative, and engaging. You can be proud of your business and share your success with your fans, just make sure you recognize them as the reason you are successful.
Running an inexpensive social media campaign is not only possible, it can be the easiest thing you ever did for your business. Whatever you do, just get started.
Beth Trejo is founder and CEO at Chatterkick.
On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.
Coffee mug image via Chatterkick.