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Marketing your small business doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. More often than not, a little bit of ingenuity and some old-fashioned hard work can get the word out about your business — with a potential reach as wide as an expensive marketing campaign.
1. Buy Facebook Ads
You already know that Facebook is a great way to connect with your current customers, but the social media site also offers a cheap and effective way to reach your target demographic with personalized ads. You can set the age, gender, location, and even interests and hobbies of the potential customers you want to market to. Facebook also provides options for the type of response you would like to get — conversions, clicks, and impressions are all possible focuses. Prices start as low as $1 per day, though you may want to invest a bit more for a more effective campaign.
2. Post on Instagram
One of the trendier social media outlets, Instagram offers users the ability to post images and short videos. With 300 million active users, Instagram delivers 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook. Instagram offers a great way to show customers what your company is up to with behind-the-scenes videos or product photography. The social media service also offers a sponsored post feature, but prices are currently available only on demand and might be out of the range of the typical small business. Instead of paying for a sponsored post, try hosting a giveaway or inviting an industry influencer to “take over” your account for a day to attract new followers.
3. Develop a Twitter Following
Over 1.2 million users — 88 percent of Twitter’s user base — are actively seeking out engagement with their favorite businesses on Twitter. Twitter can be a great way to reach out to customers with giveaways and coupon codes, promote content or events, and generate interest in your brand by encouraging shared content. The social media service also offers a very robust analytics system so that you can keep track of what works best and how to keep finding new customers. Twitter also offers promoted tweets, promoted accounts, and promoted trends, though they can get pricey.
4. Start Pinning on Pinterest
Pinterest, a social media service with an obsession with beauty, is built for sharing and discussing photos. The user base is over 85 percent female and typically between the ages of 25 and 34, so users can be expected to share and spread content and ideas. The normal content on Pinterest also tends towards products and product photography already, so businesses with a product focus will do well on the site. Use lots of images and add “pin it” buttons to your site to make it easier for others to add your images to their own Pinterest boards and generate more interest in your content. They also offer a sponsored pins feature, with no minimum cost.
5. Find Your Locals on Groupon
Groupon allows businesses to offer time-based coupon codes to subscribers on a regular basis. In exchange for a discount on your product or service, you get exposure to thousands of local bargain-savvy customers on any day of your choosing. Groupon features no upfront costs and offers a focused analytics program to keep track of all new customers.
6. Start an Email List
Giving your customers the opportunity to sign up to an email list can cost you next to nothing and can give you the chance to build up a regular following. Many companies offer incentives to customers that sign up, and the regular impressions that you make can be a great draw for them to come back to your business regularly.
7. Get into AdWords
Google’s Adwords service can be extremely cost effective, as you pay for only the clicks you receive. Google also offers detailed analyses of the traffic that you do receive and a powerful platform built around maximizing your impact and converting click-throughs. With options to advertise to specific regions and a long reach on both mobile and browser, Adwords can be a powerful and cheap option for small businesses.
8. Post on Reddit
Reddit’s user base is tech-savvy and loves to share and discuss content of all forms. While the website offers sponsored ads and sponsored posts, Redditors can be judgmental against such marketing tactics and many businesses have found success in making and posting their own original content instead. The website is a seedbed for viral potential, and many businesses have developed significant followings on the site. If your business is tech-focused, Reddit should be your first stop.
9. Get Stumbled Upon
The next generation channel-surfer calls StumbleUpon home. Similar to a search engine, users discover and rate webpages, blogs, and anything else with a URL. With StumbleUpon’s Paid Discovery feature, businesses can easily make their website a part of the regular rotation of the social media site’s 30 million members.
10. Utilize Yelp, Foursquare, UrbanSpoon, and Tripadvisor
Depending on your business, your Yelp rating can mean life or death. Online review sites are becoming an increasingly dominant part of the daily routine of the typical consumer, and many businesses rely on these sites to find new customers. Keeping an eye on these channels should be important to most businesses, and promoting your company on these sites can lead to a whole lot more exposure with your target audience.
11. Link In
The business networking site LinkedIn offers an advertising platform that can be extremely effective if you’re looking to target working professionals. Like other sites, you can choose to pay by click or by impression, and you can even target individual industries and professions. If your business works with specific industries, this social media service’s advertising platform may be your best bet. LinkedIn offers a $10 minimum daily budget for their self-service ad campaigns.
12. Donate to Your Community
Sometimes the charitable way is the best way to go. Donating products or services to a local institution or community event can be extremely effective. Not only do you get a significant level of exposure among locals, you also get to make a difference in your community — and the kind gesture reflects well on your business, too.
Getting the word out about your business is easier than ever, and you don’t need millions of dollars to make a big-budget impact. With social media being such an intrinsic part of your customers’ lives, it’s simpler and faster than ever to reach them.
Now that you know the basics, take a look at some other tips to optimize your social media impact. Or leave a comment and let us know how you’ve spread the word about your business without breaking the bank.