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Are you looking to ramp up your brand’s presence online and quickly master the art of social media marketing for your small business? Have limited manpower and funds been setbacks in terms of marketing your business?

Not to worry. Following are seven social media marketing ideas for small businesses working on a small budget.

Share curated content

Social media is one of the channels where content curation is vital to staying relevant to your following and to growing your following. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, content curation refers to the process of discovering top-quality content from around the web and sharing it on your social media platforms.

But this is not just any content that you stumble upon online. It should be produced by industry leaders and influencers, and it should stand above the rest in terms of quality and usefulness.

You might ask: why is it important to share other people’s content? Why can’t I only share my own? Well, if you want to cut through the noise and increase your brand’s visibility on social media, you need to share quality content on a regular basis, whether you’ve created it yourself or someone else.

Here are some of the benefits of social media content curation:

  • It shows that you’re willing to help. When you share content from other sources, it shows that you understand your industry and that you’re willing to go the extra mile to help your audience learn more about your niche, even if that means sending them to a website other than your own. Just make sure to always add your own two cents on the topic when sharing content from another website.
  • It enhances SEO. Give your website or social media profiles a boost in the search engines by sharing relevant, helpful and interesting content with your followers and fans. Even if that content is from a different site, it still shows that your focus is on quality content, which search engines such as Google love.
  • It helps establish your brand as an authority in your niche. Just make sure to stay on topic and to share content that is outstanding, provides unique insightfulness and is shareable, meaning your audience will find the topic so interesting that they feel compelled to share it.
  • It helps build a social media following. Curating content not only helps you to fill the gaps of your content calendar, it can also increase your social media following. As your existing audience likes, comments, and shares your content, it will also expand the reach to potential new customers.

Now, how can you save time curating content? Here are ten tools to help you find great content to share on social media.

Create valuable content

An effective social media marketing strategy is one that balances both content that you curate and content that you create yourself. While creating your own content takes time and effort, when done well it can help increase traffic to your site, gain more readership and a better reputation. Just make sure that every piece of content you create has a valuable takeaway for the reader so they keep coming back to you for more.

And don’t hold back. Giving away your best content for free is the best thing you can do to build your reputation. In fact, when your prospects see the high quality of your free content, they’ll be more confident in buying from you because they already know the great value you deliver.

Here are some of the key benefits of giving away great content for free:

  • Readers will share your content, which puts you in front of a much larger audience
  • You’ll gain a strong reputation as an expert in your field and a trusted authority
  • You’ll boost the SEO rankings for your site thanks to your quality content
  • Influencers will share your content and recommend your business to others
  • You might even receive interview requests from the media, helping you to gain even more exposure

But what exactly constitutes as valuable content? It’s content that is fine-tuned to appeal to your perfect customer, that answers your audience’s questions and addresses their biggest problems. And it can be in any format you like: blog posts, articles, infographics, reports, webinars, slideshows, podcasts, and more. If you’re not a fan of blogging or just don’t have the time to commit to it on a daily or weekly basis, read our post on six traffic-boosting alternatives to blogging.

To make things easier and less time-consuming, you’ll need to have a social media content calendar in place where you decide what to post, when and where. Tools like BufferHootsuite and TweetDeck are a time-saver when it comes to scheduling content in advance for social networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and more. Find out more about why and how to schedule social media posts.

Make use of great images

Did you know that we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text? Considering the huge amount of content that is being shared on social media every day, great images can help grab your audience’s attention faster than lines of text.

You can use images to create a story for your brand and the people behind it. You can also use them to educate your audience and make the information you’re sharing easier to digest.

They’re also fun and at no cost to you, if you know where to look for them. Here are 18 places where you can find stock images, no matter how small your budget is. With the right tools and a bit of inspiration, you can create great visuals even if you’re not a web designer.

To learn more about what makes an image shareable on social media and what tools to use to quickly create your own, check out our guide on how to use images on social media to improve engagement.

Crowdsource for engaging and authentic content

No one can tell a better story about your brand like your customers can. So why not encourage your fans to share their experience with you and, at the same time, create your content for you?

A simple way to do this is by creating a memorable official hashtag for your brand that you can then use to track your customer’s interactions on channels like Twitter and Facebook. A fantastic example of this is Airbnb’s short film that was made entirely out of Vine videos filmed by their social media fans.

The campaign was launched on Twitter and the participants had 48 hours to submit their Vine, along with the hashtag #airbnb, for a chance to be included in the final video and receive Airbnb credit.

Take a look at the result:

Participate in online groups and communities

Reddit, Quora and LinkedIn Groups are all fantastic places to ask questions and post answers. Building a presence on these forums and groups, and becoming part of a community, may be time-consuming but it’s well-worth the effort.

Start by picking a few relevant groups where you know your audience is present, and join in the conversation. Post comments on trending conversation that are relevant to your niche, ask questions and share useful information and resources. Don’t worry if you don’t see any action or results right away. It takes time to build familiarity with other members of a group. Be persistent and you’ll soon build a reputation as an authority in your field, and as the go-to resource for your niche.

Use social media as a space to hold interesting conversations

Social media isn’t just about helping your audience out with useful resources and information. It’s also about engaging in conversation with your customers, your peers and other experts in your industry, and beyond.

But do make sure to give your social media presence a bit more personality. For example, there are lots of small businesses that use Twitter and sign off on tweets using their name. This makes them come across as people rather than generic brands. It also allows followers to get the know the people behind the brand.

So, for example, if you’re celebrating a colleagues’ birthday or if your team is having a small gathering after work, take advantage and put some pictures on social media.

team birthday

If you’ve added a new member to your team, introduce them to your following by sending a warm tweet welcoming them to the team.

welcome member

Limit your social media platforms

One of our top social media marketing tips for small businesses is to find two to three platforms where you can build the strongest presence. With so many social networks available today, and many more popping up every month, it’s impossible to grow a strong presence on every one of them.

At the same time, having a mediocre presence on ten social media platforms is a waste of your time as it won’t produce any results. What’s the point of investing time and resources into channels where your audience might be hanging out when you could be spending that valuable time on platforms where you know they’re present and active?

Don’t know which social media platforms your business should be on? This guide walks you through the most important social media networks to help you figure out which ones best match the needs of your business.

Wrapping up

These are just a few ideas to get you started with social media marketing on a budget.

What other things are you doing on social media to grow your following and increase traffic to your website? Tweet us your comments at @123reg.

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