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How to raise your business' social media presence on a limited budget – Fox Business
Social media outreach is vital to American small businesses, and according to business experts, it should be prioritized in a business budget.
“I hear from clients that a strong social media presence can be a game changer when it comes to building and sustaining a small business,” says Derek Ellington, head of small business banking at Wells Fargo. “So, in my view, social media spending should be a priority even during times when budgets are tight.”
To that end, Ellington tells FOX Business that a well-planned and well-executed social media strategy can translate to strong financial returns.
“Social media aims to engage small business customers, and in that way, it can be used by small business owners as a real-time window into customer preferences, which can drive positive business outcomes and strategy,” he says.
What are the social media must-haves in today’s business world?
The scope of social media is far-reaching and includes many platforms and content. Here are a few strategies to get you started.
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Define your social media objectives
Ellington suggests businesses define their goals on how they want to use social media and on what platforms. Then, think about what are the desired outcomes.
“Is it to drive more traffic to your store, increase sales or broaden brand awareness? Whatever it is, make sure you define what your top goals are and which platforms are going to help you get there.” Ellington explains. “Put a numerical value on your goals that you can later evaluate and measure your success.
Create a social content calendar
This application should outline fresh content and calls to action each week that is engaging to current and potential customers and drives back to your core goals, says Ellington.
Facilitate customer engagement
Be sure to monitor your platforms and build relationships with engagement, says Ellington, as this will help you identify your social audience. In addition, he recommends using effective imagery, customer testimonials and creative hashtags.
Audit and analyze your social media efforts
“This is more of a must-do, than a must-have, but it’s crucial to measure, audit and analyze on a regular basis so you know what type of content works the best,” says Ellington.
Why is social media so powerful for growing a business?
Jeremy Knauff, founder of Spartan Media, says social media can indeed be a powerful tool for growing your business, but only if you use it effectively and consistently, and then properly measure its performance and adjust accordingly.
“I like to look at social media as a combination of networking, public speaking, and sales, all rolled into one, and on steroids,” Knauff tells FOX Business. “Social media gives you the opportunity to reach a tremendous number of people, build an audience, and earn new business.”
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It’s also important to understand you’re playing a long-term game, says Knauff.
“Social media is busy, crowded, and noisy, so it will usually take longer than you think to build an audience, and even longer to build the trust needed to convert them into clients,” he continues. “That’s all the more reason to get started now, because every day you delay lets your competitors build a larger advantage over you.”
Furthermore, Knauff says, businesses should also know that it isn’t a one-way conversation.
“You need to get your audience engaged with your content, but it’s equally important to engage with them as well,” Knauff tells FOX Business.” This means responding to their comments in a meaningful and substantive way and acknowledging those who share and amplify your content.”
What about the cost of implementing a social media plan?
The good news is that you don’t need to spend a fortune to effectively leverage social media, says Knauff.
“Handling your own social media in-house is relatively low cost. You can get started for just a few thousand dollars for equipment and a modest advertising budget,” he explains.
When it comes to creating your content, he says, if you’re on a tight budget, you can use the camera on your smartphone, and get some basic lighting and a good microphone for a few hundred dollars.
“The sky’s the limit when it comes to your budget, but you can get a quality camera, microphone, and three-point lighting for around $2,000 that meets the needs of most businesses,” Knauff tells FOX Business.
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If you want to bring on a social media professional, Knauff says, consider the costs.
“Outsourcing it is obviously more expensive, with costs to get started generally starting at less than $10,000, and ongoing costs ranging from a few thousand dollars per month to hundreds of thousands, depending on how aggressive you want to be with it,” he explains.
And, he notes, if you’re not experienced with creating effective social media content, you’ll probably need to hire a social media strategist to develop a plan, which could cost anywhere from $2,500-$10,000.
“It’s critical to get this part right because it creates the foundation for everything else, and will determine your success or failure in your efforts,” Knauff adds.
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