January 14, 2015 Last updated January 14th, 2015 1,629 Reads share

Do You Really Have To Pay For Social Media Exposure?

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The sad truth is your business won’t get far online without a bit of a push in the paid direction.  Paid social media advertising has become the most effective option to promote your business, as well as protecting it from the vultures looming in on your territory. However, social advertising is an undervalued and under-invested area – social paid spend lags behind customer attention by 50% or $5 billion; a huge untapped resource for marketers.

Paid advertising gives marketers the opportunity to help reward existing loyal fan base, and have amazing insights into new audiences.

Rather than used purely as a connection for individuals outside the workplace, all social media platforms can be used as an amazing marketing tool to create viral content, engagement and develop brand strategies. Heck, it is common knowledge now that employers will look through your Facebook, Instagram, etc. to discover more about the person. This can be good and bad in equal measure, but that is a topic for another time.

Every top brand or business considers social media in all campaigns with 86% of marketers understanding its importance and many companies now investing in specialists to do a grand job. To put it simply, social media is a force to be reckoned with.

Whilst it is important to invest some budget into paying online options to excel your business past the competitors, there are a number of tactics you can do to gain exposure through social media without shedding out a small fortune…

Be quick to jump on the band wagon

Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are the staple platforms for every business, but exploring the worlds of Pinterest, Vine, Google+ and Instagram can open up (free) avenues.

Pinterest and Instagram are extremely creative platforms that can really inject personality into your business. With Instagram introducing sponsored posts recently, this is something to consider. However, how about a free marketing strategy?

The best example of a brand (or an individual in this case) using Instagram to cause a storm is musician Beyonce with the release of her visual album with the simple caption “surprise” and more recently, a teaser clip from the Fifty Shades of Grey movie to be released next February.  The platform and visual nature combined to perfectly create a benchmark for other creative (in particular musicians) to follow.

Spending time creating something visually appealing for your business could Gage a great response from your following and expand your reach further still. Simply being amongst the first to really develop your brand and experiment through a new platform can leave you sitting pretty at the top of the pack.

Tailor content and visual elements to create seamless links

Rather than posting the exact same message across all of your social platforms, it is vital you understand what works on each and adapt every post to suit this. It doesn’t take that much longer to create a more engaging post suited to various platforms to really engage with your followers.

For example, whilst a lengthy post including links and imagery would work on Facebook or Google+, Twitter has a limit of 140 characters yet little manoeuvrings for shorthand text language. It has also been reported that hash-tags have a negative effect on businesses looking to drum up interest as they can be a distracting element.

It is also important to consider your demographic for each individual social media platform. Facebook is now ten years old resulting in the average age of users being higher than you expect whilst young users have been in gradual decline. As a parallel, over 90% of Instagram users are below the age of 35. It could be likely that your followers on each platform would reflect these statistics underlining the importance of tailor creating content across the board.

Varied content

We’ve all heard the saying “content is king” and whilst this is particularly overused, it really can’t be more important for brands. The most successful brands know how to create innovative campaigns that consider social media from the very being.

When considering content, it is so important to keep it varied, interesting and educational whilst having a clear idea of how it will be promoted on your social media.

Regardless of your business, social media is fueled by visual elements, catchy punch lines and simple Calls to Action. Anything sitting on the bench will disappear into the masses.

Using Google Trends and other handy free tools you can begin to target new audiences as well as engaging with your existing followers to create varied content. Use this to predict trends in the coming months through year on year comparisons to prepare high content quality and visual elements such as videos, photos and even Snapchat and Vine snippets to match.  For a little extra push, you can promote on Facebook and Twitter with a small budget.

As well as preparing, there is an element of surprise news in every business. Are you quick enough on your feet to create an interesting and educational post on the topic at hand? Be first out of the blocks.

With unpaid social media, it is a case of slow and steady wins the race; be the tortoise, not the hare. It is advisable to spend a little in promoting your business through social media, however it is important to remember this needn’t be a lot.

Social media is forever evolving to deal with the volume and needs of its consumers, and you should be too. Whilst in reality it is paid search that will aid the most, it is essential that you maintain those loyal followers through monitoring current trends. Keep on top of your social media and you will gain a gradual increase in followers leading to a loyal and highly engaged base.

Here are the top tips to optimizing social media for business using cost-effective options:

  • Be quick to promote on new social media
  • Tailor unique and interesting content for each platform
  • Create interesting visual elements
  • Track trends on free marketing tools
  • Frequent engage with followers – respond to their posts and needs!
  • Improve Social Media Experience (SUX) – does your website have clear social media links?
  • Aim to published useful information, NOT promotional
  • Do give yourself a small budget to promote certain posts that could bring in valuable new followers.               

This article is written in collaboration with Mattan, Founder and CEO of WebITMD.

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Aashish Sharma

Aashish Sharma

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