Social media can be a lifeline for small or medium-sized businesses with no budget to spare for online activities. But how can you do drive traffic from social media with no budget available? The answer lies in your organic traffic.
Sure, it would be nice to run lots of paid advertising to drive traffic, but if you’re strategic and clever in how you use social media, you can be very effective in driving engagement and those all-important leads.
In this blog, we’ll show you 9 effective, free, and simple ways to succeed in driving traffic with social media.
Why use social media in your marketing?
By 2027, almost six billion people will be active on social media according to Statista projections. That’s a lot of eyes on your brand and content if you get it in front of the right people.
Plus you can reach any country at any time with social media, so it means you have a global audience at your fingertips. It’s also easy to post content and monitor engagement to see what is and isn’t working easily.
Be aware that there are a lot of social media platforms out there so make sure you choose the right ones for your business and audience. Here are some of the biggest networks out there:
- Facebook – One of the biggest in terms of monthly active users, Facebook allows you to share any type of content and join groups that are relevant to your product or service.
- Instagram – An image and video-driven platform, Instagram is great for businesses that can partner with influencers and make use of relevant hashtags.
- Twitter – A real-time network Twitter is great for piggybacking on topical issues or trending topics, works great for polls and hashtags are integral to getting found.
- YouTube – If you create videos, this is the place to be. Its user base is huge (set to overtake Facebook’s for teens) and caters to any topic or subject.
- Pinterest – A visual discovery engine, this is a wonderful place to curate images and inspire your audience. Content that does well are recipes, home decor, fashion, and other creative areas.
- TikTok – The platform to be active on to target the younger generation. This is about video content that excites and informs along with some challenges thrown in. Hashtags are important here and content can go viral if it hits the right notes.
- LinkedIn – A B2B platform, LinkedIn is a perfect platform for B2B brands or businesses that want to target particular companies or establish themselves as a thought leader in an industry.
Now that you know what’s out there, let’s look at how you can optimize your social media marketing to target your audience.
Devise a content strategy
What will attract people to your social media feed is content that’s relevant, informative and useful. There’s no point in posting content that just brags about your businesses all the time, there needs to be value in it for your audience.
With the needs and interests of your audience in mind, you should look to create a range of content and content types. Don’t just post image after image and wonder why nobody is engaging.
Think about what your business does and how to convey that through content. For example, if you are an eco-conscious brand, you can create a blog that highlights brands that focus on sustainability to drive engagement and traffic.
Vary your feed with videos, blog posts, polls or questions, inspirational quotes or curated content. With social media, it’s not about quantity, but quality. Take time to think about what topics and issues matter to your audience and craft relevant and interesting content that links back to your business.
Target your audience
While this varies on social media platforms, you can tweak settings to target your audience. This can boost the potential of your organic posts and make sure you’re targeting the right people with your content.
For example, on Facebook, you can target people by:
You can also do this on Twitter and hashtags are very useful in categorizing your content under certain topics or areas of interest like #digitalmarketing on many platforms.
Look at your competitors
While you may not have a budget for paid social media campaigns, your competitors might. The best way to learn what your audience wants is to see what your peers are doing to attract and engage.
Focus on the language they use, the content formats and the tone. Are they looking to drive traffic or create downloadable assets for lead generation? Is there a gender or location focus that you could learn from?
You could use social listening tools for this. Some examples include Hootsuite or Social Mention. These tools can also be used for listening to your audience (be aware plans with more insight come at a cost).
Use the right hashtags
On social media, hashtags can be used to drive likes, comments and shares. While once only associated with Twitter, hashtags are now used widely on social media networks as a way to categorize content and create relevancy.
A good way to know what hashtags to use is to see what your competitors post but also look at influencers in your sector. A tool like Hashtagify.me will help you see trending and popular hashtags
For a more detailed look at hashtags on each platform, check out ‘How To Use Hashtags Effectively on Social Media’.
Conduct polls and ask questions
The best way to drive organic engagement on social media is to be engaging!
Don’t expect your customer to come to you, post questions to ask for feedback or opinions on your brand or product. This will not only drive engagement but also give you insight into your audience.
Polls are another great way to engage an audience. People are naturally inclined to want to participate and give their opinion, so conducting a poll gives an opportunity to give feedback and add value.
Experiment with posting times
While there are many blogs about the best time to post on various networks, the best way for you to understand your audience is to experiment.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to post times, so don’t just follow the crowd. Plus, every other marketer will have read those ‘best times’ blogs too so will post content at those times.
So pick times that are not popular and deemed as ‘slow’. You can schedule posts in advance to make it easier to test days and times. For example, why not try midnight on Sunday to see what happens or 5am on a weekday?
You may be surprised by what you learn and your content may make it through the ‘noise’.
Work with influencers
While mega-influencers are out of the question with no budget, niche nano-influencers may be interested in a partnership with your brand.
You can dip your toe into influencer marketing by looking out for an influencer that posts content related to your industry but has a low follower count. This may mean they are open to collaboration that provides them with free products/services in exchange for a call out or a reshare of their content on your feed.
It’s worth building relationships with like-minded people on social networks as you never know what may come out of it.
People love to get things for free especially if they deem it of value. This provides you with the opportunity to run competitions that offer a free product or a free trial of a product.
User-generated content can be very useful here as it will showcase content from ‘real’ people but also give you access to imagery that promotes your brand or sector in a way you may be able to use again.
Competitions not only encourage people to give you their details for lead nurture, but also share it on social media to their friends and followers which will expand your reach (see the GoMacro example below). Competitions can be a great way to drive traffic through social media.
Use customer testimonials
People on social media are swayed by reviews. According to brightlocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey 2022, in 2021, 77% ‘always’ or ‘regularly’ read reviews when browsing for local businesses (up from 60% in 2020).
Your customers are your best brand advocates so make sure you shout about their reviews on social media. Turn positive feedback into content you can share on social media.
Also, make sure you reply to customer reviews and share them on your channel tagging the person that left it. It creates a good vibe and shows you care about your customers.
As you can see, there are many ways to use social media to boost engagement, drive traffic and generate leads with little or no budget.
With so many great content marketing tools out there, you no longer need an in-house designer or expensive software to create eye-catching social posts.
The key to succeeding on social media is to know your audience, tailor content to that audience and drive engagement to expand reach and drive brand awareness. Now that you know what to do, what are you waiting for?!
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