By Uwe Dreissigacker

As a small business owner it is of utmost importance to achieve the highest return on investment of your marketing budget. The marketing budget of a small business is already under scrutiny by any financial hit the company takes. It is often the first place to look for budget cuts.

Therefore, it is crucial to make use of free and inexpensive ways of marketing your products and services. Since the business world is rapidly moving online it is important to keep an eye on online marketing and social media marketing trends.

Below I’ve collected three of the most effective and easy to implement strategies to boost your social media presence in an attempt to increase sales while keeping costs low.

Spring Clean Your Social Media Accounts

There is no reason to invest your valuable time and money into getting your company’s social media strategy right if your potential customers get greeted with an outdated company logo, a wrong business address or old posts.

Make sure to create a list of all of your social media accounts and then go through the list one by one. Consistency is important as it shows that you take your brand identity serious. Update the same company logo as profile picture on all social media sites. Furthermore, make sure that your business address, opening times, website link and description is up to date.

Determine Who You Want to Reach

It might look impressive to receive a hundred or even a thousand likes on a status update on your company’s Facebook page. However, does it really matter? For a long time companies and bad marketers have been simply chasing numbers – tweets, retweets, likes, shares. The more important question, however, is whether or not these likes and tweets turn into paying customers.

Getting a bunch of likes from a location which you don’t serve or a person who isn’t your target customer doesn’t provide any real value to your company.

So the question is: what audience are you trying to reach? This information should already be included in your business or marketing plan and include your customer’s age, location, income level, education and interests. Once you have a clear picture of your target customer you can not only choose which social media platform best fits your criteria but also what kind of content you want to share on there.

While Facebook does well with consumer brands, LinkedIn is more B2B orientated, and Twitter is a great place to attract freelancers.

Put Your Social Media Efforts on Autopilot

Managing all of your social media accounts can take a lot of your time, especially when using multiple platforms at the same time. In order to minimize your workload you should use social media management tools. These tools don’t only help you to automatically post tweets and Facebook updates, but they also show you which content performs the best.

The most prominent tools for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn management are Hootsuite and Buffer. Both of them will tell you the best time when to post an update. You can pre-schedule multiple updates in advance so you won’t need to remember to be online and log into your social media accounts when it’s time to post your content. It mainly comes down to your personal preferences which of the two tools you end up using to put your social media on autopilot.

While the first two points are completely for free, the social media management tools come at a cost of a few bucks per month. However, your saved time and optimized content publishing will be worth every penny.