“Thirty-six percent of SMBs spend on median average $845 a month on software tools for social media management.”
If that figure makes you gasp, then this next one probably will too.
“Another 22% of SMBs use consultants to aid with their [social media marketing] efforts.”
Both figures recently appeared on the Duct Tape Marketing blog and are from a survey conducted by Vocus, a provider of cloud-based marketing tools.
While I’m not doubting the findings – I’ve priced many of the social media marketing tools and you’ll spend $845 per month faster than you’d like to know – I also know there are a lot of small and medium businesses out there maybe spending that quarterly or annually. Certainly not monthly.
So what is a small business like yours to do if $845 per month for social media marketing tools plus the budget for consulting services isn’t in the cards? The only thing you can do: put on your do-it-yourself boots.
There’s way more than one blog’s worth of ideas for tackling do-it-yourself social media marketing. And don’t worry; we’re going to explore them. But to get you started, here are four things you can do this week to jump start a social media marketing initiative.
- Set up Google Alerts. Start seeing what people are saying in blogs and other online media about your brand, your biggest competitor and your industry. You can receive this in your RSS reader or via email and it is entirely free.
- Comment on blogs. Select a couple blogs or local media outlets that are relevant to your business and industry. Start reading them regularly and commenting constructively on posts. This will get your name in front of the writer as well as other readers.
- Set up a Twitter account. Either for your company or just for you, set up a Twitter account and start becoming familiar with platform’s norms, functionality and your opportunity to use it for business purposes. It may or may not be a good long-term fit for you, but exploring is one of the first steps to making that determination.
- Follow brands on Facebook. Follow a brand or two you love and a brand or two you compete with on Facebook. Start making mental notes of the things they do well and not so well.
These steps will all help you get a lay of the land without spending a dime. Check back here next month and we’ll go into a few of the tools available for managing your social media marketing. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much is available no matter how tiny your marketing budget is.