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Achieving social media goals with no budget  

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Public sector often thinks that social media work is free or very cheap. There’s a tendency to make this part of the organisation, a one-person team. But along with the impact of COVID-19 crisis, the sector is forced to innovate communication and marketing strategies to embrace the digital world. Despite this, public sector continues find it hard to secure budget allocation. 

So how can social media professionals from the sector still achieve their goals with little to no budget?  

Start by determining a strategy  

Social media strategy can often be overlooked when it is the most powerful tool to drive citizen engagementspecific approach is vital in any marketing endeavor, especially if there is only a couple of nickels to spare. To still make a strategy happen, social media staff can start pinpointing particular accomplishments in social media, focus setting goals to achieve that, and make sure these goals align with business value.  

For instance, if the interest is to gain engagement, determining the intention of such engagement is needed. What is the purpose of each post? Is it to bring the audience to a sign-up page? And rather profoundly, is it to gain more subscribers?   

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Focus on a few social media channels  

A small social media team cannot keep tabs of all social media networks. Knowing which channel to prioritize will save time and effort. To identify a channel to focus on, a organisation can check what resources they have available. For example, if they have a large video production capacity, that means they can focus on producing content for Youtube and Facebook. But if they only have an ability for simple visuals and texts, then LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are the ways to go.  

Also, organisations may need to check social media channel demography. Where are their customers more active? What kind of content do their customers subscribe? They can visit their customer’s pages and profiles to check this or use a free version of tools like BuzzSumo to know what viral content keeps their potential followers up at night.  

Follow a process  

In social media, timing is the most overlooked part of the puzzle. Posting a content out of gut feel will eventually become another wasted effort. Establishing a social media process includes scheduling a time dedicated to content planning, content creation, and social media maintenance. It provides efficiency that may develop into an instinct on how a social media channel work without delving into the algorithm. It’s like training the team to become familiar with the environment through a systematic process and gain “social media muscle memory.”  

Determine the tools to use  

There are many free social media tools online that businesses with a little budget can maximize. Google alerts can monitor trending keywords that can incorporate into a social media post. The free version of Hootsuite can also be a nifty tool for scheduling posts around the clock. However, it is crucial for organisations to still act like a genuine persona on these channels, and automated posts can defeat that process when it becomes too spammy. So, it pays to use these with caution.   

Content is King and always have been  

Audiences will always demand fresh content, and this pressure varies on every social media channel. A twitter channel, for example, needs at least three posts a day to become engaging. And then Facebook needs videos and images. To achieve content with little budget, organisations can use free tools like Canva and free image providers like Unsplash. Crowdsourcing content is also not a bad idea and can drive more engagement from the community.  

Jump on the bandwagon of another channel’s success 

This is more known as Piggyback marketing. Organisations can use the popularity of other brands to give social media marketing a boost. Using Google alerts and Google trends, a post can contain reshared viral memes, videos, and high traffic content. It shows the business personality and makes the organisation somewhat relatable to the general public. 

Get the word out  

Employees are the first group of people who can get the word out about an organisation. They can turn into evangelists, amplifying social media presence to get a head start in the promotion. In the same way, happy customers can also serve as advocates in the social sphere. Joining a social group of similar interests can be a way to spread the word. Recognizing and incentivizing these people and groups goes a long way. A simple shoutout and a discount coupon to the next event will do wonders.  

Monitor performance  

Finally, social media teams need to keep track of social media performance to gain insights on what strategy works and what does not. Statistics can be used to make a case on social media ROI and may even convince the organisation to shift gears in terms of marketing focus. But again, this starts with an excellent social media strategy and implementation.  

Still interested? Stay tuned for information on upcoming conferences and summits by subscribing here 

Current virtual conferences that may be of interest to you: 

Comms for GOV Virtual Workshops 

When: Wednesday, 26 August 2020 

Where: Online 

Why: Develop effective internal & external communications tactics and strategies in times of crisis.    

Who: Comms & PR,  Social Media and Marketing professionals 

Social Media for GOV Virtual Summit 

When: Wed – Fri, 05 – 07 August 2020 

Where: Online 

Why: Address the most significant challenges being faced today & uncover best practice strategies and technology to improve the impact and value of social media efforts.  

Who: Social Media, Marketing, Comms & PR professionals 

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