The various platforms make it possible for small businesses to run highly successful marketing campaigns with just a fraction of the budget big brands possess – some tactics not requiring even a single buck. It’s all about creativity and engaging your audience, which points to the fact that you first have to understand your audience base and how it uses different social networks.

In fact, even the multi-million dollar brands have shifted their focus to social media marketing strategies to promote themselves. They’ve had some brilliant ideas that small businesses can learn from, using similar principles to tailor to your own campaigns. Watch and learn – see how the big guys do it and get inspired.

Encourage user-generated content

Instagram is often referred to as “the mecca of user-generated content”– and for good reason. But you can even use your audience’s input as content on platforms such as Facebook or Twitter – make use of those hashtags, retweeting, and sharing options. This is one of the best marketing strategies as it will provide relevant content, get buzz for your brand, cultivate a fan base, and form a relationship with your audience. It’s a win-win situation for both sides, as you strengthen your brand’s identity and give something in return – whether it’s the excitement (or needed exposure) that comes with being featured on your page or an actual prize. Let’s check out how some big brands ‘’rocked the socks off’’ out of this marketing strategy:

●       Marc Jacobs “Tweet Shop”

In 2014, Marc Jacobs created a campaign based on mutual benefit, using a bold and fresh idea: social media posts as currency. The campaign was run for Daisy perfume, and in return for perfume samples, all that you needed to do was post a Daisy perfume-inspired photo on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. As you can expect, people were more than happy to participate, the campaign got a lot of attention across platforms, and Marc Jacobs gained some more loyal fans.

●       GoPro

What better way to show your products in action than through user-generated content? GoPro asks consumers to submit photos and videos created with their wearable cameras, many of which have gone viral on YouTube. They even have a GoPro Awards program and cash prizes for the best submitted photos, raw clips, and video edits.

Focus on building a community

Exposing the core values of your company on social media will draw an audience with the same interests and belief systems, further connecting them in a community of like-minded people. That said, your social media marketing campaign needs to go beyond the products you offer. Think about the bigger picture. Your brand could even unite people around a common issue, creating a space for users to interact.

Wholesome Culture, for example, pulls this one off beautifully. Namely, this is a fashion brand that makes cruelty- free clothing. Their campaign is aimed at vegans, and along with cruelty-free clothing, their mission is to also spread the message about plant-based eating and environmental consciousness. They post memes and pop-culture references with a message of being animal-friendly, using appropriate hashtags to attract the right audience.

But that’s not all: although they’re a clothing brand, they also share short videos of vegan recipes. At first sight, food has nothing to do with fashion retail, but it’s about a community of people gathered around a common value – the plant-based lifestyle. And Wholesome Culture is saying through their social media presence that they want to help cultivate that community and its values.

So think carefully about how your content can form a space for users and create interaction. Check out some of the most reliable content marketing agencies and their top clients. You’ll find that community management is one of the primary goals of their strategy for sure.

Staying fresh: make use of current events

Whatever is the buzzword at the moment, locally or globally, is an opportunity for you to stay on top with your social media marketing campaign and gain exposure. Forming content around a current event will keep your social media presence fresh. You can engage your audience and gain a following by offering something playful or shareworthy.

Here’s a brilliant example: LIDL UK’s “Avoracle.” Avocados have something of a cult following – and so do large sports events. LIDL UK put the two together in a quirky social media campaign during the 2016 European soccer championships with the “Avoracle.” the avocado whose pit would predict the winners of soccer matches. You can see the impact in the video linked below. As they say, “LIDL won the European championship on social media”.

You don’t have to shell out millions of dollars on a complex campaign and sophisticated videos, but you can always use currents events with a large following to be part of the fun and to engage your audience. Just think creatively and try to go in a direction that would encourage sharing. Use the buzz to your advantage.

Lastly, keep in mind that social media has become a channel for customer service, and all big brands, such as Starbucks, are engaging their users and asking for their opinions about new products. As a small business owner, you’re at an advantage because you have fewer restrictions than bigger brands and you can express more authenticity. There are many more great examples of social media marketing campaigns, so you can always stay updated and freshen up on your ideas. Be bold and stay inspired – you’ll be on the right track.


** About the Author: Natasha Lane is a web designer, lady of a pen, paper and keyboard, and one hell of a tech geek. She is always happy to collaborate with awesome blogs and share her knowledge about IT, digital marketing and technology trends via creating high-quality content.