The best cost effective ways to improve your social media marketing don’t cost anything – but can make a huge difference. If you’re looking for budget friendly hacks to improve social media and transform your results, we have seven ideas that are worth trying out. Let’s begin!

1. Work On Defining Your Audience Before Spending Money on Advertising

It’s easy to push ads as a familiar, reliable way of representing your brand on social media and beyond. But starting with ads carries a big risk for smaller companies – they often don’t have enough information about their audience to target these ads correctly, which leads to a lot of waste ad fees that could otherwise be avoided.

Before launching new ads, take time to define your online audience and understand its different segments. When possible, track how your visitors act when they visit your site, and what similar sites they may have visited if possible. Use surveys and collected data to create customer personas that allow you to analyze the purchasing habits different parts of your audience may have. Reach a strong understanding of your audience, and then target your online ads to reach them in effective ways. It’s a free and accurate way to boost ad results!

On this note, we’ll also mention that tactics like Facebook remarketing are becoming more popular. Remarketing is a type of ad that installs cookies so it can “follow” a visitor online, allowing them to see the ad more than once. Remarketing’s success can vary based on industry and audience: Sometimes it’s promising, and sometimes people hate them, so we’re not going to recommend them for everybody. But it’s also another reason to analyze your audience before making important ad decisions!

2. Try IFTTT or Similar Automation Tools for Social Posting

IFTTT (If This Then That) is a popular automation and smart device control tool that allows you to create or adopt your own commands: When used well, it’s a great way to save time and easy to teach to newcomers! Even if you don’t want to use IFTTT, look into other automation options that can accomplish similar goals.

One of the most effective ways to use IFTTT or other tools is to set up social posting rules. For example, you can connect actions across Facebook and Twitter: If you change profile information on Facebook, the tool will update Twitter with the same information, and so on. Create a post on Facebook, and the tool can ensure the post is uploaded to other social sites as well. These little tricks are very versatile and can save tons of time!

3. Divide Your Posts on Longform Content by Audience

If you define and segment your audience as we suggested in step 1, there’s another trick you can use when posting about longform content. Let’s say you have a really great blog post or a big study/project that your brand is particularly proud of. It’s natural to post on social media with a link to that content. However, with the right audience information, you can go a couple steps further and create multiple posts about your content, set to post at intervals over a period of time. Create each post to target a different portion of your audience. One post might want to emphasize useful statistics that your link will provide. Another post might emphasize how the content can help people save money. Each should be crafted to catch the eye of a particular lead.

4. Tie in More Direct CTA Options to Your Social Media

Vague CTAs and organic traffic often come across a similar problem – they take people to landing pages on a site, which don’t offer much helpful direction. As a result, a lot of leads fizzle out at landing pages. You can fix this problem by creating more direct CTAs that skip the landing page option and go right to more powerful actions – like immediately calling your business, viewing particular products, signing up for a deal, or more. Facebook is especially good at this.

5. Test Content Ideas on Twitter

Your content creators may run across interesting facts, graphs, or stats and wonder if they would make a good subject for a longer content piece. An easy and free way to test this out is simply to post them on Twitter. Add a “What do you think?” or “Isn’t this interesting?” tag. If you get more social signals than normal on that post, you know it’s viable for a longer content option.

6. Build Email to Build Social

Struggling to get your social numbers up? Use email to fuel your efforts. Focus on increasing your email subscriptions – then start linking your emails to important social posts, or mentioning your new work/contests on Twitter. You should also be linking to your blog posts, which should in turn contain buttons for sharing to social media. This allows you to “recruit” your loyal email subscribers to your social media audience as well.

7. Take Time To Get Involved in Industry Conversations

Take a little time to leave signs of your presence around the Web. Comment on important blog posts, leave informative tips on LinkedIn, and generally represent your company as an authoritative source. This can help with SEO, increase the organic visitors you get on social media, and improve your standing among your peers. Try it out!