When you’re a small business or a startup with very little budget to properly market your product or service, it gets very difficult to make a real impact. In the past, it would have been nigh on impossible without advertising dollars to get any kind of online presence. Now that we’ve entered an age of social media, things have changed a little bit.

I think the first and most important thing for people to understand is that merely spending time and giving an effort on your social media accounts is an excellent start. The last thing you’d want is for customers to see a blank and abandoned social media site. It gives off a sense of indifference that reflects on the rest of your business no matter how stellar the actual product or service is.

Secondly, one of the mistakes that some novice social media managers make is posting too often about their company’s product, service, or company news. While it might seem really nice and you might even feel very proud of your company’s progress it is very unlikely that an outsider, particularly one that is completely new to the company. It is a much better idea to post information relevant to your industry or news that is interesting and useful to your potential consumers. You want people visiting your sites because they find the content to be generally beneficial for them to read. Bottom line is, unless your company is the second coming of apple, you need engaging content while marketing to attract customer interest.

The next thing to do is find the times that your customers like to respond in social media. This allows you to find the best time in your schedule to go and engage with customers on sites like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, or whatever else you decide to use. You can download various applications on your laptop or phone to test how far your tweets reach and who responds to them. Over the course of weeks or months, this would be a much more valuable method of seeing the growth of your social media visibility than merely counting your followers.

And finally, make sure that at least some of your posts engage the viewers in conversation or serve to elicit a response from them! Ask questions, call them to action, give an opinion on something! Using pictures and making your posts interactive are the easiest ways to attract eyeballs. Some throwaway fact about something in your industry is easy to slide past someone’s vision, but a bright vibrant post with an interesting question or comment to boot would make anyone want to stop and give it a chance at the bare minimum.