Social media for SMEs. How to punch above your weight with limited resources

Social media Social media for SMEs. Learn how to punch well above your weight with limited resources

Published on 17.09.2021, Prof. Martina Dalla Vecchia and Cécile Zachlod at the FHNW

Social media is a MUST! Maintaining a presence on the main platforms is a standard aspect of business today, like a company brochure or a business card. But, you can control the intensity of your social media activities. This is especially important for smaller businesses.

Time to money ratio

Particularly when you have limited resources, it’s all the more important to decide where to use them profitably. In addition to financial resources, this also includes the available time, specialist knowledge and passion for reporting on the company and its products, services or projects. Without that passion, a profile soon becomes boring. And that’s a no-go for social media.

Alternatively, most social media platforms offer advertising opportunities. So if you don’t have the time and ambition to impress with your own content, you can reach platform users via social ads. This approach also requires advertising material, but the scope is manageable and easy to calculate. Most platforms offer different billing models with a maximum daily budget. PPC (pay-per-click), where you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, is particularly recommended. It is also important to consider whether you want to invest in the necessary expertise or leave these tasks to an agency.

If you’ve decided to maintain your own presence on social media, it’s also important to note that the strategic approach will largely determine the use of resources.

Strategic approach

The passive strategy always includes a professional profile with contact details, information and images, as well as a regular overview of the analysis data and the message box.

If you want to invest a little more effort and follow an active strategy, you will have a fixed content plan and regularly share relevant content, follow customers and interested parties, like and share content from influencers and market partners.

The proactive strategy takes up the most resources. With this approach, you seek to initiate interactions with the community. You use competitions, questions, (online) live events, etc. to remain in constant contact with fans and the community.

Social media activity level checklist. Source: Dalla Vecchia, Vogel & Zachlod (2020)

Resource-efficient content creation

There’s no doubt about it: content creation ties up resources. Now you have several options for dealing with this. For example, you can outsource the task. This works particularly well for simple consumer goods. For more complex content such as products or services that require explanation and specific specialist knowledge, agency briefing and support could be more time-consuming, making an in-house solution more resource-efficient.

If you prefer to keep content creation in-house, you can save resources with a few simple tricks. Include content in your content planning that you already have. This means content such as newsletter articles, job advertisements, event announcements, etc. And remember: you don't have to create every piece of content yourself. Use links to interesting external content, such as studies or reports that thematically match your company and products.


When it comes to social media, you’re in charge! Remember: YOU ARE WHAT YOU SHARE. The more consciously you use social media, the easier it is to plan resources.


Unfortunately, Connecta Bern again cannot be held in person in 2021 as planned. An alternative programme is available through Connecta TV, Connecta Doc and Connecta Talk – find out more:


  • Dalla Vecchia, M., Vogel, T. & Zachlod, C. (2020). “Social Media: Schritt für Schritt zum Erfolg”.(Social Media: A step-by-step guide to success) In M. Peter & A. Niedermann (publisher), “Digital Marketing für KMU. Wie Unternehmen sich digital vermarkten und kommunizieren.” (Digital Marketing for SMEs. How companies communicate and market themselves digitally). Zurich: Ringier. ISBN 978-3-03875-244-8 (only available in German)
  • (only available in German)

Martina Dalla Vecchia

Martina Dalla Vecchia is a professor at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) for e-commerce, digital marketing and social media. In 2000, she developed Switzerland’s first university course in e-commerce and online marketing. In the context of social media, she is particularly committed to social selling and positioning on LinkedIn (“pimp your profile”). Her motto is: You are what your share!

Cécile Zachlod

Cécile Zachlod is a lecturer in digital marketing and communication at the FHNW and co-head of the Data Driven Marketing CAS course. Her current dissertation project deals with “Social media as a strategic communication tool”.

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