There’s no shortage of social media marketing tactics to promote your brand online, but not all of them are efficient. As a marketer, you have a finite number of hours in the day and a finite budget to work with, not to mention pressure to get the best results possible.

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So, you're going to be looking for social media tactics that are effective. And while such “effectiveness” can be categorized in multiple ways, one of the most important is efficiency: How effective is a certain tactic compared to the effort required to execute it?

These six social media marketing tactics offer some of the most “bang for your buck,” giving you the biggest impact and broadest return for the least amount of initial investment:

1. Content distribution

Hopefully, you’re already engaged in a content-marketing strategy. If not, you need to start -- because one of social media’s most powerful roles is as an outlet for promoting your published material.

Whenever you publish a new post, use your social media channels to boost that post to the public. This will do a number of things for your brand: You’ll attract more initial traffic to your post, achieve more visibility (especially if that post is shared) and encourage more customer loyalty (especially with consistent updates), all of which can help improve your SEO. Best of all, it only takes a few minutes once your post is live.

2. Content re-distribution

Content distribution is about making a recent post available to more people, but content re-distribution is about maximizing the value of your older posts. It’s a good idea to keep a running list of your “evergreen” content pieces, and re-post them on an occasional and rotating basis.

This will help keep your social media profiles full of regular updates, and will maximize the long-term value of every evergreen post you produce. The trick is to time and frame your posts so your followers don’t get sick of seeing the same things over and over. What's more, this is not a time- or budget-intensive strategy.

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3. Discussion engagement

Discussion can attract more people to your brand and keep them there for the long term. A new discussion in a newsfeed gives unfamiliar users the chance to get involved, while familiar users who engage in the discussion will feel they’re an even stronger part of your community, driving more traffic and conversions down the road.

Your approach to discussion engagement should vary; sometimes, you may happen across an interesting industry-related discussion and throw your own opinions into the mix. Sometimes, you'll come up with a discussion topic of your own and ask your audience about a topic directly.

4. Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing wins for sheer virtue of its potential. Though there are several potential tactics here, all have the same basic function; you’ll engage an influencer in some way, and tap into his or her pre-existing levels of visibility, earning a better reputation for your brand and possibly gaining some of the celebrity's followers through association.

At 100,000 followers, even a 1 percent gain will mean 1,000 new followers for your brand. Your approach can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be; sometimes, even a basic action like sharing a post or replying to a question will be enough to earn you this visibility.

5. Live updates

The social media world is rapidly shifting toward real-time experiences, with platforms and technologies that support such in-the-moment posting capabilities. Your users want to know what’s happening right now, so why not give it to them?

Live updates, in the context of a public forum or special event, can be extraordinarily powerful ways for you to engage with your customers -- updates offer a first-person perspective of your company’s active participation and require only a few minutes of your time per post to keep them in the loop.

6. Contests

Contests are effective because the promise of a prize or reward leads to more initial engagement, and users will be more likely to share your material, giving it more potential visibility. Sharing is especially powerful when your contest involves some means of user-based content generation, such as a photo submission contest.

Either way, the money you’ll pay for a prize will pale in comparison to the visibility and reputation benefits you’ll reap.

Among the myriad social media tactics you can use, these strategies will guarantee you some of the best overall returns on your time and monetary investment. While these steps shouldn’t be the only ones in your social media marketing campaign, they should be priorities.

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Keep them as an integral part of your social media marketing strategy, and watch how your influence and reach develop over time.