Using Social Media to Build Your Brand When You Have a Small Budget
When I opened Top Flight Computers, I didn't have much of a budget for marketing and advertising. I'll be honest, I had basically no budget. As the business has progressed, I've gained more capital that I can use in various ways.
I've also gained a significant amount of knowledge about what works best for me. I'm no marketing person (I build computers), but I figured I'd share what I've found works well for me.
I'll start with Facebook first, because I tend to spend more time there than I do on LinkedIn. I'll get to LinkedIn in a minute though.
Everybody And Their Facebook Page
Lots of businesses have a Facebook Page (if you don't have one…own a small business…and wish you did better on social media, get a Page), but lots of businesses don't understand that they're all competing for the same real estate on your phone and/or tablet.
Some people might scroll through their feed for an hour or so, but most spend far less time per session scrolling.
Between paid ads, a thousand other pages that are posting organically, and your friends and family...that time span of digital real estate is incredibly packed.
This means you to need to maximize your effectiveness when you do have a chance.
Getting Around the News Feed Wall
Because you have a small budget, getting a more costly ad isn't the best option.
I've found that using a Facebook Group hosted by the business, "checking-in" at my business as myself, and tagging the Page in relevant posts as myself works fairly well.
But Chris...I'm doing that already, and I'm not seeing an increase in engagement on my Page.
The key as always, is the content.
I try to write content that elicits a positive reaction from the reader. More importantly, is the "positive" and "reaction". If you can create content that makes your reader laugh, smile, think, or go look something up, you'll have a greater chance that they'll remember you.
If they react to your post physically, they have a higher chance of engaging with that post.
I put emphasis on positive, because people react better with positive posts. While you can post about a rough time, try to put a positive spin on it. Sure, bad things happen in life, and these are exceptions to the rule. But don't rant about a prospect or a customer on social media. If the prospect/customer sees it, they will of course have an issue with it.
More importantly, your friends will see you talking poorly about someone, and they might not think as well of you because of it. This could have serious impact on your brand and business in the future.
Don't worry about the difference between a like/comment/share, those will come with time. Just get the engagement....which means writing good content.
It doesn't have to be a super long blog, it just needs to be content that connects with the reader.
Multiple Distribution Platforms
I tend to post informative and funny content on my Facebook Page, informative/funny/personal content on my own account, and informative/funny/helpful content on my Facebook Group.
Having multiple outlets helps the content reach more people, and helps to maintain a consistent digital presence.
If you don't already know, a website link in your post on Facebook is a “negative” on the post.
It draws people away from Facebook, which is opposite to what Facebook wants. However, a picture is a “positive”, as it can increase engagement with the post. These two can cancel each other out, which can be good or bad, depending on your perspective.
Hashtags are different, in that they help users who would have had difficulty finding your content without the hashtag.
Tagging other entities on Facebook also helps, in that it increases the digital reach of the post, and can result in increased engagement. Those entities might even share your content, which is great!
LinkedIn is much of the same as Facebook, though the Page and Group aspect isn't quite the same level. I find that LinkedIn is much more content-driven, and can depend on how you write posts, what you write, and who you're connected with.
Facebook and LinkedIn both work well with personal content, because people like knowing that there's a real person behind the business...but LinkedIn relies on it a little bit more.
LinkedIn Post Formatting
I've found that changing how you format certain posts can change the engagement and overall effectiveness of the post, and thus, the power of your brand.
Instead of writing a long essay-style post, with 5 sentences/paragraph, and a few paragraphs (too many large walls of text), break it up into MUCH smaller sentences, and lots of them. You'll find a few examples on my profile.
These posts can seem very weird at first, because you have to click the "read more" button to read the whole post....but then you're getting the reader to actively engage with your post.
If they click the button, they obviously wanted to see what else you had to say, which may be due to you connecting with them on some level.
Or, they view you as an authority figure, which is even better.
Please, Don't Sell
Now this is key on LinkedIn, and in business overall. People HATE being sold to.
I genuinely enjoy meeting new people, and this works to my advantage. I don't "sell" my services or products. I rely on the overall value I bring to the table and the reviews my clients have given me to do the work.
If you want to build your brand on social media, and have a low budget, this is key. Do Not Sell.
If people like you, like what you're doing with your business, could possibly have a need for your services at some point (or know someone who might), then just focus on developing the relationship with that person, and the sales will come.
How do you build that relationship without chatting with that person every day?
I had a previous client who ended up talking about me and my business to a coworker, who ended up connecting with me on Facebook.
We ended up talking for a short bit, and he ended up telling me about another guy who I had connected with on LinkedIn a few months ago, and should have followed up with sooner.
I quickly contacted the guy from LinkedIn, and was able to schedule a lunch meeting not long after.
That likely would not have happened if I wasn't putting in the work on social media to maintain a strong digital presence.
Social media isn't hard, but it does require you to put in the work. If done correctly, you can see a sizable boost in your organic reach and engagement, which is what we're all after...