This is a guest post written by Jenny Hale, The Military Social Media Guru at jennyhale.com
I hear it all the time.
“We just don’t have a marketing budget right now.”
It’s an endless cycle for some military community entrepreneurs (and civilian ones too). You know you need to market to get money and you need the money in order to pay for marketing.
If this sounds like you, an entrepreneur who wants to succeed but has a limited budget, you can still find ways to make your business’ marketing work for you. Below are three hacks that can help you go from broke to full-time.
1. Use social media (correctly!)
Everyone says to use it, so you are, but is it working?
After years of studying the Facebook algorithm, your money is not wisely invested in boosting your posts or spending hours finding articles online to cross-post to your business page. It’s about finding targeted followers (so quit wasting time in Facebook groups asking people to like your business page!) and encouraging them to engage with your content.
The best way to use social media is to foster a sense of community and support around a topic and use your social media platforms to enhance that relationship. If you’re dropping links to your blog on Facebook all day, you’re wasting everyone’s time. It will only get seen by few on your Facebook page anyways.
Instead, write banging content and deliver it in a way that is conducive to the platform you’re on. For Facebook, this currently means going Live. With Instagram, this is a representative image and proper hashtags. For LinkedIn, this is using the publishing feature. For Twitter, this is creating several lead-ins with a link to your content and a few key hashtags.
Every platform is different and understanding the content that performs best on each is vital before you waste your time. After all, time is money.
I did just say time is money.
If marketing is not your strong point or you absolutely hate it (hey, it happens!), you will save more money (as well as time and stress) in the long-run by outsourcing it.
If you do outsource it, don’t budget it. You pay for quality and by going cheap now, it will cost you more in the long-run. Sales will be slower and an inexperienced manager will not produce content as quickly or as efficiently as needed. Budget your time. Don’t budget your quality.
It’s all about who you know.
If you are out there promoting your products, you could be missing vital time getting to know your “competitors” (I’m all for community over competition), talking to complimentary entrepreneurs, or meeting potential clients.
One of the biggest lessons I learned was that focusing too much on the “now” can be the biggest waste of time compared to thinking three steps ahead. If you’re all-consumed with your current marketing strategy and not planning for the payback months or years from now, networking can get you back on track. Oh yeah, it’s also free!
Marketing doesn’t have to cost a fortune – whether that be time or money. There are many things you can do just by using your own brand reputation, meeting new people, maximizing your time online, and outsourcing the tasks you know you don’t enjoy.
Jenny Hale is a marketing and social media consultant, coach, and teacher for military spouse and veteran business owners. Nicknamed “The Military Social Media Guru,” she uses her background working with military non-profits, corporate companies, the Army, and as an entrepreneur to help others struggling to meet their business dreams. With the goal of bridging the gap between the military community’s marketing efforts to civilians and vice versa, Jenny works to make an entrepreneur’s vision come to life. You can follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Facebook.