So you’ve decided to start a business. You are probably super prepared and you have hundreds of thousands of dollars saved, ready to invest in the hopeful success of your new venture.
If that is you, then you should hire a marketing company and skip reading this blog post.
For the rest of us, let’s dig in to some low-or-no- cost alternatives to hiring that marketing firm with the plush furniture and corner office.
In your FACEbook
When we opened our business two years ago, I thought Facebook was just for individuals, and largely (some people may not like me saying this) a good way to waste a lot of time.
Before we opened, I had received some advice suggesting that Facebook would be a good way to promote our business. My experience to that point was working with Chick-fil-A, and although they do use social media for marketing purposes, they certainly don’t have to, and so I thought I wouldn’t need to either.
Nevertheless I decided to give it a go, after all it was basically free.
The response of the community when they found out through our new Business Facebook Page that we would be opening a Local Coffee Shop and Bakery was nothing less than huge. We were blown away with the digital excitement frenzy which ensued.
I even started worrying that we would be overrun with business. Although we had some very strong grand opening sales, this proved to be an unfounded fear, and thus, marketing through social media became not only a great idea, but necessary.
This pic from one of our pre-open training sessions was one of the first ones we used on Facebook…
Time To Advertise
We have been blessed with wonderful team members from the beginning, and one of our baristas was full of great marketing ideas. He was always suggesting ideas to get the word out and promote our baby business.
The most economical way to do this by far was to use our Facebook page to promote daily specials, post pictures of bakery items and drinks, team members serving customers, and on and on.
This was immediately effective! Customers would show up literally minutes after I had posted about an item or promotion, asking about what they had seen on our Facebook page.
This was actually working.
It wasn’t long before we decided to put our marketing platform to the test on the next level, and that was through a boosted post. We were so tight on money that we set the budget at $5 for our first boosted post.
The difference was noticeable, even in these early days before we really knew how to write engaging posts. We still regularly set our budget for $5 for a post boost. It really is that effective.
The Engaged Follower
The more engaging your post is, the more people will share it and comment on it. While pretty much any post can get “likes” or other reactions, what you are really looking for is shares and comments.
Some of our most engaging posts have been when our followers “tag” one of their facebook friends about whatever we are promoting and a conversation ensues. Sometimes others start to join in and a single post will get us recognition for days or even weeks.
Practice Makes… You Better
Writing posts does take practice, and there is no better way to learn than to keep doing it and measuring your results. Facebook makes this pretty easy. They offer tools to measure the effectiveness of your posts, especially posts that you choose to boost.
So write posts and pay attention to your results. Vary your approach until you find what resonates with your audience.
Social Media is a constantly changing medium for advertising, and staying aware of policy and algorithm changes is essential to continue to see great results from your ads. We will cover this in more detail in a future post, as well as discuss other social media platforms for advertising.
What low-or-no cost marketing options have YOU found to be effective? Instagram? Pinterest? Share in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!