Every small business struggles with the same thing: how to get a lot done with minimal time and resources.
When you're a company of two, or five, or even twelve, there's a good chance every single person involved is wearing multiple hats. There's simply too much to do and not enough hands on deck.
I speak often about how small businesses can be more effective internally when it comes to their marketing efforts. It's a chicken-and-the-egg sort of problem, because obviously more time and resources would make marketing easier, but in order to have that those resources you need more cash available to be spent on marketing--and in order to bring in more revenue, you need to market yourself and acquire more customers.
The conversation just sort of goes in loops while frustration mounts.
Here's the thing: in order to move the needle, you're going to need to make an investment. You're either going to have to push through and invest more time internally, or you're going to have to invest cash and hire someone externally.
But that's assuming you're already doing everything "right" with the hours you and your employees are already spending. And honestly, most of the time, small businesses end up making a lot of mistakes internally that cost them significantly.
So, how can your small team have a big impact?
1. Don't try to be everywhere at once.
This is one of the most difficult things for both small (and even big) businesses to understand, and it's because the allure of marketing channels is strong. With so many free channels, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking you need to be everywhere at once.
What ends up happening, however, is by trying to be everywhere, you're truly nowhere. Posting sub-par content just to say you have a "presence" on every platform does nothing. Seriously. You are far, far better off choosing one platform and going all-in on making that platform a go-to resource in your industry.
You don't want to "have a presence." You want to be a leading voice.
2. Play off the strengths of your employees.
This really speaks to the larger conversations of millennials and what they desire in a workplace: they want to bring their unique value to the table, and feel like they have ownership over their work.
Too many companies, however, end up debilitating themselves by not allowing their employees to have enough freedom. They fear letting their intern (who majored in photography but you hired to be an account manager) run their Instagram page, for no other reason than the fact that they want to maintain control.
Instead, look for the talents and skill sets of your employees and give them passion projects. What, are you really going to run your own Instagram page? Are you a good photographer? Do you even have an interest in doing that? No, no, and no, you probably don't. So go fire up your intern (who loves photography), explain the overall parameters for what is considered appropriate content ("Just don't post pictures of alcohol in the kitchen, please.") and then give them creative freedom.
You'll have a far better page. That employee will feel like they have ownership over something and enjoy their job more--which builds loyalty. And your business will benefit as a result.
3. Do not make promises--to your audience and your employees--you can't keep.
Do you want to know what kills morale, both internally and externally, faster than anything else?
Small businesses lose so much momentum for themselves when they make huge promises they can't keep--like, "We're going to share our newsletter every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday! Subscribe here!"
What ends up happening then is, of course, resources run thin, the promise was made before anyone internally truly understood the time investment, subscribers get mad because the promise they signed up for isn't being honored, and team members feel let down and defeated.
Start small, and deliver on that small promise.
4. Think in "categories" and mass produce content.
As someone who creates original content on a daily basis (I think I write more than anyone else on the Internet, honestly) I am telling you first-hand that one of the best things you can do for yourself is think about content in terms of categories.
The brain really struggles to jump between different types of tasks back and forth. So when you go to create your content internally, don't think about each individual piece separately. Making an image quote, and then writing a blog post, and then writing a caption on Facebook, and then recording a video, all in that order is exhausting.
Instead, see each one of those as their own category. Then, block off time to write all your blog posts for the week, then the next day record all your videos for the following week, etc.
When you chunk content together, you're able to find your flow and move more quickly. But when you start and stop between such different types of tasks, you end up wasting a lot of unnecessary time.
5. Take the time to learn how to advertise on Facebook.
Some things are worth outsourcing. But when you see a channel with longevity, often times it's in your best interest to acquire the skill set yourself.
Facebook advertising has already established itself as a staple in any marketing channel mix. But what really makes it different from other long-established platforms (like print, TV, and billboards) is the fact that anyone can use it. Think about that. With print, you have to buy from a magazine, newspaper, etc. TV, you have to go through a network or middleman who buys on behalf of a network. But with Facebook, you just log in and start running campaigns--and for a fraction of the cost.
Since it's digital, it's also trackable--and Facebook's targeting is astonishingly powerful.
However, Facebook is one of those platforms where it's very easy to use and yet difficult to master. So, don't walk into it thinking you just click two buttons and then you will see a huge return on your investment. But do realize it's worth your time to learn the platform so that you can begin using it to your advantage.
It will be around for a while.