You’re an entrepreneur who has been in business 18-24 months. Your business is generating revenue. You’ve managed to turn a profit, but the old budget is still tight. You need your marketing to work harder than you do.

Or perhaps your startup has found its footing among its target market and has a solid USP (unique selling proposition). You’re ready to blow up your marketing. Being a strategic founder or marketing director, you want to test a few new strategies, initially being conservative about investing in those new strategies.

Maybe you’re more seasoned. You have been in business 10+ years and are looking to re-brand. You recognize (hopefully) that the market and technology have evolved significantly. As a result, you see the need to change direction. You’re ready to go all out with spreading the word about your new brand. However, your CFO is like, “WHOA dude or dudette! We still have to watch the bottom line. Let’s take a more frugal approach here.”

Whether any of the above speak to your situation, or you’re interested in doing something different than what you have been doing to increase brand awareness and revenue, you’ll want to check out the strategies below:

  1. Leverage social media other than (or in addition to) Facebook. Let’s be clear. I’m not telling you that you absolutely should not use Facebook. After all, it’s still the biggest player in the social media game.

What I’m saying is to not marry Facebook, cutting off all your other options. Depending on your brand, just date Facebook casually, or make it your side-chick. We’re still talking about marketing, I promise.

Remember what I said earlier about the market and technology evolving? I see too many businesses, especially small businesses, especially in certain industries such as retail and even professional services, ignore other social media platforms to their detriment.

Folks, it’s 2019. Facebook hasn’t been the only viable social media platform (with the ability to be monetized) for some time now. If you’re a service provider, more than likely you should be maximizing LinkedIn. If you’re in the retail space, are you leveraging Instagram and Pinterest (particularly Pinterest if you offer products for women)? The importance of videos is expected to continue to grow, with 75-80% of online content being video by 2020 (you do realize that’s just next year right? Ok, just double-checking). You need a video marketing strategy, that should probably include YouTube.

These other platforms I’ve mentioned, with the exception of ads, are just as free as Facebook. They provide plenty of opportunities, from live streaming to micro-blogging to networking and making key connections. Did you know the life span of a pin on Pinterest is longer than any other social media content? It’s about three months and can be even longer depending on key words used. We’re talking organic reach/life span – without the help of advertising. Facebook posts by comparison, tend to last 5-6 hours.

And if you haven’t noticed, Facebook has had some real challenges lately, in terms of security/privacy, its frequent (as in every 20 minutes it can seem) algorithm changes, and increased concerns about some of the content it chooses to share. I know this may shake the very foundation of some of your lives, but there may come a time when Facebook is not the addiction…er I mean cultural phenomenon it is today. Will your business be prepared for that?

 2. Podcasting. Podcasts are growing like weeds, as well as like my 12 yr-old nephew who I really think would eat his own weight if he was allowed to.

As of just a few months ago, over half of the U.S. had heard a podcast, and one in three people listen to at least one podcast monthly. That represents significant growth over the last five or so years.

Podcasts, essentially internet radio (and in some cases video), can be a powerful way to drive brand awareness, traffic, and market to your target audience. It can also add to your bottom line, provided you’re intentional and strategic about monetizing. And you know what?

#Podcasting, for the most part, is pretty low-cost. With podcast hosts like Podbean and other free resources along with the ability to record on your mobile device, it’s possible to even make podcasting no-cost!

Top podcasts, like Dirty John, The Daily, The Joe Rogan Experience, and Stuff You Should Know, have been downloaded millions of times. That’s not collectively; that’s each podcast has millions of downloads. Imagine if you’re able to grow your podcast to even a third of that.

Or perhaps you leverage someone else’s popular podcast related to your brand or niche to promote your products and/or services. There are plenty of podcasts with tons of listeners that offer advertising for less than $600. Not only do these podcasts have a number of listeners; they have engaged, loyal listeners. And remember podcasts are evergreen. Once distributed, the content is out there and available essentially on-demand.

   3. Selective influencer marketing. Another digital marketing strategy that shows no sign of slowing down is influencer  marketing.

Partnering with the right influencer can lead to some major results in your business. It can help explode your brand. It can increase, or establish credibility. Whether you believe it or not, there are people, particularly online, with a considerable amount of influence. Many of them have big followings, although that’s not always a requirement. There are influencers with less than 7K followers who are very engaged with those followers. That’s where the magic can happen.

Influencers don’t become influencers just because of their followers. It’s more about the influence they have on those followers. What is the influencer’s ability to inspire their community to take action? Based on the growth of influencer marketing, the money brands are pouring into it, and the results coming from it, it can be very effective.

With the right influencer – typically not a major celebrity like Kim Kardashian (considered an A-list influencer who commands high six to seven figures for a single post) – marketers can develop a successful collaboration without breaking the bank.

Think your favorite fashion or skin-care YouTuber. Or the lifestyle blogger with about 20K Instagram followers, and those followers hang on that blogger’s every move. That blogger sharing their favorite book, lotion, hotel, or vegan restaurant with her audience can deliver increased awareness and possibly sales of those products. A collaboration with an influencer like that can cost as little as a few hundred dollars, or the value of the brand’s product or service. The ROI can far exceed that!

If you’re skeptical about influencer marketing, you should pay attention to the resources major brands like IBM, Neiman Marcus, Hearst Magazines Digital Media, HP, and Google are dedicating to working with influencers. I’m telling you influencer marketing has gone beyond the side-eye and eye-roll reactions it once got from a number of people. I suggest, as a brand, marketer, or expert, that you take influencer marketing seriously, and realize it can be a great investment.

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If you found value in this article, someone in your network probably will as well. Don’t keep it to yourself. Share, share, share! Want more help connecting the dots between your brand and bottom line? Looking for BREAKTHROUGH in your brand – break through to more clarity, more visibility, and more profitability? Get your FREE Brand 2 Profit Bundle (cheat sheet + video) here. Connect with me here on LinkedIn if we’re not already connected. Also follow me on Instagram @rachel.theswagstrategist as well as my new podcast, Project Get Out Your Own Way @getoutthewaypodcast Find out more about me and my business, SWAG Strategy Solutions at www.swagstrategy.com