Facebook Marketing for the Broke, Exhausted and Overwhelmed

  1. Why You Feel Like You Never Get Anything Done And How To Change That
  2. Watch from Behind the Scenes as a Business Gets Built
  3. Abigail’s Intro Post: Unicorn Bad Ass
  4. The Invisible Skills You Need to Build a MicroBiz
  5. Facebook Marketing for the Broke, Exhausted and Overwhelmed
  6. The Scourge of Wonder Bread Business Advice
  7. What To Do When You Can Do Anything: The Business Edition

Editor’s Note: Because Abby was so exhausted, I was tempted to hold off on this post until she had a chance to re-edit it to fit her original vision. But honestly, the original idea was considerably more statistics based. I like this one more; weighty with fatigue but infused with indomitable spirit. Don’t you?

This month has been something else. In the last four weeks I:

  • Launched a brand new website in a month; the reception has been fantastic.
  • Retired a whole group of designs (products) and adjusted prices across the board.
  • Created several new product/design lines.
  • Continued to grow inventory for local shows.
  • Continued to DO the local shows, and committed to more, for the next year.
  • Spent one day a week at the hospital with my fiance, for a month of weekly chemo treatments.
  • Continued to tweak and refine social media presence and strategy, including working out an effective Facebook Page strategy that doubled engagement and reach.
  • My laptop screen died – which reduces my ability to work at the hospital.
  • Raised the first month’s rent and deposit for a house via jewelry sales and magic — 3k — in under 3 weeks. This enables us to move out of the apartment we’ve been in, gaining dedicated work space for the business.

I am exhausted.

I’m a hair from burnt out. I desperately need to spend more time creating designs and making items. We are broke. I had to put materials for the business on a credit card or we couldn’t feed the kids this month; however, if we don’t have materials, we can’t feed them next month. We move in two and a half weeks, and I’ve got to find a way to run the business, put on a good face for shows, and do it all out of a suitcase with the rest of my life in boxes. (We’re moving ourselves.)

Facebook Marketing for the Broke, Exhausted and Overwhelmed

Working Within Constraints When It All Seems So Unfair

I was supposed to write about how I doubled Facebook engagement to my business page— how things have improved because of a few simple tweaks.

The problem with that?

I’m working inside a system that to many, seems unfair. Or a system that has been changed so drastically from what we all signed on for, that it now seems like many other systems – ones that favor people with money, and lots of it.   For me, and for the sake of others who are in the same situation I am – where there is far more month than there is money, where you feel that can’t get ahead without the resources you don’t have – I’d love to be able to tell you there is a way to level the playing field and take money out of the equation.

I’d love to report back that I found a way to go from being the underdog, to the heroic no-longer-an-underdog; that I found a way to overcome being broke with simply being awesome. To be able to say that I’ve found a way to defeat the system that favors the rich, the well off; that I’ve found a way to break out of the poverty cycle, or just the Always Broke and Getting More Broke cycle.

Playing The Hand You’re Dealt When You Must

But the truth is, I am, right now, playing by their rules because it works. I am playing by their rules because, like you, I’m fighting in too many other areas to just stay afloat, and I don’t have the energy to try and game that system. So I’m working with it, as best I can, using the mechanics that often feel as if they are working against me to climb the ranks so I can pull myself out of the Always Broke cycle.

Note: Some people call it an investment; right now, for me in the thick of it all, it feels like a calculated action born from overwhelming desperation.

It’s a LOT of work. However, I figure that if I pay attention to the results, the work will be worth it. This is a very general overview of how I’m going about it, written out at Shanna’s request. This isn’t a how to, this doesn’t guarantee anyone results – it’s just what is working pretty well for me. Your mileage WILL vary.

  • I’ve budgeted a tiny bit each day for page advertising with tediously narrowed down target demographics. When I say tiny – right now, it’s $3 a day, every day. Yes, that’s $90 a month to the Blue Headed Spawn of Satan. Yes, that is a week of groceries for the five people this business helps care for. (Myself, Steve, and my three kids.) Yes, some part of me is a little bitter that the so-called System still requires what feels like blood-tribute.
  • Since I’m giving tribute to the Blue Overlord, I make sure I make the most of it, on the human level. I make a concerted effort to post regular content that people find interesting. I post a mix of content that doesn’t require that they leave Facebook to consume, and I post some that takes them off of Facebook. Facebook likes the former, and is more likely to show it to people. The more people who interact with it, the more likely they are to see all the OTHER content I post. It snowballs.
  • To help encourage people to interact with me, I post content that gives personality to my brand, my page. I’m willing to be a bit vulnerable in what I share, because… well, vulnerable is relatable, to a certain limit. This has the HUGE bonus of helping me very slowly establish myself as a trustable person/brand with the new people the advertising brings to the page.
  • I spend time there, talking with people, getting to know people, beyond if they are simply a prospect; to gank a Seth Godin concept, I’m working fully within a Connection Economy paradigm. So, I spend the time there, talking with people, validating their choice of investing their time by engaging with my page. I don’t have an hour count – it’s something I do when I need a mental break from other work, or when standing in line somewhere.
  • Bonus: I don’t double post content – it’s either posted on my page or my profile. I’ll reshare, but original credit goes to one or the other. Facebook seems to penalize content that has been posted originally twice, in my experience. Often, I don’t even bother resharing business page content to my personal profile, even if it would boost the audience/views. This actually started because people who were my “Friends” of my personal Profile (versus “Fans” of my page) were Hiding All content from my Page when I’d share it to my profile. Each time that happened, Facebook throttled back the number of people who saw the original post, and because Facebook doesn’t tell you WHO does it, I can’t make sure they never see that content again. Translation: Sharing with my friends and family screwed me over more often that it helped me. You know, as if I needed more proof that reaching beyond friends and family was necessary. 😉

Summary: I am building relationships on the platform, and I am paying Facebook to help me find people who I think would be interested in also building that relationship with me.

The results?

Over 600 new faces on the page in a matter of a month. Facebook says I have doubled my engagement as measured by likes, comments, and shares. Three times as many people SEE each post, as compared to before.

What about sales?

They’ve gone up too. I imagine as I build relationships and deepen trust with the new people who have thrown their Like-support behind my page, they’ll grow faster, too.

And yeah, guys, I know. Most people hate Facebook. It is the Evil Overlord of a castle that has established a system that works best for his well-endowed buddies.

[Tweet “There is no shame in playing by the rules when it suits your end goals”]

But, guys, sometimes the hero has to spend some time working in the kitchens before they are ready to take on the world and break all the rules. There is no shame in playing by the rules when it suits your end goals. It can definitely suck, and it can take a bite out of your entrepreneurial ego, but I am choosing to look at it as the months of Kitchen work to establish an alibi, trust, and required accepted-local facade before our hero initiates the coup and shows how awesome they really are. (When you’re exhausted, these little stories seem to help. I’m betting you have your own archetype-filled ones too.)


11 thoughts on “Facebook Marketing for the Broke, Exhausted and Overwhelmed”

  1. Thanks for sharing! It’s impressive what you’ve been able to do on such a small budget 🙂 
    I don’t understand the hate though – why do people have a problem with facebook? Because it’s a big company trying to make money…?

  2. Turns out from reading this my approach IS point, I just don’t like them more then I didn’t understand what I was doing (lol). 

    I haven’t yet dedicated much of a page promotion budget because I don’t like their audience controls and I can’t figure out how best to target who I want to page to be promoted to – I’d prefer to refine the demographic based on creative professionals rather than simply age/income level because my product is intermediate graphic design services rather than a tangible end-product but it was totally unclear to me how to or if I was doing that.

  3. I admire your tenacity and dedication, Abby, and goodness, your output is staggering! I hope you get the break you need before you hit burnout.
    Paying Facebook is something I haven’t done yet. In fact, I’m a terrible Facebook-er, even on my personal profile. My first inclination isn’t to share. But I know it’s something I need to work on.
    I’m wondering how the rules differ, if at all, for someone selling services instead of physical goods. Shanna? 🙂

  4. HappierHuman I agree. I don’t get the Facebook hate thing. They are a giant now, so maybe people just hate Goliath. That said, I do think it’s a difficult route to go. I wonder, Abby, how do you actually measure the return on your investment of time and money on Facebook? Trust is a difficult thing to measure. Do you actually see bumps in sales when you promote on Facebook?

  5. HappierHuman Personally, I hate the interface. I hate the vapidity (granted, no gathering of humans is immune to that). I hate that it’s gotten so big now that it’s created a network effect that’s difficult to fight against (a network effect is when a platform becomes powerful simply because a lot of people use it). I don’t really care that they’re a juggernaut or that they’re making money. I just don’t like that I’m not free to ignore them. NOT being in Facebook is a lot harder to do than being in Facebook, which I resent.

  6. KimmethPowell I haven’t done it myself, but I’ve read that you can target people based on previous searches or Likes. Hopefully Abby can weigh in and clarify how to best refine.

  7. erinkurup Everything Abby said, except for the ads, is equally applicable to service businesses. Except, I would argue, it’s harder to do. Behind-the-scenes and WIP posts in a product business are very image oriented, and images draw the eye. But if you can find things to post on Instagram, in all likelihood, you could find something “engaging” to post on your page. One of my big “aha!” moments was realizing that the more of my day-to-day and internal ramblings I posted, the more people felt like they had an authentic feel for me, which made me more trustworthy

    You could even do ads. Keep in mind that Abby’s ads are for Likes, not $ales, so not only are they cheaper and easier to get, they provide the visibility and wide-mouthed funnel you need for such a big-ticket item like your editing packages.

  8. HappierHuman @David Delp ~ 
    One of the parts I really hate about FB is how quickly it gets supremely complex – and complicated – and thus my-precious-time- and brain-energy-consuming!
    My internal “rage against the machine”, “unrepentant hippie” and “semi-Luddite” all kick in hard, especially when there’s no other way to interact with a person or a program or an event…

  9. David Delp HappierHuman you guys know me. I’m a smile-y, happy, grateful, optimistic kind of guy. But Facebook has taken control away from me step … by step … by step. Facebook says to me, “Joel, you don’t share pictures and funny videos like everyone else. You’d rather share an earnest text-based recap of a transformational moment in your life that doesn’t capitalize on our attempts to drive advertising revenue to our Q3 projections. Algorithm says … 6% of your friends see your post in their default stream!
    P.S. Joel. Your business is going to be evaluated on how many “Likes” your business page has (and, of course, you feel obligated to have a business page because, as you know, everyone’s on Facebook).
    P.P.S. https://www.facebook.com/full_data_use_policy
    allows us to make your experiences anonymous so that they can be provided to
    “customers” and used for advertising. That means the emotional moment you
    shared about your mom’s birthday may end up in a company’s marketing materials.
    Or the pictures of your daughter that you thoughtwere private turn out to be http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/data_mine_1/2013/09/privacy_facebook_kids_don_t_post_photos_of_your_kids_on_social_media.html.”
    AbigailMarkov nailed it when she wrote, “some part of me is a little bitter that the so-called System still requires what feels like blood-tribute.” And as much as I understand Abby’s push to use Big Blue until she can say “Screw you!” to them, I just can’t bring myself to do it.
    (Here’s my P.S. Watch this YouTube video, The Problem With Facebook, by Derek Muller: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9ZqXlHl65g. It’s a much more compelling argument against Facebook than I can muster.

  10. Shanna Mann Yes, it’s definitely harder without a tangible product to sell! Maybe I’ll start with Instagram, more of a “behind the scenes of ME” than “behind the scenes of my work” approach. Ads…not ready for those yet, but I did appreciate reading about Abby’s experience with them!

  11. Color me Very Impressed that Abby wrote all this up, given all she’s been up to! Thanks very much, it looks very useful, and on a topic that will continue to generate debate and deep feelings… I’ve basically abandoned Facebook promotion/ posting since the new algorhythms started whittling down anything my Fans see. Personally, I judge it to be not worth my time. For now. But come publication time, it may be time to bust out some of the knowledge you’ve shared here 🙂

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