what to bring to the table when you don’t bring your wallet

I have had the fortunate experience of being able to work with a wide range of budgets when it comes to social media from $0 to limitless dreaming.

Do you question why I am fortunate to work with small budgets? It is a social media marketer’s dream to have a lot of money to spend to accomplish what we set out to do. Yes, it does make it more likely that the strategy will be successful. Money can go a long way in supporting business goals, but I think there was incredible value in first learning how to stretch every dollar and cent of already low budgets. There is value in first learning how to dream big and scale down. Working small requires more creative thinking and problem solving – which I absolutely thrive on.

We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as unsolveable problems – John Gardner.

Starting “scrappy” can prepare you for when bigger budget comes along – you know how to spend money wisely, allocating a large percent to scaling “up” what works, while leaving some room for experimentation and risk.

If you are toting a skinny wallet, there are some “other” things you can bring to the table that will allow you to derive the most value from your social media program.

Patience. Have you noticed that almost every business you encounter is doing ”something” on “some platform” socially? Its “social proof” that doing something (or anything!) when it comes to social media can only help your business. But it is important to note that these benefits are more long-term than instantaneous. Technology is changing the world, along with consumer habits. You should consider that part the reason to “go social” is simply a form of adaptation to the way users now look for, research, and are incentivized to purchase goods and services. So have some patience – social media isn’t going to bring you instant sales and business growth, but social media allows you to build and capture an audience that will grow as your business grows. You can impact it over time, just as it will impact you over time.


A positive attitude. Personally, I’m just a fan of bringing  positive attitude to everything you do. I’ve read enough books on leadership and success (and lived it too!) to know the way you perceive everything, especially your failures, ultimately contributes to overall success. Be open minded to what social media can provide – rather than skeptical – and social media will surprise you.

The desire to try (and the acceptance of failure). What works for Coca-Cola, may not work for you. And what works for you, may not work for Coca-Cola. Being really successful at social media is like trying on clothes. You need to find a perfect fit for your own body, and your body is not the plastic mannequin you see in stores. And with “styles” changing all the time (aka, with the technology behind social media constantly changing) it’s going to take trying some things on before you find the perfect fit, and JUST a heads up – it’s going to go out of style in 3 months time and we are going to have to start all over again. To speed up the process, you hire a stylist (or a savvy social media marketer). We know just how to pay attention to the way things fit to know what to suggest next. Social media isn’t a one size fits all, it’s just as much about finding your own style that works for you and that is going to take a trial-and-error approach constantly. If you can wrap your head around the fact that it’s normal for almost every business on social media, you’ll do just fine!

Trust. I don’t know everything. Nor do I pretend to. I know what I’ve learned and experienced or even observed. But I’ve found that those clients who had even “blind” trust in what I did, often were most pleased with the results. They gave me the freedom I needed to make small tweaks and judgment calls when necessary. Sometimes those judgment calls did nothing, and other times – they were the key to unlocking new growth, new engagement, new tactics or new “effectiveness” that we saw from our social media programs. Trust may be a hard thing to give, but it’s essential in seeing the most value and results.

What else have you found to be key to keeping in your mind when you have a low budget?

Stephanie Stabulis