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Building Your Brand on Social Media on a Budget

Updated: Jun 10

Social media is an effective tool for small businesses to establish their brand and connect with clients. However, with limited resources (especially in monetary terms), getting the most out of your time on social media is an uphill battle. Taking this into account, I have created a comprehensive guide, along with a detailed workbook that's available for download on my website, that will coach you through practical, cost-effective tactics to help improve your brand's online visibility and help you get the most out of your social media marketing efforts on a budget.

Building Your Brand on Social Media

Understanding the Basics

Before we get started, let's quickly go over the fundamentals. Social media marketing involves using platforms like Facebook, Instagram, X, LinkedIn, etc. to promote your business. Your aim when using these platforms is to develop content that draws your audience in, establishes your brand identity, and generates traffic to your website or your physical location. Using social media platforms allows you to build a strong community, gather valuable feedback, and build long-term relationships with your customers.

Effective social media marketing goes beyond simply sharing information with a large audience. It involves creating genuine interactions and building connections. Understanding the unique features and user behaviours of each platform is important for creating effective content that connects with your audience. For example, Facebook is excellent for building communities, Instagram is known for its imagery and popularity among younger users, X is the go-to platform for instant updates and customer support, and LinkedIn is widely recognised for its effectiveness in B2B marketing and building professional connections.

By using social media, small businesses have the opportunity to level the playing field and reach a wider audience, all without needing significant financial resources. With this in mind, it's important to think about your content strategically, genuinely engage with your audience, and continuously refine your approach using insights gathered from data. 

Step-by-Step Guide to Building Your Brand on Social Media

I structured this guide as an 8-week series, with each week focusing on a specific step in the process of building your brand on social media. Below is a brief overview of each step. I will be sharing more in-depth information about each step as well as practical examples and exercises over the next 8 weeks. You can also download the workbook in the Shop section on my website and complete each section of the workbook as new content is released. 

You can also sign up for the email series to receive the content for each step once a week via email. Simply go to the sign-up section on my home page and select the “Building Your Brand on Social Media on a Budget” email series, complete your details, and enjoy! 

BONUS: Get a 30% discount on the price of the workbook when you sign up for the email series!

Whichever way you choose to work through the content in this series, remember to complete each step in chronological order to build a strong, budget-friendly social media presence for your small business.

Let’s get into the steps!

Step 1: Define Your Brand and Audience

Start by clearly defining your brand. You can start by asking questions like, “What are our core values? What message do we want to convey?” Your brand identity should be a reflection of your company's values and how you want your target market to perceive you. This includes your logo, colour scheme, tone of voice, and overall visual style. It is easier to establish a recognisable online identity when these components are consistent.

Next, identify your target audience. You can start by asking questions like, “Who are our ideal customers? What are their interests, challenges, and online behaviours?” Use this to create detailed customer personas to understand the needs and preferences of your target audience. Understanding your audience at this level helps you to create content that will appeal to them.


  • Brand Identity: A sustainable clothing brand that emphasises eco-friendly materials and ethical production.

  • Customer Persona: Jane, 28, is environmentally conscious, she values quality over quantity and spends a lot of time on Instagram and Pinterest.

Step 2: Choose the Right Platforms

Not all social media platforms are created equal. Choose platforms that cater to the kind of business that you have and where the members of your target audience are most engaged. For example, if you're targeting young adults, Instagram and TikTok might be more effective than LinkedIn. If you're in the B2B space, LinkedIn and X could be more beneficial.

Each platform has unique features and caters to specific kinds of content, and the user’s reason for being on the platform is also unique. For example:

  • Facebook: Broad user base, great for community building and ads.

  • Instagram: Visually driven and, popular among younger demographics.

  • X: Real-time updates, good for customer service and industry news.

  • LinkedIn: Professional network, ideal for B2B marketing.

  • Pinterest: Image-focused, excellent for products, DIY, and lifestyle brands.

  • TikTok: Short, engaging videos, popular with Gen Z and young millennials.

Step 3: Create Engaging Content

Content drives social media. Creating engaging content is necessary for keeping your audience interested and connected with your brand. Creating good-quality content should also be your main focus when building a brand on social media. 

Some budget-friendly content ideas to keep your audience engaged include: 

  • User-Generated Content: Encourage your customers to share photos and testimonials about your products. This not only creates free content but also builds trust and community. For example, share photos of customers wearing your clothing with a branded hashtag. 

  • Behind-the-Scenes Posts: Show the human side of your business by sharing behind-the-scenes photos and stories. This helps build a personal connection with your audience. For example, post videos of your team working in the design studio or sustainable sourcing process. 

  • Educational Content: Share tips, how-to guides, and industry insights that provide value to your audience. This positions your brand as an authority in your niche.

To stay organised and ensure a consistent posting schedule, use a content calendar to plan your posts in advance. A content calendar helps you balance different types of content, ensuring that your social media presence remains dynamic and engaging. 

Step 4: Use Free Tools and Resources

You can manage and make the most of your social media activity with the many free tools that are readily available online. These resources will help you save time and produce content that is of higher quality overall. With templates for a range of social media platforms, design tools like Canva make it simple to produce stunning graphics and photographs. These templates make it easy to create professional-looking posts for Instagram, Facebook covers, and Pinterest graphics. You can schedule your posts ahead of time using tools like Buffer or Hootsuite, allowing you to keep a consistent posting schedule without having to be online all the time.

These tools also include basic analytics to track your performance; for example, you can schedule a week's worth of Facebook and X posts in one sitting. Google Analytics allows you to track the performance of your online activities and identify what is working and what needs to be improved. This is done by measuring the traffic that comes from social media to your website and tracking conversions. For example, you can monitor the number of visitors who come to your website from Instagram and what they do on your website after clicking on your link on a post.

Step 5: Engage with Your Audience

By making an effort to respond to comments, messages, and mentions, you show that you value your customers’ feedback and appreciate their support, which builds trust and connection. Additionally, hosting regular Q&A sessions allows you to interact directly with your followers and provide them with valuable information, while running contests and giveaways can boost engagement and attract new followers by encouraging participants to share your content or tag friends. These activities not only increase visibility and excitement around your brand but also create an active and engaged community that feels appreciated and connected to your business. 

Step 6: Collaborate with Influencers

Collaborating with influencers can be an effective way to expand your reach and build credibility for your brand. Influencers have established trust with their followers, and their endorsements can significantly impact their audience’s purchasing decisions. Working with influencers does not have to be expensive. Here’s how you can do this on a budget.

Working with micro-influencers, whom have smaller but highly engaged followings, can be especially beneficial for small businesses. They often charge less and can be more effective in reaching a targeted audience compared to larger influencers, making them even more effective than larger influencers in some cases.

To get started, identify suitable influencers who align with your brand values using tools like or searching relevant hashtags to find influencers in your niche. Once you’ve identified potential influencers, reach out with a personalised offer. 

It’s important to remember, however, that you need to negotiate and agree on the terms of the collaboration before working with them. Clearly outline what you expect from the partnership and what the influencer will receive in return. 

Step 7: Run Budget-Friendly Ads

The different social media platforms offer a range of budget-friendly advertising options. Paid advertising, when done right, allows you to reach a wider audience than you would have been able to reach organically. When it comes to paid advertising, start by testing what works best for your company with small, targeted ads. Use the analytics tools available on the different platforms, and then use what you have learned from the performance of your “test” ads to improve your plan and use your budget more effectively.

Some steps to consider when making use of paid advertising include:

  • Set Clear Objectives: Define what you want to achieve with your ads, such as increasing website traffic or driving sales.

  • Target Your Audience: Use the targeting options available on each platform to reach your ideal customers. This ensures your ads are seen by the people most likely to be interested in your products.

  • Create Compelling Ad Content: Use high-quality visuals and engaging copy to capture attention. Include a clear call-to-action to encourage users to take the desired action.

  • Monitor and Adjust: Regularly check the performance of your ads and make adjustments as needed. Use the data to optimise your campaigns for better results.

Step 8: Track and Adjust

Monitor your social media performance regularly. Use analytics tools to look for patterns in your data to understand what types of content resonate most with your audience. For example, if behind-the-scenes posts get more engagement, consider adding more of them to your content calendar. It’s important to use the insights gained from your analytics to refine your strategy and to do so regularly. Social media is dynamic, and your strategy should be too. Regularly review your performance and make the necessary adjustments to stay on track.

Download Your Workbook

As mentioned above, to help you implement these steps, I have created a detailed workbook that you can download from the “Shop” section on my website. This workbook provides exercises, templates, and practical tips to guide you through each step of building your brand on social media. Use it alongside this 8-week series to create a comprehensive and effective social media strategy.

BONUS: Get a 30% discount on the price of the workbook when you sign up for the email series!


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