The No-so Free Marketing Channel

Social media is free… and it’s not. Sure, you don’t pay anything to post, but it does take time and money to create quality content. So how do you do social media on a budget when you don’t have much of either?

Drew Horine and Michael Aldea share their list of non-negotiables you need to do for your business’s social media that won’t break the bank.

5 Things You Need to Produce Social Media

A Quality Phone

Your old iPhone 6 is not going to shoot high-quality images or video. It’s time for an upgrade.

When it’s time to renew your phone plan, shop with the camera in mind. At the time of this writing, Drew uses an iPhone 14 Pro. The latest Pixel, iPhone, or Samsung phones are all solid choices with video and image editing built right in.

A camera is only as good as its photographer, though. Fortunately, there are tons of video tutorials on YouTube that can help you level-up your camera phone skills.

Once you’ve shot your footage, it’s time to edit. You can edit with the phone’s built-in features or using free to low-cost mobile apps like Snapseed or Adobe Lightroom Express. You can create professional-looking images.

While it may seem like an investment in time and money, this step is essential to creating high-quality social media content.

Sign Up for Canva Pro

Canva Pro offers a range of templates, graphics, and tools to create high-quality visuals. There is a free version of the tool, but you’ll be missing out on the best features.

  • Design visually appealing images and pictures for your posts
  • Store all your company’s branding, colors, and fonts for use anytime you need them
  • Save time with a library of ready-to-use templates
  • Automatically size images for social media sites like Instagram
  • Create AI-generated content by typing in a few prompts

Use a Content Creation Planner

A content planner forces you to create content on a deadline. This also helps you think strategically about what you are posting. Your planner will help you see if you are too heavy on pushing products rather vs. edutainment. Both are necessary but also need to be balanced. Consistency is key.

Create a Budget

Remember, we’re creating social media on a budget, not without one. Setting a budget can help you prioritize spending on tools and resources that have a high impact on your content creation, such as a Canva Pro subscription. If you are going to spend money, make sure you get the biggest bang for your buck.

Make Time

Creating social media content takes time. And if you’re not outsourcing, you’re going to have to invest more of it. This is the most common place small businesses fail in creating social media content. Drew recommends thinking about how much time you think it will take to produce content and double it.

If you don’t put the time and money in, you will become extinct in the land of social media.

Bonus Tip: Stay on Brand

On any social media platform, it is important to stay within your branding guidelines.

What are “branding guidelines?”

Branding guidelines help you define the overall look and feel of your brand. If you don’t have branding guidelines, we always recommend working with a professional graphic designer to create them. Escape Plan Marketing’s brand guide package is about $1000 and provides everything you need to put your logo anywhere.

This is one area that we recommend you don’t use Canva. With tools like Canva, you can create a logo. However, you will not get a full vector graphic that can be resized to be put on anything from a t-shirt to a billboard, without compromising the visibility of the image. When you try to enlarge a PNG file downloaded from Canva, it will become pixelated and blurry the bigger it gets. You may also not have the full rights to that graphic, meaning someone else could use it, too.

How Do I Maximize Returns From My Social Media Content?

A budget is only part of your social media equation. Whether you’re spending a lot or a little, you need to know if it’s producing a return on that investment.

Test and Prove

Figure out your target audience and test out your posts. If you don’t, you will never make content your audience cares about. Find the type of content your audience cares about and then replicate it. For example, Drew realized that his Instagram posts for Escape Plan Marketing were not getting the traffic he wanted. Drew noticed that his audience is small business owners who started their own businesses and valued time with their families. He then intentionally created content to draw in that demographic.

Real Metrics vs. Vanity

Don’t measure social media success based on how many followers you have. Be in tune with how engaged they are. Do any of your followers actually use your business? Do they eat at your restaurant? Do they purchase your products?

Measuring ROI (Return on Investment)

Has engagement with my posts increased? Are people rating and reviewing my business online? This is a better measure of the health of your company. If your social media content is creating more foot traffic in your store, for example, then there is a positive return on investment. It is hard to measure ROI if you aren’t aware of your initial investment. This is why it is vital to start with a budget.

Action Tip of the Month:

If Drew and Michael can encourage you to do anything this month, it is to sign up for Canva Pro immediately and play around. Create 5 social media posts in Canva Pro and publish them to your social media accounts. Don’t post them all on the same day. Plan out when you will post each of them.

Need Help?

Transparently, anyone can learn to create social media content. But, most people simply don’t have time or energy after going all in on their business. That is why we’re here to help!

Use the secret launch code “freemonth” at to get your first month FREE. Don’t miss out on this chance to level up your social media game.

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Next Time on Marketing Rocketfuel…

Algorithms? What are social media algorithms? Drew and Michael will explain what they are and how to use them.