When you get stuck with social media go for a piggyback

using social media for free - market your business

Today I was bursting with enthusiasm about my shop. I took a selfie and drafted, scheduled and cross-posted on social media.  The problem is, I am not always this enthusiastic.  Does this sound like you?  I am not social media savvy; I concede that my talents lie elsewhere.  Nevertheless, it is essential I use social media well to connect with my market.  Sharing social media for free would be perfect.

Actually, sharing has a positive impact on self-esteem, life satisfaction and sense of purpose. Read more on this topic in my blog on how to get past a down mood at work

What the Experts say about social media marketing

Experts offer ‘insights’ to which they only are privy to, so they say. Such messages are an unfortunate side-effect of my online presence.  Sometimes they make me feel inadequate, as if I miss an important business skill. So, I junk and block these messages readily. 

What I say

You can use social media without paying money for it. We ‘pay’ the platform with our information. By sharing this information with others, the provider makes money. It takes time to manage social media and that is how I factor it into my business as a cost. I do it in the course of the day when I am already working, in the shop or at markets.  For planning however, I put time aside.

My income comes from retail and markets. Customers today check online before planning their trips. Especially after a first visit they like regular updates with new products to justify more visits. They want images, lifestyle and feel-good messages to support their decision to buy.  

Piggyback Marketing explained

Or in other words: using social media for free.

Piggyback – “…. to use something that someone else has made or done in order to get an advantage: ..”


Applied to marketing it is an effective technique to keep costs down. Two essential conditions are that products are to be non-competitive and it must be for mutual benefit.  

Is this ethical? Yes it is, if you stay within the boundaries of fair trade principle 9:

“The organisation raises awareness of the aim of Fair Trade and of the need for greater justice in world trade through Fair Trade. It advocates for the objectives and activities of Fair Trade according to the scope of the organisation. The organisation provides its customers with information about itself, the products it markets, and the producer organisations or members that make or harvest the products. Honest advertising and marketing techniques are always used.”


Piggybacking on Social Media

This is how I piggyback

  • I follow current events and news stories – my topics are fair trade news, international days, local initiatives, environment, African culture, design and colour trends
  • If enabled in third party posts, I add a comment with a link or an image relating to my brand
  • I share third party posts on my own page with a comment to make them relevant – events I participate in, activities I support, fair trade developments
  • Then I add trending hashtags or I create my own

A good start is to follow the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) on facebook. They post up to date fair trade action across the world. They also use trending #hastags and point out interesting data like this on 12 October:

Recent estimates for global poverty are that over 730 million people live in extreme poverty on $1.90 or less a day, according to the World Bank. Mission-led Fair Trade Enterprises are creating pathways out of poverty through the 10 Principles of Fair Trade.

Train for Social Media Discipline

Planning and working ahead often saves me. Facing a deadline, I feel good when I see what I already wrote, scheduled or put together.  Early in my career, data management was knowing your filing system inside out.  Scheduling was done in a diary and time management training was a must for every manager. Today is just the same. We just use different tools to record and remind us.

Social Media adapts to how people use it. So even a long-term user should review their strategy regularly. All platforms have support blogs for beginners, up-skillers and developers. These are good resources and you are then also using social media for free learning.

My preference is not to just rely on experience and memory but rather to use tools that put my thoughts in order so I can review progress and measure results.  

“When I work with social media I always stick to OBMT – stay On Brand, On Message and On Time. Plan this well as what is out there, stays out there.”

Carina – Oct 2019
When you get stuck with social media go for a piggyback

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