I get it, change sucks. But complaining about things we have no control over never helped anyone. So let's get down to brass tacks, shall we?
If you're a small business relying on one social media platform for your marketing, you are in a losing battle. While I love social media, the top 4 platforms should only be part of your online strategy - and for goodness sakes you shouldn't be focusing all of your energy on one of them.
When thinking about your business online, your main focus should be on the long game; your relationship with your audience (and working to turn them into customers), and continuing to evolve your marketing so you never get stuck because of a platform's changes.
These platforms will change, and with it so will the tips, tricks, and ideas we've learned about them. Don't get left high and dry.
[Tweet "If you're a small business relying on one social media platform, you're in a losing battle."]
I shouldn't have to remind anyone that platforms change all of the time. We've been through this many times before, and we'll go through it again. It really shouldn't surprise anyone at all! It's the reality of businesses, they change all the time. And it's also a good reminder that you should never be complacent within your own business either.
I work as a digital strategist because I believe that an online presence should be a holistic undertaking. There are many pieces when marketing oneself online, and they all fit together like pieces of a puzzle. Whatever those pieces are (each business' strategy is very different) they should all be working together for your overall goals.
Below are areas to think about within your business strategically, and to consider adding to your overall online strategy if you haven't yet. That way when changes do happen - because it's only a matter of when - you'll have all of your pieces in place and won't be relying on part of the puzzle.
Build an audience beyond one platform
This should be a no brainer. But I truly understand how easy it is to put things on autopilot when one thing works and runs really well. Running a small business is hard and there are so many other things to deal with. But don't hurt yourself by focusing solely on one platform. Create a true and evolving strategy! Choose 2-3 platforms, and build a solid presence across all of them.
Part of your job as your marketing head is to audit your presence online. This doesn't even need to be super crazy or in depth. A few things you can do to get started:
- Evaluate your engagement and performance on social media once a month.
- Pay attention to your website traffic.
- Keep an eye out for new platforms that my be a great new addition for your strategy.
- Watch your industry and competition and see who's doing what, and learn from it.
Build an email list
How many times have you thought you should start an email list, or continue to build an existing one, but you've put it off? Now is the time to make a concerted effort if you haven't yet. No one can take away your email list. You own it. And with it comes a direct relationship to your audience, which is absolutely huge considering how noisy the online space has become. Email reaches the intended audience, social media doesn't always.
Believe it or not email marketing outsells social media. This doesn't mean you need to choose one over the other, it just means you should be using both in your marketing. Start building your list, sign up for Mailchimp today.
[Tweet "When thinking about your business online, your main focus should be on the long game."]
Create your own real estate
Social media platforms are basically rented space - you are using someone else's platform to build your business. You can not rely on them to continue to stay the same. You should constantly be rolling with the punches, and evaluating your experience on them.
Start to think about other places that you can create content that you own, such as a newsletter or your website. You won't be impacted by weird algorithms or feature changes - because these are your spaces.
Think about investing more time into creating original content that represents your business. Use social media to drive traffic back to those spaces. Your end goal with social media should be all about driving traffic to your website (and making sales). Period.
Stop making decisions based on fear & pay attention to current engagement
One of the main reasons I wrote this blog post was because of the hysteria I am seeing online about going to this "new platform ello."
How short our attention spans are; we did this 2 years ago! It's not new!
The thing that upsets me most about this whole situation is it's so knee jerk reaction, and it's really bad for your community. A community you have worked really hard to develop and build! Why would you knowingly gut the community and engagement you have at this moment just to join a whole new platform because you're simply angry and in fear of changes you know nothing about? Currently everything is still the same on Instagram. Why not just wait and see what happens before you add anything else to your plate?
Twitter recently changed their newsfeed to an algorithm, and for the first time in 2 years, I'm actually enjoying myself there again. I'm seeing interesting content again. And guess what? My click throughs for my own content is way up in my Google Analytics. In the past week its surpassed Pinterest as my 2nd driver of social media traffic. Those are important things to pay attention to.
So before you join another site and add one more thing to your plate - survey the situation and don't make decisions based on fear. Those are only going to hurt you.
If ello is a good fit for you, and your community is there, and your engagement is good - do it! But for god sakes don't throw the baby out with the bathwater on Instagram before anything has even happened.
Too often I see comments, tweets, and hear opinions that are simply based in emotion regarding social media. If you aren't running a business online, or you don't really care about factual information go ahead and run with all the specious info you want about social media. And by all means keep cutting and pasting those Facebook statuses that will stop Zuckerberg from charging you for using Facebook. lol.
But seriously. Social media is not Orwellian. It's not.
If you are using social media as a business, it's imperative to educate yourself about not only the platforms you are using but the best practices you should be employing. Seek out information to help you build your business. Invest in professional development to build your sense of good business and marketing practices. Buy books. Listen to podcasts. Subscribe to newsletters. You owe it to yourself and your business to continue to grow and evolve.
Say no to hysteria in business (at least in public 😂)
No one likes drama. No one. Especially when a business is associated with it. It's just not good business to get emotional about changes on social media. And it's definitely not good business to post about how you're moving off one platform (that is currently doing well for you) to another that no one you know is on. It causes unnecessary stress within a community and whether it seems so or not in the moment, it hurts you in the long run.
I understand the urge to say things publicly, but save it for your peers - maybe share about it on your personal Facebook account where you can discuss with others within your industry. Otherwise, I highly encourage you to resist the urge to attach your business to personal stands about something so minor as a social media platform.
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At the end of the day your online presence should be a number of things; one whole pie with many pieces. Make measured, educated decisions about how you conduct your business online. Take care of your business so it can continue to grow and deliver for you.
After you allow yourself a few days to be disappointed, I want you to really think about your overall strategy and ask yourself if you're doing all that you can to cover your bases online.
Thoughts? Comments? Let me know below, I want to discuss this with you!