We need to get real about something. Social media is not the end all and be all of your marketing and business building efforts.
There are many other marketing channels you should be putting your efforts into beyond social media.
Yes, social media is an invaluable tool in your business, but that's all it is: a tool. It shouldn't be your only marketing and outreach effort, and if it is, you're laying your foundation on a house of cards.
Diversify your efforts. You'll get so much more in the process. Let's discuss!
You can no longer only rely on social
I've talked about not relying on one platform in the past. And this really should be said about all of social media as well.
Social media is not your only answer to marketing.
It's terribly easy to get complacent. I get it, ohhh boy do I get it.
It is so easy to see that something is working and then just let it work its magic. Until, well it doesn't. We've all been there. But it's our job to make sure we're not there again.
We need to keep thinking big picture!
The reality is that if you truly want your business to succeed and grow, you have to be thinking about many different areas of opportunities for your marketing and outreach efforts.
Every business just starting out or at for years should bear this in mind: the days of the social media heyday are over. You know what I'm talking about, the days when you could build a business on one platform or social media alone.
Those days are long gone, sadly.
And if you're expecting them to come back and/or you just keep throwing things at the wall on social and nothing's moving...well, the writing is on the wall.
You must keep exploring other avenues to help build your business both online and off.
Social media should be part of your strategy...just not ALL of it
While social media should definitely be part of your strategy, far too often I see small businesses (especially businesses that are relatively new) focusing solely on social media and wondering why it's not working.
What's not working are their expectations.
Herein lies the problem. There's a huge misunderstanding of what social media can and do for your business nowadays.
Social media can and should be a tool in your marketing basket (and a powerful one!), but that is it. It is a means to an end, that's it not the other way around.
Obsessing over what to post, when to post, how to get the most out of that post, how to get more followers. This is a losing battle, my friends. And it's the wrong questions to be asking for your business.
Please trust me when I tell you the faster you let this kind of thinking die a quick death the better you'll be.
Here's something not many people are going to tell you: sales on social media are hard to come by just starting out. Conversion rate is super low, and it's also hard to quantify. Social media is just part of the equation for your business.
Social media is about building trust, brand reach, and converting your followers into customers. This takes time!
Thisis why it's important to have other channels within your marketing plan to help support this process.
6 other channels to consider
Consider incorporating some of the below channels (along with social media) when creating your overall marketing strategy. All of these channels will help you get your message out to different audiences and continue to build your business:
This is by far one of the most important and best ways you can build trust and make sales. Far better and bigger than social media!
Fun fact: Email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter.¹
Email marketing is one of, if not the most powerful ways to get in front of your target market immediately. Every product or service based business should have an email strategy. Your social media should be working to get your followers on your list! Social and email work well together.
Sure it feels like there's a shit ton of deafening noise on the Internet, and I'd agree with you. So, you may ask yourself: why should I start blogging? How can I can I even make myself noticed? Isn't it a waste of time?
In short, no. Especially if you truly have something to say. Writing about your business and what you offer can deliver real value to your potential customers and at the same time attract new customers.
Blogging is an excellent way to drive new (and continued) traffic to your website. It's also one of the best ways to set yourself apart and position yourself as an expert within your industry.
Relationships & networking
Building relationships around your business is integral to your success. You can't have a business in a vacuum, and you should most definitely be thinking about building and maintaining relationships as you grow your business. This should be part of your marketing as well!
Through professional development events like conferences, online communities, education etc. it's important to connect with others to help you get to the next phase of your business (and help them too!).
But it doesn't just stop there, when you create content, when you answer comments on social media, or customer emails, it's important to approach each of these experiences in the hopes of building a relationship.
Does that sound gross? It can if you let it. But I firmly believe in cultivating and building relationships, and it never has to be tacky or self-serving.
Partnering with other businesses
Along with building relationships, be on the look out for complimentary businesses in your or even outside your industry that you could partner with.
A few quick ideas:
Do you have a product that you think would go well inside a blogger's home? Reach out to them to see if they interested in working with you.
Partner with other businesses to do a social media campaign.
Offer to guest blog on a blog that's popular in your industry.
The ideas are endless. Look around you. Get curious and industrious!
Many businesses today look at social media as free advertising. And in some ways they're correct, it definitely can be that. But that opportunity is much smaller than it once was.
With algorithms in place it can be difficult to get your message across - both literally and figuratively.
This is where investing in advertising comes in to place. Make sure you're budgeting for this and looking into professional development to help you. Check out Gem Inbound, they specifically work with product based businesses.
PR & press outreach
Guess what? You know your business best. And you should be advocating for it! What do I mean by this? This means reaching out (building relationships comes in handy here! See above!) to blogs, podcasts, and local and national print publications (both online and off) to look into how to get in front of them.
This should be something you're doing at least a few hours a month. Look around at what you're reading, who you're paying attention to, and make a list. Then put it in your schedule to start reaching out.
If you need inspiration, listen to this wonderful episode of Creative Empire Podcast. Brigitte Lyons lays out why you should be doing more than social media in your marketing (spoiler: she's a big fan of pitching to podcasts!).
You've got this!
Before you say "this is too much!," guess what? Running a business is hard work. It takes a lot. If it were easy everyone would do it. You know all of this. I know you do!
The good news is you have something to share. You have a message and a story to get out there. And all of the above will help you build your business.
I believe you have it in you! You've gotten this far, why stop now?
Remember, you don't need to do every single thing above and you don't need to do it all at once. But I encourage you to explore these options and see what you can add to your marketing plan to build your business. When you start to open yourself up to opportunities interesting things happen. Now hop to it!
Feel like you need support in this or you'd like for someone to come in and give you strategies to apply? I'd love to help you!
Take a look at my offerings, and see how I can best help you continue to grow your business!