Let's get real about something. Social media is not the end all and be all of your marketing and business building efforts. And if it is, you're laying your foundation on a house of cards.
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 so easy to get complacent. To see something is working and then just let it work its magic until it doesn't. But 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 efforts.
This is something that every business should bear in mind and fully grasp. The days of the social media heyday - where you could build a business on one platform or social media alone - are over. You must be exploring other avenues to help you build your business.
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. When what's not working are their expectations.
Herein lies the problem. There is a huge misunderstanding of what social media can and do for your business nowadays. Social media should be a tool in your marketing basket, and that is it. It is a means to an end, and too often I see small businesses approaching this 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. 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! And that's why it's important to have other channels within your marketing plan to help support this process.
6 Channels to Consider for Your Marketing Efforts
Below are 6 channels to consider when thinking about building your overall marketing strategy, to help you get your message out, and continue to build your business:
Social media - we've covered this. We know we need it. We just need to reframe our perspective. Choose 2-3 platforms to support your marketing message.
Email Marketing - 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! 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. (New to email marketing? I have a helpful beginner course!)
Blogging - 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 and share about your business, and are offering real value to your potential customers, and are consistent. Blogging is one of the best ways to drive traffic back to your website. It's also one of the best ways to set yourself apart and position yourself as an expert within your industry. ie: You know what you are doing.
Relationships - Building relationships around your business are 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.
Advertising - Many businesses today look at social media as free advertising. And in some ways they're correct, it can definitely be that. But that opportunity is much smaller than it once was. With algorithms in place and some social media platforms feeling too precious to straight up hard sell on, 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.
PR/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 start reaching out!
If you'd like to hear me talk more about this watch this video, where I talk a little more in depth about the above.
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! But 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!