Social media is great.
You can connect with likeminded people in your city and around the world.
You can be more yourself on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and give your clients and employees a peek inside your life and why you do the work you do.
You can raise awareness and let people know that you and your business are awesome.
But—and this is a big “but”—social media doesn’t guarantee you any clients or any real leads.
So, my question is: aside from being there because it’s a necessary part of business, why are you spending so much of your communications time on social media?
Some businesses, a lot of small businesses, use social media because it’s inexpensive—but that’s a problem as well because if you don’t have a huge budget for paid advertisements, only a tiny fraction of your followers will see your content.
Listen, we all know Facebook and Instagram are businesses and while it may be free to join and set up pages, to do more than share memes with your friends is going to cost you.
I know a small business owner who decided to forego a website because she said it was too expensive to have a site designed and content developed. So, she conducts most of her business on Facebook, with a little Instagram thrown in. Facebook is where she posts her information, her calendar of events, and where all of her client information is housed.
This is a huge problem because she’s putting all of her eggs in Facebook’s basket and increasing her risk exponentially. What happens the day that Facebook shuts down?
They’ve been in trouble a lot over the last few years with privacy issues and a whole host of other things. What happens when Facebook decides that she’s contravened their regulations and they shut her page down?
Most importantly, would she have any recourse?
Nope. Not a lot.
So, what can you do to maintain a presence on social media, without making it your end all and be all?
Diversify your communications efforts. Don’t put all of your hope in one medium because it just doesn’t make sense whether it’s social media or anything else. While you can definitely have a social media presence, don’t only have a social media presence. Pay some money and create a website of some kind to host your content—whether you create it yourself or pay someone else to do it. Start building your email list and get to work doing some email marketing. Get networking with potential clients. Set up some sales meetings and sit down with people to find out where their pain points are. Why? You control how and when you’ll connect with your audience—and no random algorithm updates will change that.
Always have a backup. You can run a marketing campaign on social media, but social media should not be your only avenue of marketing because it’s not reliable. At some point, Facebook/Instagram/Twitter will die or will turn into something completely different than what we’re accustomed to today. Are you ready for that? Or will you be scrambling to get your contacts off of social media and into some Excel spreadsheet? Start moving your contacts over to some kind of customer relationship manager or Google Drive—or at the very least, create an Excel spreadsheet and print it out.
Understand your reason for using social media. Social media is great for building brand awareness more than anything else. You can get leads, but social media doesn’t qualify leads. With algorithm changes, terms and conditions changes, the whim of the social media site to change things up just because can ruin whatever momentum you have created.