Like many of the small business owners we talk to, here at Goodwin Creative we are busy running our business, spending time with our families and squeezing in personal time where we can. Also like others, we have little time for social media and feel troubled that we’re not giving this seemingly excellent marketing tool enough of our time.
Meanwhile, we are bombarded daily with content online telling us social media is the only way to successfully market our businesses.
Truth is, social media has only been a real player the marketing field for about ten years. Businesses, on the other hand, have been successfully marketing themselves for thousands of years. Of course, in the early years of Facebook business pages, marketing our companies through an easy to reach and potentially vast marketplace was very enticing and extremely easy. This is not true of Facebook today.
In the early days, people who ‘liked’ your facebook feed would see anything you posted there. Today, even if you have 1000 likes, when you post to your page only 4-5 of your fans will interact or even see it. Unless you spend money and boost yours post. You’ll notice a big ‘BOOST’ button on every post.
An article on Medium points out “Facebook organic (free) reach is down to a mere 1–6% of your fans now. Engagements have dropped by as much as 70%. Facebook changes its algorithms often, and they’re hard to follow. This makes it incredibly hard for businesses, especially newer ones, to stay on top of their marketing game and reach their intended audiences unless they shill out tons of money.
An article on Buffer tells us “Our findings show that engagement has dropped by more than 50% over the last 18 months.”
That’s pretty stark.
Sarthak Sharma, author of the article, states: It’s the same story for all major social media platforms. In short, social media marketing is dead. Better invest your time and money somewhere else.
The idea of social media, however, is fantastic. Word-of-mouth has always been the best way to grow your businesses. Good reviews, testimonials and happy clients. How wonderful that we can reach all of our clients and potential clients through a single platform.
Is there any way a business owner can leverage the social media advertising medium successfully? The answer is yes, but you’re going to have to spend a huge amount of time or hire someone to spend that time and this brings us back to the beginning of our article. Instead of feeling guilty about not taking advantage of social media as a marketing tool let’s look at some alternatives.
Find alternative platforms
This is interesting advice. While millions of people have focused primarily on Facebook, there have actually been many different kinds of communities springing up around the net over the past decade. You can find communities that are specific to the services you offer.
Sharma notes, if your business caters to the travel industry, you might want to reach out to potential clients on a travel blogging platform like Tripoto.
If your business focus is primarily B2B, platforms such as Linked In and Alignable are still good options.
In a future article, we’ll explore platforms where different businesses might market their services and products.
Have a great website
You are in control of what you show on your website, how it looks, and who you target. You control the functions, the photos, and services you provide.
Be sure your market knows about your website & company
Good print material with your website noted
Person to person networking
Advertising in local print media
Sponsoring local events
Joining local business groups such as a Chamber of Commerce
Make sure your website is listed on all emails
Incentives can help
Contests and give-aways
Mailing list / newsletter
The take-away here is that yes, there was a time when we thought social media could make or break a company’s marketing. I’m guilty myself of telling clients, if you’re not on social media, you’re gonna miss the boat. But I take it all back.
Facebook has recently announced a complete make-over wherein they will be emphasizing Groups, Events and Stories. This is good. I was pretty much only using Facebook for my groups and events anyhow.
But definitely have a Facebook business page.
It’s a great way for future clients to find you and communicate easily via messenger. I often will search a business on Facebook because I have the ability to send them a message.
And a page is free. You an be free too - of all that guilt over not posting enough to social media, not having enough social media accounts, not following or liking enough posts.
It really isn’t worth your time anymore.
Photo by Kevin Grieve on Unsplash