Is it possible to market your business without using social media?

Author: Cassi Lowe | Date: March 25, 2022 | Campaign Stage:

For a lot of small business owners, social media can feel like a silver bullet. You post and hope the right people will see it and make it go viral. You get frustrated because that never happens, but the gurus tell you to keep posting more and more. But it feels like you're talking into a black hole. It's time consuming, and you're not seeing the ROI on it.

There are a few issues with this scenario:

  1. Social media is only a small part of an overall marketing strategy.
  2. The "social" part of social media is often overlooked.
  3. "Going viral" is not a dependable strategy.

Within the Open Source Marketing framework, social media is only one technique in the Outreach section. It's easy to get caught up in the hype of social media, but don't miss the big picture. There are a lot of parts that go into an effective marketing plan, and social media may only be a small piece. Start with Strategy first, and get clear on the 5 core elements:

  1. The Brand (who is making the offer)
  2. Products & Services (i.e. what you actually deliver)
  3. The Proposition (i.e. what you promise or sell)
  4. The Problem you're promising to solve
  5. And the Market you're selling to.

Once you are clear on strategy, you can work on a campaign design. It's very possible that you don't need to include extensive social media usage into your campaign at all. Depending on your market, it could be a waste of time. You won't know until you go through the strategy process.

If you determine that social media should be a part of your outreach process, it's important to remember that social media is inherently social. People use social media to stay connected with other people.

No one wants to be sold to constantly. If you're only using social media to promote your business and push sales messages, you'll have a tough time engaging with your audience. Use your social media channels as a two-way conversation instead of a broadcast medium. Consumers value authenticity and trust now, more than ever.

There are plenty of other outreach techniques that don't require constant engagement on social media, too. Explore your options and refer back to your strategy research to decide what's best for your business.

Many consumers expect brands to have a social media presence. If you decide that social media will not be your primary outreach channel, you can still use your social profiles to support your branding and other marketing efforts.

Your social media profiles can be a great support system and distribution network for your other techniques, such as content marketing, email newsletters, search engine optimization, or advertising. Keep your profiles up to date and relevant, but don't stress over the number of Likes or comments on your posts.

Don't forget that businesses marketed their services for hundreds of years before social media was invented. There are always other ways to reach your market if social media isn't a good fit for your business.

Author Bio:
Cassi Lowe is a marketing strategy consultant based in Indianapolis, IN. She's the main curator for the Open Source Marketing Project. She has over 15 years of experience in the web design & marketing field.

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