There was a time when platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram were the go-to platforms for businesses looking for online marketing. That time is gone. OK, maybe not gone, but certainly not the best way forward for your business in terms of online or social media marketing as they call it.
Digital marketing gurus all over the world have been persuading business small and big to spend heavily on their social media services. And if you own business small or big, you probably already would have dabbled with platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for your social media marketing needs. You would’ve set up a Facebook page for your business, an Instagram handle to showcase your products, and a Twitter handle to constantly share updates related to your business. But, there must have been times, where you would’ve looked at social media as a scam.
And even though social media is not a scam in entirety, it certainly does feel like one for small and medium-sized businesses.
But, before we draw any conclusions, let’s understand what Social Media Marketing is?
It will help you understand what social media marketing and why it feels like a scam for small or medium-sized businesses.
So, let’s start.
Basically, social media marketing is all about creating content, promoting it, and building an audience around it. It is a time-tested strategy, which has worked for many businesses. However, the real social media marketing breaks this otherwise beneficial approach.
To start with, the audience that you think are building for your business with your content and promotion, thinking of them as an asset for your business, in reality, is an asset for the company that owns the platform. If something is to happen to these social media platforms, your audience goes down with them. Not to mention the frequent change in the policies of these platforms. One fine example of this is Facebook changing their algorithm to make it impossible for the businesses to reach their audiences without boosting their posts.
Social media is a great tool for entertainment, but when it comes to selling, it’s not that effective. Read any report on social media and you will discover that just sharing your own content will not do anything for your business. Just sharing entertaining content will never help you make money.
It becomes even harder for small or medium-sized businesses on a tight online marketing budget. If all your efforts are focused or revolve around social media, it can suck up all your money and effort, leaving you nothing to do with online marketing. Yes, you can fetch thousands of likes, comments, follows, and shares by boosting your content, but can you effectively monetize any of those metrics?
Well, you can’t.
Yes, an argument can be made in favor of pay-per-click social media marketing. It can be effective, however, as a business, how long do you think you can continue pumping in the money for those clicks?
It can be understood by looking at some of the bigger brands and how they use social media. Look at brands like McDonald’s, Ford, or any other brand of your choice and you will find that while they spend on social media, they are not going for the exact same ROI as a small or medium-sized business like yours is. What big brands want from social media is entirely different from what you want.
Big brands want customers to associate with their brands. They do it by associating their brand with emotions, decisions, and different stages of common people. They are not looking to build an audience, they are not looking to generate sales with their social media campaigns, what they want is to leave a lasting impression on their audience. And they are doing it very effectively.
So, if you do not have marketing budgets or time to invest in building a desire for your products year after year, it’s just a waste of your time and money. Even if you can, these big players have the ability to squash any competition in a jiffy. So, we suggest you shouldn’t waste your money or time in conventional social media marketing, but instead should try tactics that actually will make a difference to your business.
And here’s something that we feel can help your business.
Focus on making sales, not leaving an impression.
Let’s get this straight, you will not generate a single penny in revenue with your good impression. To generate profits, you need to sell stuff. That is the only way the small or medium-sized businesses survive. The goods or services they sell, pay for their bills and generate enough revenue for them to make some traffic.
If you do not have VCs pumping money in your business or are not planning to cash out in an IPO, you will need to make profits in the traditional way and that is by selling products or services that people want.
It might seem like basic common sense, however, not many of the social media marketers take it into account. Having 100,000 Facebook fans on your business page means nothing if not even one of them is buying or is interested in your products or services. You have just paid for 100,000 clicks and nothing meaningful for your business.
Now, let’s look at another side of the social media coin, where all your posts are sales posts. Will it work? It wouldn’t.
That’s the catch with social media, in no way you will be in a win-win situation with social media. No matter the effort, the money, or the creativity you put, you will always have a tough time getting the desired results.
But don’t get disheartened. No social media does not mean no online marketing for your business. You just need to play smart to win the social media and online marketing. Here are three tactics that could yield you great results for your business if done right.
- Paid social media campaigns
- Email marketing
Now let’s look at them in detail.
Paid Social Media Campaigns –
Using paid social media campaigns to get likes, follows, and shares might be the waste of your time and money. However, if you use it to take your customers to a specific product page or service or just a page where you can inform them about your business, could mean something. It could just be a link which takes them off the social media platform and onto your website, but it is totally worth your time and money. On your website, you control the terms of engagement, which you can use any way you so wish.
The biggest advantage of the paid social media campaign is that you can micro-target the customers. So if it’s a very niche set of customers you want to target, you can do so using micro-targeting. It will make the customers feel at home and connected to your business.
Paid social media advertising could also lead to direct sales, or at least it allows you to build a customer database, which can further be used for marketing purpose of your choice, e-mail or physical mail.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) –
Now, while paid social media campaigns are great for generating sales or driving traffic with immediate effect, it can not be the long-term solution for your business. This is where SEO comes into place.
SEO will get you steady traffic, with small profits to begin with, but in long run, it will do wonders for your business.
The goal with SEO is to drive organic traffic to your website through search engines. You can direct the traffic uniformly across the website or can focus primarily on the product or service that you want to sell. People looking for the products or services similar to yours will be redirected to your service or product page directly from search engines. Once you have a steady flow of traffic on your website, the products will continue to grow.
SEO might not be as sexy as social media marketing where you get instant gratification through likes and follows, but it delivers big in terms of business gains. SEO is all about putting your website to generate revenue for your website rather than you pumping in money.
Email Marketing –
One of the most cost-effective forms of online marketing is email marketing. In terms of costs, it will cost you almost nothing to send an email campaign, when you compare it with the cost you will incur for your digital marketing campaigns on any other platform. A well-optimized email campaign can generate thousands of dollars for your business.
It is a direct form of digital marketing where you ask your customers to take a measurable action, be it buying a product or just signing up for your upcoming offers. The goal here is to bring your customers as close to making a purchase as possible. And they will.
Finally, all the three aforementioned steps are no way as glamorous as sharing content on social media, boosting it, and seeing it pile of likes and followers in no time, however, when done right and with little patience, they will yield you much higher ROI. So, if you are still splurging money on boosting your posts on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter in 2019, it’s time to stop. ')}