Here are our 10 Proven Ways to Reduce Reliance on social media and market your business more sustainably
Was your aim to use social media as a playground? I imagine no, even if you may be a social user, right? Social media can be a powerful tool for marketing businesses, yet lately, it seems to be a merry-go-round for some and a see-saw for others… And we know that as a business owner, charity lead, and/or savvy careerist, your aim was not to use social media as a playground, but rather as a brand exposure tool and even a marketplace. So, my client asked; how to decrease reliance on social media for business growth and it got me thinking.
It’s important to definitely understand the advantages of leveraging social media platforms. In fact, our sister voluntary organisation laid out a full article on which social media platforms are best for you today.
Still, one must be mindful of the potential risks and downsides of relying too heavily on these platforms. Top of the list is that you DO NOT OWN them, not even your own personal profile/accounts. You are literally the product on social media, and if this is news to you, we need to have a conversation.
But let us focus on the task at hand. Reducing reliance on social media and finding sustainable ways to market a business MUST be your top priority. And having a proven strategy for those who want to diversify their marketing efforts and avoid the constant pressure of social media is key. I am not encouraging you to avoid social media or shut down your profiles.
In fact, some may use this article as their excuse for not having a solid social media presence. And that my friend is a mistake. What I am saying is, there are other less time-thirsty, resource-hungry, and less stressful ways…So let’s dive in, below are some ways how…
To decrease reliance on social media and find new, sustainable ways to market your business:
#1. Have your own branded and optimised digital platform:
I am talking about having a professional website that you OWN… One that you annually renew your domain and web hosting subscriptions. A website that says more about:
- WHO you are and WHY you do what you do,
- WHOM you serve and how they benefit from your service/product
- WHAT It is you serve them
- HOW they can access it and above all
- WHY They must do so NOW, not whenever it suits…
Your website is one of the most important assets in your business lead generation and customer-getting strategy. Make sure it is optimized for lead generation by having clear calls-to-action, using forms to capture visitor information, and creating content that provides value to your target audience. I will unpack all these in a bit.
It is very important to ensure that your website is SEO OPTIMISED and you have a Local Inbound marketing plan in place to get your message out there in the digital space…It’s not always about social media.
By the way, without a marketing plan for your website, you may as well stick with the social media bird’s nest on your head…That’s what you will get if you do not have a strategy to automate and leverage your tools, time and resources to build that income you dream of.
In fact, this whole article is meant to help you have time to spend with family, serve your clients and live life on your terms. Do not become a social media puppet.
So, with your website up and running, and optimised you will do the next step.
#2. Focus on building an email list:
One of the first lessons I learned in digital marketing way back in 2015 was; Building a solid email list of fans, followers, and buyers will give you time and even financial freedom. In fact, it has been said that if you have a solid list of 1000 subscribers, consider that each is worth £1. If you do make your offers known to them regularly in between the value content, you could attract – earn a minimum of £1000/month.
But that is not financial freedom, right? At least not in Western countries. Then what the heck is financial freedom?
Imho that is when you earn enough from your gig business/brand to replace your monthly work/job-based income and then some. With your overheads including taxes fully covered.
And, what has email marketing got to do with that? Well…
Email marketing is a great way to stay in touch with your customers and potential clients. And the best way to do this is by encouraging your website visitors to sign up for your newsletter or offer a lead magnet – something from $0 to a max $10 in exchange for their email address. You can always upsell on the next step. Lots more on this was shared in our Email marketing series Part 1 to 3.
Now, obviously, your social media following should be part of your email marketing plan. But not the whole plan. So, what else can you do to decrease reliance on social media while building a profitable business?
#3. Attend networking events:
But Julie, I want to automate and do all that auto-pilot malarkey! Yes, you can do that with great SEO and a solid email list!
Until then, get off your butt, go out, and meet people. After all, you expect earth-bound humans to buy your products, right? Then check out your local business events, expos, BNI’s, and connect with your local chamber of commerce, they always have something going on.
If you are based in Africa and the global south, I cannot recommend being part of the Rotary Club more highly. Become an active Rotarian like our beautiful client Simply Maery and network like crazy. The idea is to make friends, serve your local communities, and show that you genuinely care, because:
“People DO NOT Care until they know that You Care.
So, attend local and wider events, conferences, and trade shows to network with potential customers and partners. Make sure to take plenty of business cards or have your digital card ready to share and have a clear elevator pitch that highlights your unique value proposition.
This can be a great way to connect with new people, build relationships and promote your business in a more personal way without spending hours on social media or your gadget.
#4. Create valuable content: Why didn’t I share this as #2?
Because I am trying to get you to connect more with other humans and spend less time online esp. social media, right? Because in that world you need a Social media strategy and you probably don’t have one. Neither do you have a social media manager in your corner!
Yet, creating valuable content for your digital audience such as blog posts, videos, podcasts, or infographics, can help establish your business/brand/charity as the go-to in your industry.
Targeted content can attract potential customers, donors, and stakeholders and build trust with your audience.
Did I just hear you moan and cry, Oh no Jules, more work? I am juggling 110 hats, I cannot do content too!
Don’t worry, you don’t have to create your content yourself, not even your team! You are a savvy business owner, and for as low as £250/month a professional content developer can deliver targeted, SEO-optimised content for your digital brand and get that party going for you while you focus on working ON your business.
Content that will hit the mark and get your brand found, heard, seen, and engaged with, without the BS that can be on social media. By creating high-quality content that addresses the needs of your target audience, you can attract organic traffic to your website, build your email list and embed your brand as an authority in your industry.
And while you are at it…
#5 Partner with other businesses:
Do not be a selfish Mary marketer. I am talking about synergy, helping each other to grow and connect with each other’s audience to upgrade your clients’/customers’ experience.
Let’s speak examples: I visited a Spa on the weekend and noticed an exfoliating cream with a specific ingredient I love. It wasn’t branded to that spa though. I got the product and I love how it leaves my face soft and supple.
You too, if you have ever visited a Spa, they often have products that support body health, skin health, beauty brands, oils, etc. Usually, those products aren’t produced by/for the Spa brand. It’s a collaboration. And most spa customers may never have heard of say an exfoliating cream, and we get to access it via the spa… Boom, you have a new customer.
Partnering with complementary businesses that offer products or services that are not the same but complement yours can help expand your reach and attract new customers.
Look for businesses with similar audiences and see if you can collaborate on a project or offer a joint promotion. It is a game of numbers so be ready to reach out to many who may say NO, for whatever reasons…Know that some will, some won’t, so what…Next!
#6. Leverage offline marketing channels:
Understand that the old gatekeepers are now all online too. Last year we had our local paper, the Liverpool Echo publish a press release regarding a community organisation project called the Somo Sisters Oral History Record. They published it online on a Saturday and a physical front News Headline in the Monday paper edition. This led to other media houses asking about the project and it was a domino effect. So do not discount mainstream media.
And you truly have to consider using traditional marketing channels such as print ads, radio, TV commercials, billboards, or direct mail. These channels can be effective in reaching a local and national audience as well as building brand awareness.
Get a graphic designer to create some awesome graphics for ya and print that pop-up banner for your next networking event. Create flyers to distribute to your local media. Have a press release done for your new product. But not any old Googled press release, those don’t work. The right press release done by a professional can make your product a bestseller.
Getting seen on TV…huh! That is gold. People love their radio stations, go build that connection with a radio presenter.
Old ways still work, more so now actually, because more people are disoriented by social media platforms that have become super commercial than social!
#7. Build a referral program:
Not for the faint-hearted this. It takes some serious work, but once done, it’s like a bee hive (excuse the analogy). You have all these people busy sharing your services/products i.e., worker-bees while bringing the pollen home for your business. Obviously, they shouldn’t do it for free.
You must be ready to revenue share with them. From 3% upwards depending on the price of your service/product.
Working with others is absolutely amazing, recently I was part of publishing a book that went bestseller mostly because I worked with 11 other amazing women. By the way, grab your copy of the Somo Sisters Tapestry book today. You will understand the true value of working with others.
You could start by encouraging existing customers to refer their friends and family to your business by offering incentives or discounts. This can help bring in new leads and customers without relying on social media.
#8. How to Reduce Reliance on Social Media for Business Growth – Focus on search engine optimization (SEO):
Your website might be a Billy-no-mates even as you read this… Am I wrong? You have no idea how this beast works and you wonder why you spent that cash getting it built. The thing is, building a website and Optimizing your website for search engines are two different things.
The latter can help you attract more organic traffic and improve your visibility in search results. While the former is like building rentals and not promoting them so they sit there looking pretty but with no tenants and thus no cashola revenue.
What I am saying is; MARKET YOUR WEBSITE. Yep, and in digital parlance, the best place to start is Local SEO. Not just once, SEO is an ongoing process.
In fact, I recommend you set aside a budget for having Local SEO done for you by a professional at least twice a year. Especially if your website is for e-Commerce. You will leave your competitors in your dust and thank me later.
This my dear is the serious stuff that will help you rely less on generic social media and more on real marketing that works.
#9. Utilize influencer marketing:
We did talk about this in the last article. Still, I’d love to reiterate that Influencer marketing can be a way to leverage the reach and influence of social media personalities to promote your products or services. Without you having to do the heavy lifting yourself. In other words, you could either collaborate for a brand mention, product, or even cash exchange to get your product promoted by an influencer.
Look for nano and micro-influencers at first, who align with your brand values and target audience. As you grow you can reach out to macro influencers with larger followings and consider partnering on a sponsored post or campaign.
Again, it’s a game of numbers, reach out to as many as you can and keep going until you connect with the right one. Use branded links in your campaigns so that you know that a specific sale/subscription/donation came from that Influencer campaign. Otherwise, it could be a waste of time. Many so-called influencers do not have a real audience – #botworld.
#10. Use paid advertising:
I know, I know, you are new, your business is small, and you aren’t making any money yet… I get it, I was there once. The thing is, you must start as you intend to grow. If you expect other people to buy your stuff, you should be invested in getting it to them, and paid Ads can be super effective in getting your message, products, and services to more eyeballs and buyers.
I am talking about paid advertising, such as Google Ads, Pinterest Ads, LinkedIn ads, and if you know your way around them, even Facebook Ads. DO NOT attempt Facebook ads without professional help. You will lose your money.
That said, paid ads, can be an effective way to reach new prospects, increase brand reach and generate leads. Be sure to target your ads carefully to reach the right audience and use compelling ad copy and creativity to grab their attention. In fact, it will be good money spent if you hire the help of a good Copy Writer to create your ad copy for you.
If you want to get new leads and clients/customers without being constantly attached to your phone, scrolling through social media, sending strangers your links, or worse; cold calling, the above are some of the best steps you can employ.
Overall, by diversifying your marketing channels and building a sustainable, long-term strategy, you can decrease reliance on social media and reach your audience in more effective, less stressful, and more meaningful ways.
And remember, marketing your business sustainably requires a long-term commitment and a willingness to experiment with different strategies. It requires a budget, however small like seed money, to support growth. By diversifying your marketing efforts and exploring new channels, you can reduce your reliance on social media and build a more sustainable marketing plan for your business.
If this was useful to you, consider sharing it with a friend – pass it along, and above all share your views in a comment below.
Julie Syl Kalungi
I am a Business Transformational Strategist. An International Bestselling Author of Six+ books, including The Art of Pinterest Profits and The Winning Planner. Each week, I send out a free newsletter with my best tips on Social media and Digital Marketing, Personal Branding, and a Winning or Leadership mindset to help your business or enterprise succeed.
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