Note: This article is not for you if a) You are a content based company, or b) Your company is already a semi-big brand.
Well, you heard it right. There was a time when using Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms was essential to start a business, but it’s all changing now.
We all are living in a lie that is created by these companies themselves. They have convinced us that the only way we can reach out to our customers is by Social Media. But that’s not true at all. Many great businesses in the past and even now have reached their customers without any help from social media at all.
Then why do we still buy this lie? Let’s find out and see what alternatives we have available.
How you got into this trap 🕸 🕷
Of course, you do it for a reason, and that reason is always an external force. Let’s discuss these external forces.
Because that’s what we’ve been taught:
This is one of the top results when you search on Google “How to market your business”, and it’s a post by a top publication, Entrepreneur. The second thing it talks about is social media, and this is just one example. All over the internet, there are thousands of such articles specifically putting emphasis on the power of social media, and you don’t want to feel the guilt of being left out. So you do it out of social pressure.
Everyday you scroll through your social media feed, all you see is big corps like Apple and Amazon promoting their stuff on these platforms. That gives you a sense of verification that if they are doing it, you should too. But people often forget that these are billion dollar businesses that can afford spending heavily on social media ads. You probably can’t, and you shouldn’t anyway.
What’s the biggest fear one must overcome to build a company? Going out and talking to your customers face to face. But social media gives you a cover, it gives you a comfort zone, and your brain automatically chooses the easy option. But to establish your business, you need to get feedback from your customers one on one. Posting a poll on Twitter or a survey on Facebook won’t help you much, especially when you don’t even know if you’re reaching the right people.
Why you can’t get out ✋🏻🏃🏻♂
Facebook and Google get billions of dollars in ad revenue. These companies are spending enormous amount of money to make their platforms as sticky as possible. Let me explain this from my own experience with Facebook, so you can relate this to your own.
You can’t get to your audience easily:
We all know that Facebook controls our feed, but most of us have no idea in how many ways they do it. They often do A/B testing on their users by showing/omitting specific things in the newsfeed to see how people respond to different things. But never mind that for now; let’s talk about what it’s like for businesses today.
So a friend of mine used to have his band page on Facebook. He did a show in our town and the local people started following him on Facebook, and soon he had over a thousand fans. He used to post a lot on Facebook but surprisingly, out of his 1000 fans, only 4–5 would like or interact with those posts. It boggled his mind, and if you’ve run a business page on Facebook, I’m sure your experience hasn’t been any different. Facebook organic (free) reach is down to a mere 1–6% of your fans now. Facebook say they have done this to improve the user experience, and there might be some degree of truth to that, but the whole truth is much bigger.
They make you think that ads are the only way to grow:
Every post you put on your Facebook page has a little Boost Post option at the bottom now. This button is shown alongside your meager likes and comments. They’re basically screaming in your face to spend money. And then you think to yourself, “I’m making such great content and still getting no traction. Why can’t I give it a try? It’s just 1$.”
And by clicking that button, you commit your biggest mistake, my friend.
Suddenly, you see a spike in views, likes and shares. People start liking your page, validating your spending decision and making you feel like your audience is growing. But you forget that even if you now have 2000 fans, only 6% will able to see you next post. Unless you boost it of course, which is exactly what Facebook wants you to do.
That’s how you get into the trap and end up spending thousands of dollars to build an audience that you can reach only by paying more.
Perfect isn’t it ? My friend lost a lot of money doing this, and realized what a scummy practice it was way too late. Don’t repeat his mistake, learn from it.
Here’s a recent post summarizing the results of analyzing over 43 million Facebook posts by 20,000 top brands on Facebook. The results are depressing. The study finds that top pages are posting a lot more now because 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.
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.
How to escape this trap 🎊 🙌🏻 🎉
It might seem impossible at first, but there are unlimited ways to market your business outside of social media. Let’s discuss them one by one here.
Focus more on your Product 💪🏼 :
Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected. ~ Steve Jobs
Stop spending your limited resources on social media and put everything you’ve got into building an unbeatable product. I have seen many small teams, when starting out, trying to collect big funds to market their business. Their marketing budget is always bigger than their production budget; avoid that. Make a great product and it will do most of the marketing for you.
Interact with your customers personally 🤝 :
You need to get out of that office, break that comfort zone, and talk to your audience. Reach out to your online customers personally, and don’t be afraid of getting brutal but honest feedback in the beginning. Try Reddit for starters. A personal talk is always better than a kickass social media ad banner. Do remember your customers still want to talk to a human being.
Build first 1,000 true fans 🎊 :
A great concept by Kevin Kelly ,that you need to satisfy your first true 1,000 fans. People who are so happy with your services or product that they will promote you for free. If you are able to build that, then you have your own 1000 sales people working for you for free. Even Tim Ferriss suggests doing this over social media marketing.
Transfer your audience to other mediums 🚀 :
What if you already have some followers on social media platforms? Get them to some other medium where you can interact with them more personally. Like if you are on Facebook, you can message them to signup for a mailing list or tell them that you are available on other more transparent platforms.
Do it the old way 📆 :
People have been doing business for centuries now, and social media came into existence just a decade ago. So there are still many traditional ways of marketing that you can follow. I suggest you read this book “Low Budget Marketing for Rookies” if you wanna start.
Find other platforms 🧐 :
Try to find your niche audience on other small platforms. For example, if your target audience is developers, then you can go to Dev.to or Hashnode. Let’s say your target audience is people who are into travel, then you should reach out to them on travel blogging platforms like Tripoto.
The gist of it is that you just have to creative. Remember, the internet is big, much bigger than just Facebook, Google and Twitter, no matter how hard they try to make you think otherwise.
Keep hustling till the end 🤼♂️
So total dependence on social media is not a solution. If you are a small company just starting out, remember that your focus should be on making a great product first, devising a great marketing campaign comes way after that. That’s how all the industry giants are big today. They’ve hustled constantly, but probably don’t want you to do the same. Work hard!
In the end, I would say there is no easy way to make your business successful. You need to start hustling, so buckle up, get into the right mindset, and start now.
If you enjoyed this story, don’t forget to leave some claps. 👏🏼 You can check out more like this on our publication The Skynox Blog. We write about product development, lifestyle, health & fitness, and more interesting stuff. We also run a global initiative for open-source development, Team XenoX. If you’re a developer, you can check out and contribute to our open-source projects by starting here.
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