Whether you are a start-up or a business that has been running for a while, people you meet will surely ask one question:
“Are you on social media?”
There is no denying the power and influence of social media. Of the 4 Billion people who are on the Internet every day, almost 3 Billion are on social media. That’s 75% of the daily Internet users and nearly 40% of the world’s total population.
If you want to build an online presence, you should be on social media.
Or do you?
Is social media the be-all and end-all of online marketing?
Is it possible to survive in a competitive industry without the benefit of social media?
Not only will you survive a competitive industry without the benefit of social media, but you may even thrive.
Is Social Media For Everyone?
If someone wants to lose weight, one of the first things he/she will probably do is take up running.
And why not? Running is a basic skill we learn growing up. It is an activity that you can do anywhere and many people have gotten great weight loss results from running.
However, running is not for everyone. If you have weak joints, running can lead to serious injuries. Likewise, using poor running technique can lead to chronic pain in your feet, knees, and lower back.
Moreover, it is not the only way to lose weight. You can swim, bike, walk, play ball, or work out in a gym.
Of course, exercise alone will not make you lose weight. You have to follow a strict, low calorie, healthy diet. A combination of exercise, diet, and good quality sleep will lead to long-term, sustainable weight loss.
The same can be said about social media. It is not for everyone and social media is not the only way to market and promote your business.
Social media has gained prominence as an online marketing strategy because every business website that writes articles about growing your business invariably has a section devoted to social media.
In fact, we have written about social media in our articles “How to Launch a $100 Digital Marketing Campaign” and “5 Reasons Why Small Businesses Need to Invest in a Digital Marketing Strategy”.
Social media has become such a force of nature that you can easily get swept away by its power and influence.
Big companies such as Apple, Amazon, Samsung, Nike, and Walmart are active on social media. So are major influencers such as Neil Patel, Tim Ferris, Sir Richard Branson, and Warren Buffett.
Social media marketing is also inexpensive. Once you have created an account, you can reach out to people you know and work your way through their contacts list so you can grow your own followers.
From there, it is just a matter of posting content frequently.
Easier said than done.
7 Ways To Grow Your Business Online Besides Social Media
If you haven’t seen quantifiable results from your social media efforts, you are not alone. It takes time to grow your followers organically.
You need to put thought and purpose behind your content. After some time, you will have to use social media analytics to help you pinpoint the types of content that generate the highest levels of engagement.
And it doesn’t end there. The best way to validate your social media efforts is to convert interest into sales. That is an entirely different ballgame.
Just because everybody – or more accurately 3 Billion people – are doing it doesn’t mean that you should also.
It may not be for you.
There are other ways to grow your business online besides social media.
1. Mobile-Responsive Website
If you have a website – good. If you have a mobile responsive website – great!
It would be difficult for your online marketing efforts to bear fruit if your audience cannot access your website from a mobile device. 57% of online traffic comes from mobile devices, especially smartphones.
Mobile-responsiveness is also a ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm. If your website is not mobile-responsive, it will not lead to a pleasant experience for users. Google will penalize your website in the search rankings.
2. Optimize Web Content
Writing online is different from writing a college term paper. Yes, you have to check your work for spelling and grammatical errors and the content must be thoroughly researched.
However, when writing Internet-based content, you must always have optimization in mind. Optimizing content makes it easier to get found on the Internet. The fundamental component in content optimization is the use of keywords.
Keywords are the words and phrases used by people to launch a search query. When integrated into your content, keywords will make it easier for the search bots to find and index your page for the SERP.
3. Content Marketing
A 2018 global survey conducted by Smart Insights showed 20% of marketers believed content marketing was the online process that would have the most significant impact on business.
It should be no surprise because people continually search for content on the Internet. No just any ordinary content. The material that you publish must have the following qualities:
- Fresh, original
- Easy to read
By consistently posting quality content on your blog page, you will be able to build a solid base of followers organically. They will consider you a valuable resource in the industry and trust the quality of your content.
Include a blog page on your mobile-responsive website. Then pack it with optimized, keyword-rich, and high-quality content.
4. Integrate Chatbots
Customer service a key component of every business. Great customer service means having the needs, concerns, or issues of your followers and patrons addressed right away.
Chatbots are becoming the norm in how customers interact with websites. In one study, 15% of respondents reported that they have interacted with chatbots over the course of a year.
Chatbots are a convenient way of managing customer service. First, they give precise answers. Second, they are not affected by emotional outbursts or stressful situations. Third, chatbots do not get sick and can run 24/7.
However, if a chatbot gets stumped, make sure it can be programmed to transfer the inquiry to a human customer service agent.
5. Email Marketing
Email marketing may not be as hip or cool as social media but it may well be a more effective online marketing process than Facebook or Twitter.
Take a look at the statistics comparing email to Facebook and Twitter:
- Number of users – Email: 2.6 Billion, Facebook: 2 Billion. Twitter: 313 Million
- Percentage of users who check these processes first thing in the morning – Email: 58%, Facebook: 11%, Twitter: 3%
- Percentage of people who use these processes at least twice daily – Email: 91%, Facebook: 57%, Twitter: 14%
- Users who made a purchase because of these processes – Email: 66%, Facebook: 20%, Twitter: 6%
- Customer Acquisition- Email: 7%, Facebook: <1%, Twitter: 0%
Lastly, email has a higher ROI at 21% versus Facebook and Twitter combined at 15%.
6. Search Engine Directories
In the old days, when someone wanted to search up a business, he/she would use the Yellow Pages telephone directory. Today, that person would use search engine directories.
And yes, the Yellow Pages can be found online. This time, YP has other search engine directories as competition. These search engine directories include Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yahoo! Local Listing.
Having your business listed in an online directory is an effective way to get found. This is especially true for retail-type businesses.
According to Google, 80% of Americans use search engine directories to track down a business. 50% of the search has resulted in a visit to the store and 18% of those visits resulted in a sale.
You can read more about search engine directories in our article, “Why Should Retail Locations Be Listed in Search Engines”.
7. Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is a good strategy to use for building your brand, establishing yourself as an authority, creating natural inbound links and driving traffic to your website.
There are blog sites that allow guest writers to share content on their website. However, it is a good idea to check on the authenticity and reputation of the blog site before making your inquiry.
In the same manner that there are good guest blog networks, there are also bad guest blog networks. You will know who they are because their ground rules sound spurious.
For example, these bad guest blog networks will not allow you to edit content or remove spammy links. Also, a visit to their site will yield a “treasure trove” of poor quality content.
Social media is a great way to build your business online. However, it is not the only way. Also, it may not be the best way to grow your business. As you have read, there are other tools that you can use to give your business the online presence it needs.
The bottom line is, a digital marketing strategy should not be dependent on only one tool. It should utilize a good number of processes that can provide your business with different avenues to achieve its goals.
From there, you can use Analytics to determine which processes are generating good ROI and which ones aren’t. Analytics is an effective tool for fine-tuning your digital marketing campaign.
If Analytics show that your social media marketing strategy is not delivering the results, find out why. Identify the weaknesses and try to institute improvements.
If upon further analysis, the results are not to your satisfaction, do not hesitate to repurpose the resources to other processes that yield better ROI.
Hopefully, we were able to give you some level of objectivity toward social media. Yes, it is powerful and influential. However, it may not be for everyone.
The good thing is there are other tools at your disposal which can be more effective than social media.
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