You’re building a business, not a social media platform.
I have been wanting to write this blog post ever since I did my webinar last year on this very topic and after the glitches in Instagram yesterday it felt like the right time to put fingers to keyboard. I saw so many accounts talk about the loss of followers overnight from their profiles, some a few hundred, some thousands – the panic had begun.
“What have I done?”
“What did I do wrong?”
The answer, nothing. As it turns out, rather than an Insta clear of all the bots and fake followers we were hoping it might be, there was a glitch in the system and Instagram was working hard to fix it. Now, this makes me think about a few things.
1. that still so many people are fixated on follower number as an attribute to business success and
2. if it was a clear out of fake followers and bots, why isn’t anyone more concerned about their accounts being filled with those in the first place?
3. How reliant businesses are on social media to grow their business.
I saw plenty of comments when it spread through the airwaves after reading or hearing that it might be a clear out “Well if that’s true that’s good because I don’t want fake followers anyway” – but did you think this when it boosted your numbers to X amount? We can all see who follows our accounts, we get the notifications. You can see what accounts are coming on board. When I had been in business 6 months I went through a cull of my followers and blocked every account that wasn’t aligned with who I wanted to attract – you know the spammers, the weird entrepreneurs who make things sound so seedy (Million Dollar Baller springs to mind), oh and cardboard box companies, they seem to love a follow bot or two. I took my business from 654 followers down to 346 and I felt good about it. Since then I have been conscious to keep an eye on my followers and who followers and make sure that the spams and bots stay away. My aim with this platform is to build genuine, authentic connections amongst fellow business owners and my ideal clients.
Follower number is not the metric you should be following
The problems with Instagram yesterday highlighted once again how business owners are focusing on follower number. The real metrics you should be looking are these:
- Website visits from Social Media
- Time people spend on your website
- Sales on your website
- And engagement
You should be looking at how much traffic social media is pushing to your site each week, each month, how many sales are coming through and the time people are actually spending on your website because the longer the better. Obviously, engagement is an important metric to look at for creating brand awareness you want to know you are creating engaging content for your audience to draw them into you, to help them get to know you and you them, but it’s not everything.
Quality over Quantity every.single.time
As I said before it doesn’t matter if you’ve got thousands or hundreds of followers if they are not your ideal customer and your target audience it doesn’t matter what the number is. You want to focus on attracting the right followers to your business and also following the right people as well. I’ve seen plenty of people follow totally obscure people back just to get the following. Follow & Unfollow action is not cool – don’t do it.
Putting so much reliance on one thing means that when this does have glitches when the platform does fail you it not only creates panic but you become a slave to it. I’ve had countless conversations with business owners who feel they are a slave to their Instagram account and how they feel if they don’t post on there every day their business will fail or the algorithm won’t like them anymore.
Your business does not fail if you are not on Social Media 24/7
Let’s clear that up right now.
What will suffer is your mental health with the stress you are putting on yourself and these platforms. I’ll share some insight with you.
I’ve worked very hard growing my audience since I launched my business. I knew that Instagram would be my main platform for reaching my ideal clients and when I started I put in the work…
Not always posting, but building an audience.
I was commenting, I was sourcing like-minded fellows, I searched for ideal clients, followed their accounts and commented on the posts that I found fun, interesting, valuable, sent messages and connected with them – even resulting in some virtual teas and cakes. I kept my feed steady and built my community. That’s why Christmas last year I decided to take 3 weeks off from my business, I wanted the break from it all and to enjoy some proper undistracted family time. The out of office was on and my social media accounts were off. In the end, I actually had 4 weeks away from Instagram and guess what happened when I came back? Nothing – it was all the same. The community that I had lovely built was still there, waiting. They hadn’t all unfollowed me, they hadn’t abandoned ship and suddenly I wasn’t attracting clients – nope they were all still there.
You can generate some proper Insta fatigue if you only focus on this platform. Yes as marketers we say about showing up and being consistent but focus on the consistency that works for you above all. Show up when it feels right for you.
Why Social isn’t everything
When I saw this tweet yesterday from Emma Jane Palin I had to retweet it straight away. In business, you cannot put such a high dependency on a social media platform. Marketing your business online includes so much more than that. Social Media is merely a piece of the puzzle and unfortunately, it’s being given way too much of your attention.
I’m not a Social Media hater, I’m a Digital Marketer. I know the other elements involved to grow your business online. I love Social Media, I love how it’s developed over the years, what its brought us, how it’s helped me in business and yes I am focusing solely on the positive aspects here, we all know the darker side, but in terms of marketing and reaching people it has been a wonder – but this isn’t all there is.
If you’re using a platform, like Instagram, as your only way to connect with your audience and grow your business then we have a lot to talk about.
The important marketing elements you’re neglecting
Did you know that consumers generally have to see something 7 times before they take it in before they make a decision. In the marketing world it’s called the Rule of 7 and because of the digital age we are in we have even more ways to reach our customers and clients than ever before. But if you’re only trying to reach them on one platform, a platform you don’t control, a platform where algorithm plays a part – then this is going to be harder.
What you shouldn’t be neglecting is having a highly functional website, that works well on devices, loads quickly, a website that speaks to your ideal customer at every single piece of content that you produce on it. You shouldn’t be neglecting your SEO and how people can find you in search engines. Did you know that an average of 63,000 search queries happen per second on Google? That’s 5.5 billion a day – A DAY! Who’s going to find you if you’re not looking after your SEO?
Let’s talk about email marketing and growing a list.
I’ve spoken to countless businesses recently who have an email list, mainly because they think they need one or know that other people in their industry do, yet don’t have a clue what their email strategy is. Or they have over 500 people on their list and not once emailed them. Five hundred people who have willingly given over their email address (precious data in this GDPR age) and are actually a hot lead – have not been contacted by the brand or business they want to hear from.
What about content generation outside of a social media post? What about an amazing guide or workbook or gift to give to your customers that could be used as an opt-in for your email marketing? What about blogging and sharing content with your audience, sharing your voice?
You are neglecting valuable elements of marketing your business and most importantly growing your business, I’m sorry but it’s fact.
I’m going to outline an example.
Say you have a blog and you write an amazing piece of content that you know your audience will love.
- You share a post about it on Instagram
TouchPoints to your audience: 1
- Do SEO for your blog post making sure you have a snappy engaging keyword Title tag to be shown in Google when someone searches for the content your writing about, you create an amazing Meta Description that completely draws them in and is picked up for the keywords you want to be found for.
- Highlight the blog as part of a recent posts collection on your website choosing specific pages that are popular and often checked (which you can find out in Google Analytics).
- Include the blog on your newsletter to your email list.
- Share the blog on your social media channels – let’s say Instagram and Facebook in this instance, as a post in the feed.
- Highlight the blog on your stories.
Touchpoints to your audience: 5
and that’s without the mention of video, or going live, Ad’s or even re-sharing the content.
So let’s recap
Knowing and understanding all the elements of marketing your business online is really important.
Neglecting those elements will cost you business #FACT.
Putting all your effort into only Social Media will cost you business and potentially affect your mental health too.
You need to open up your marketing and start reaching your audience using the other ways.
Stop neglecting your warm leads that are sitting right there in a list, waiting to hear from you.
By putting all the pieces of the digital marketing puzzle together and using them your business will get more exposure, more traffic and more sales.
Who doesn’t want that?