Social media has been at the forefront of all business owners thoughts for the past decade.
From the outside, it appears to be the best place to be if you have something to sell, and you’re looking for people to sell to.
But here’s what nobody is saying: social media is not right for all businesses, especially solopreneurs and small businesses.
So don’t sweat it if you haven’t been making Facebook or Instagram a priority. And if you have, let’s go through a few of the reasons why it may not be the best way to connect with your target customer, and market your business.
Remember – the sole purpose of marketing is to find your target customer, connect with them, and eventually get them to buy from you. The great news is, there are plenty of ways to do this, and social media is just one of them.
Here’s why you might want to re-think using social media for your small business.
Your time and money are finite resources
Everyone claims that social media is free advertising, but the reality is it’s not free at all. It doesn’t have to cost you money – although building a page through organic reach alone is becoming increasingly difficult now across all platforms – but instead it will cost you precious time.
And as we all know, time is a finite resource – you can’t ever buy more of it. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
The question is, could that time be put to better use in your business?
And if you’re choosing to hire someone to take care of social media for you, is that the best use of money right now?
You don’t need to force yourself to post on social media, because you believe you have to.
Stop. Review all your options. Where could your efforts be re-focused, to create the best return?
Maybe it’s a blog, a podcast, or a newsletter.
Once you’ve spent some time seeing what produces the best results, double down on it.
Your audience may not be there
It might be true that over 2 billion people have Facebook accounts, but how many of them are active users? And even 100% of them are regularly active on the platform, that still leaves over 5 billion people who aren’t on there at all.
Before you invest your time or money in building your presence on social media, it’s important to take the time to figure out where your target audience hangs out. The worldwide web is a giant space.
Even if your customer does use social media, you must get clear about which platform they use most, and then decide on whether it’s a suitable place to connect with them.
Which brings us on to our next point…
Not all industries are meant for social media
If you sell budget carpets, Instagram probably isn’t the best place for your business, because it’s all about beautiful, aspirational images.
If you offer tutoring services for teenagers, you might think Snap would be a great place to head to because of its young user base, but what you really want is to be targeting parents.
Social media can be the perfect place to reach your customers, if it’s a suitable match. But just because it exists, it doesn’t mean you have to use it.
I know some people running million-dollar businesses who have zero presence on social media. Others choose not to have a website, and are still thriving. It all depends on what methods work best for your particular business and offering.
Remember – you don’t need to be everywhere at once.
It’s a lot to manage
Trying to manage multiple social media accounts is not only time consuming, but also difficult to organise and manage for long periods of time.
And if you don’t commit to posting consistently, you risk your business looking less than professional. Some people might even think you’re not still in business!
So if you have decided social media is for you, it’s best as a small business to pick one platform and focus your efforts there. This will be a lot easier to manage. Once you’ve mastered one platform, you can move on to the next.
Create a posting schedule and stick to it. There are plenty of scheduling tools that can help you with automation of posts.
If you don’t have the time or resources to post consistently, then you’re better off not doing it at all.
You must have a clear strategy mapped out
To get social media right, you must approach it with a clear strategy from the get-go.
What is your core message?
What value are you providing, and who are you providing that value to?
Once you’ve got the answers to those questions, you can create a strong strategy.
Many businesses skip this step, and end up posting all sorts of content that is completely irrelevant to them and their product.
Some people just won’t “get” social media, and that’s okay. We all have our unique skills and talents. Just be sure not to put someone who doesn’t get it in charge of it.
If that’s you, and you’re a solopreneur right now, I’d suggest focusing your skills where they’re best suited.
No ROI = no point
A cost is something you spend time or money on once, then it’s gone.
An investment is where you spend time or money, and something comes back to you in return.
For social media to make sense for your business, your time or money needs to be an investment. That means you need to be seeing tangible results from the work you’re putting in.
If you don’t have a return on investment, and you can’t see where you’d get one, then you shouldn’t use social media, period.
Don’t use social media because you think you have to
Despite what other people might be telling you, you don’t have to.
Social media can be a great way to intimately connect with your target audience, establish yourself as an expert in your industry, and build trust. But it’s definitely not the right marketing tool for all businesses – especially when you’re just finding your feet.
And who knows if social media will end up just being a hot trend, and no more than a drop in the marketing ocean in the long run?
Remember, if social media doesn’t feel like a good fit for your business, there are plenty of other ways to reach your target customers, and sell your products or services.