Before you ask, we’d like to clarify that we aren’t saying you shouldn’t use social media to grow new business, or that you can’t. However, if you’re a small- to medium-sized business, especially one that’s B2B rather than B2C, it’s not surprising if your social media accounts aren’t massive revenue generators. That’s okay! While social media definitely has a purpose in your digital marketing, you shouldn’t stress if yours isn’t the primary source for inbound leads. Let’s talk about a marketing strategy to test yours, and how to grow your business without social media if needed.
Know Your Audience
Before deciding on what types of social media to use, you need to understand your ideal customer. That’s where buyer personas come into play. These are descriptions of your target audience based on demographics, geography, and psychographic characteristics. We’ve also talked before about how you can identify yours:
- Review your current clients to understand why they bought from you, how much they’re invested in your services, and whether they’d refer you to another business.
- Review what your ideal customers have in common — location, business size, services, etc.
- Identify decision-makers based on that data, and contact them directly to discuss their needs.
Know Where To Find Your Audience
Now that you know who to contact, you need to think about which social platforms you should use to get their attention. Keep in mind that just because you can use a social app doesn’t mean that you necessarily should, based on your business and that of your leads. For instance, if you’re a steel manufacturer, chances are that the people you want to do business with aren’t looking for your services on Pinterest. (No offense to steel manufacturers who may have tried this.)
The social media platforms that you choose should reflect where most of your potential customers are. If you tend to work with the federal government, healthcare systems, law offices and the like, your best leads are likely on LinkedIn. If you cater to customers for special events like parties and fundraisers, Facebook is probably more your style. And if the services you offer depend on sharing portfolios of your past work, make sure to post on Instagram.
Please note that these are very generic examples, and your leads may require a bit more evaluation to know where to find them. Plus, it wouldn’t be surprising if they’re on multiple social media platforms, so it helps to identify which ones are more likely to get you views above the others.
Learn If Social Media Is Right
Once you know who you want to contact, and where they’re likely to be, then it’s time to start testing different social posts to see how well they perform. While hashtags, backlinking, and creating content can help establish brand awareness, it’s also a good idea to invite your current customers to engage with your company online to build relationships in your industry. Some might even create user-generated content that they allow you to reshare.
You’ll also need to decide how frequently you want to post, and whether you have someone (or multiple people) who can monitor your social marketing channels for electronic statistics and responses. You may also decide to utilize automation tools to schedule your posts, as many — for example, HubSpot and SharpSpring — offer social media integration. Depending on how much effort you devote to your social channels will also give you an idea of how many weeks or months you want to test before circling back to evaluate — and ultimately answer the question of whether your social media has any influence on your lead generation.
If you discover at that time that all you get are a handful of impressions and a lot of crickets, it could be for a few reasons:
- You’re not established well enough yet for people to notice you.
- You’re not posting consistently enough to generate interest.
- You’re trying to rank organically, which can be limiting on social media compared to spending money to boost those posts.
- You haven’t found messaging that resonates with your audience.
Then it becomes a discussion of whether (relative to the other forms of digital marketing that you use) you’re interested in: hiring more people to manage your social accounts; devoting more time to drafting content; allocating spend for boosted posts and ads; and performing more in-depth testing to see which messages you should be using instead.
So You’ve Decided To Grow Your Business Without Social Media
Like we said earlier, social media isn’t something we discourage using. We just know that it may not be your biggest priority or your best tool for lead generation. Before you decide to throw in the towel, though, we have a few additional thoughts to keep in mind.
If you learn that the costs involved might not be worth your time to manage in-house, a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer may be able to coordinate solutions you need through effective social media specialists.
At the very least, we recommend periodically posting on your social media accounts to promote your business and show people that you’re still active. That way, if leads hear about you through email marketing or word of mouth, and they search for you, they’ll see that you’re a legitimate business.
Finally, you may benefit from these small business tips from Hootsuite for tailoring your social outreach and deciding which platforms to use.
Ways To Grow Your Business Without Social Media
There are plenty of ways to grow your business without social media. They include:
Email Prospecting. This is about developing lists of cold leads who have never heard from you before. Using sophisticated automation, email addresses are verified and contacted with brief, conversational messaging to find the best people for new business opportunities.
Email Marketing. Once leads are marketing qualified, you can start to email them more in-depth content that keeps you on their radar for when they want to buy.
PPC Advertising. Pay-per-click advertising is all about spending money to get your company’s information promoted in ad space above search results (as well as social media).
Content Development. Blog posts, landing pages, and lead magnets are all powerful tools to help your website rank in search engine results, whether or not you’re appearing in ads. This is about ranking organically, which takes longer than PPC to establish but doesn’t cost as much. It also maintains a high ranking for the long term if its content is relevant.
Do You Need Digital Marketing Assistance?
If you’d like help with marketing efforts for social media, email, content, or online advertising, we want to hear from you! Click the link below to schedule a free consultation with one of our Fractional CMOs.