Do I Have to Use Social Media Marketing?
When two arts & performing arts friends ask about leaving social media within an hour of each other, it’s time to explore.
Friend #1 posted on Facebook that social media was the biggest downer in her life. However, she also felt like she needed it to stay relevant in her business, and asked how to run her business without being on Facebook or Instagram.
(And yes, she admitted she realized the irony of asking the question on social media.)
Moments later, I saw Friend #2 running a poll on Twitter asking if we ever think of deleting all of our social media and what prevents us from doing it.
(For the record, 63% said yes.)
Do you have to use social media marketing?
As a digital marketing coach and someone who has used social media to market myself and my own businesses for over 10 years, my default answer will be yes. After all, it's free and easy to use. It'd be a shame to not utilize it.
Furthermore, it's where many people go to research companies and people they're interested in. Not having any social presence can lead others to believe you're less legit. (Though a solid website can mitigate this.)
That said, the social media atmosphere and landscape is VERY different now from when I first began. It's understandable to want to avoid it. I know I have my moments of wanting to burn everything down, but I don't because at the end of the day, for me, the benefits outweigh the cons.
How can you determine if social media marketing is right for you? Ask yourself these questions:
How is the rest of your marketing plan treating you? If it's working well, then dropping social media might be fine.
What are your goals for your social media? Are you reaching them? If you're reaching your goals, it's worth it to stick around. If you're not, look into why not. Is it because you're not doing what you need to be doing, or is it because your target market isn't there? If your target market isn’t using social, then you don’t have to either.
Where are your current clients/audience members/sales coming from? If you haven't been asking them directly, take a dive into your website analytics to see where the most visitors are coming from.
(And if you’re not directly asking, start doing that! The information is tremendously beneficial to analyzing the performance of your marketing plan as you’ll see in these next Pro Tips!)
Pro Tip: Make sure to examine all the way across the line of data in your Google Analytics. (Note: if you don’t have Google Analytics in your website add it. It’s free and the information it provides is so valuable and helpful.)
Example: I get more hits to my website from Facebook than I do the other channels. However, hits from Facebook also have a higher high bounce rate (bounce rate = percentage of people who leave without visiting another page on your website) and low pages per session and time spent on the site.
I get notably fewer hits from Instagram and Twitter, but they view more pages and spend more time on my site. Signs that they’re more interested and likely to buy. This means I should spend more time with these channels.
Then when I look at sales: coaching clients come mainly from Facebook, t-shirt and other product sales are mostly from Twitter and Instagram, and workbook sales have been from a little bit of everywhere.
So looking at all the data, it wouldn’t necessarily be beneficial to me to drop any of these channels. Though, if I didn’t see those coaching sales from Facebook, it would be the one to drop.
Bonus Pro Tip: If you're getting a lot of hits to your website from social, but they aren't staying long or looking at multiple pages, that can mean any number of things.
It could be they're not your target market and you need to adjust that. It could mean you have a message mismatch and what brought them to your site wasn't accurately portrayed once they got there so they bolted. Maybe you have one rando viral thing and that's all they showed up for.
Point being, before you dump social because the people from social don't stick around, look into WHY they aren't sticking around. Then decide if it's worth it to keep social or not. (Or which social channels to keep.)
What does your potential target market think about social media? If they hate it or aren't there, there's no need for you to be either.
Where is your target market besides social media? If that's easy to access and will meet your marketing goals then go for it.
Pro Tip: you need to be looking at this anyway. Social media, while beneficial, is also too variable to rely upon as a sole means of marketing.
Do you enjoy using social media? If so, stick around. Although I have a feeling if you're reading this then you probably don't dig it as much. If not, do you not like it because you don't know what to do or because it's affecting your mental/emotional well-being? If it's because you're not sure what to do, learn! Google is there for you. I'm here for you. I also have a category of blog posts dedicated to social media marketing.
If it's affecting your well-being, that's a whole different story. Luckily, there are options to mitigate the stress while still using the tool.
How to make social media suck less:
Pre-schedule posts. Scheduling ahead of time makes sure that you're posting when you want to post without actually having to get on social media. It can really bring some peace of mind.
Limit your time. When you are checking in, set a timer so you don't find yourself scrolling on ad infinitum. Get in, get it done, and get out.
Turn off notifications. Yes, a benefit to using social media for marketing is the immediacy of it. However, that can also be a downfall. When you're continually getting notifications, it's easy to feel tethered to your phone and feel the anxiety rising, so turn those off. (Note: Make sure to check for comments and messages at least once or twice a day so you don’t miss anything.)
Remove the apps from your phone. I know a number of people who have done this to varying degrees of success. I personally have felt that turning off notifications helped enough that I didn't need to remove the apps from my phone, but if you need even more separation, this is a solid option.
Cut back on which channels you use. Only stay on the ones you like and/or achieve their goals. Remember earlier when I asked you to take a dive into the website analytics and see how each social media channel was performing? Use that same data to determine if you'll stay. If a channel isn't performing how you need it to, either adjust the strategy or dump it altogether. I know a number of business owners that are only on the one or two channels that work best for them - business-wise as well as emotionally and mentally.
Find and focus on the aspects you find enjoyable. Every social media channel has it's benefits. (Even if you can't always see them.) Find what they are for you, then focus on that. (Example: Twitter can be a total dumpster fire but I've also met a number of great people as well as have seen some of the FUNNIEST things. I don’t want to quit something that gives me Sondheim musicals as John Mulaney gifs and cats that look like composers.)
Don’t be afraid to unfollow, mute, and block with abandon. Are there people or pages that you have to be connected with for whatever reason, but they drag you down? Unfollow or mute. Additionally on Twitter, you can mute words or phrases which is a DREAM. Someone being an absolute jackhole? Serve up the block!
Pro Tip: a faaaaabulous Twitter tip I learned the other day. If you mute “RT @” (quotes not necessary) then it'll stop showing straight retweets in your feed. I did that and suddenly my feed wasn't full of strangers anymore! I also started seeing people I follow but hadn’t seen because they’d gotten lost in the noise. I like my feed SO MUCH MORE now!
Am I going to miss some information? Probably. But Twitter moves so fast and, quite frankly, there's so much information out there that you'll ALWAYS miss something so it’s not really as big of a problem as it seems.
Social media easily brings up mixed feelings in us all. Sometimes it's SO great and SO beneficial. Other times, it's draining, exhausting, infuriating, and makes us want to burn it all to the ground.
Was that a bit dramatic? Yes. But social media can get quite dramatic so I'm sticking with it.