Why relying solely on social media marketing for your business is a bad idea and what to do instead

Social media is a valuable tool to promote your business. However, using only this channel for your marketing is risky

When Facebook launched to the public in 2006, businesses saw huge potential in using it as an easy, cost-effective way of online promotion. Organic reach (the number of people who have seen a post through unpaid distribution) was high. 

In 2014, this changed. Facebook declared it would be placing limitations on promotional posts from brands. A further algorithm change in 2018 prioritised posts from personal accounts over business accounts.

Organic reach for Facebook business pages declined to between 2–6% in 2022. The same goes for Instagram. According to Social Status, the average organic reach for business and creator accounts on Instagram is currently about 13%. Unless you are willing to pay for advertising on these platforms, you will no longer get the reach you once had.

This decline in organic reach has encouraged marketeers to turn to paid-for advertising. So much so that demand now outstrips supply. The result: a massive cost hike.

Remember, you don’t own the followers you have amassed on these platforms, or even the content you created. Platforms can remove your content (including your paid-for ad campaigns), or deactivate your account without notice. Many Instagram users reported having their accounts suspended, and even Instagram wasn’t sure why.

And what’s to say these platforms will always be around? Remember MySpace, Google+ or Vine? If the one platform you’ve dedicated all your energy to closed down one day, could your business survive without it? If the answer is no, you should consider looking at other ways to market your business.

What should you do instead?

Take steps to be less reliant on social media. Integrate your social channels with a range of marketing activities. Build a system that gives you direct access to your customers. A system where you control what content can be seen. Protect yourself from the algorithmic whim of the social media giants.

Here are three steps to building a balanced, risk-free marketing strategy:

Your website should be the heart of your online marketing efforts. This is where your most valuable content should be housed, as you then retain full ownership. You can control what your customers see and how it is delivered to them. When they visit your site, you can showcase who you are and what you sell, to better convert them into customers.

With this strategy, it’s really important to provide a well-designed website with responsive design, a good user experience, and clear navigation.

With your own website performing to a high standard, it’s time to look at the top three digital marketing strategies that consistently provide the highest returns on investment.

1. Create Original Content

High-quality content allows you to showcase your expertise and authority in your industry in order to build credibility. Blog posts are a great way to make sure your site is frequently updated and they help to generate a steady stream of traffic.

Social media then becomes the vehicle that drives customers to your website. Promote each blog post on your social channels. Write a strong, attention-grabbing headline and standfirst (a brief summary of the article) to encourage users to click.

According to statistics, businesses that have a blog get 55% more visitors to their website through increased organic search traffic and blog promotion. Websites with a blog are also shown to have 434% more indexed pages, 97% more links to their websites and experience twice as much email traffic as businesses that don’t. (Source)

2. Focus on Organic SEO

Search Engine Optimisation will help your website to rank higher in search engine results and therefore be seen by more people. Work out what people are typing into search engines, then optimise your site for those keywords.

Focus on medium-tail keywords (those containing two to three words) and optimise your title and description to encourage people to click through from the search engine results page to your site. Also, optimise your website to encourage people to spend longer exploring your various pages. All this sends positive signals to the search engine that your website is worth ranking higher.

3. Build Your Email List

Having direct access to a list of subscribers who have actively opted in to hear from you is both powerful and cost-effective, and can help to build stronger connections. You can also guarantee that those subscribers will receive your email communication, which cannot be said for a social media post.

According to Campaign Monitor’s 2022 Email Marketing Benchmarks Report, the average email open rate was 21.5% across all industries in 2021. This is far higher than Facebook’s 6% reach and Instagram’s 13%.

The return on investment for email marketing is also incredibly good at 3,600%. Another key point is that by building your email subscriber list, you own it!

So, rather than relying solely on social media to market your business, consider integrating it into your wider marketing strategy.

Use social media as a lead generator to funnel potential customers to your website with the aim of converting them, or at least signing them up to your email list, where you can nurture the relationship until they are ready to buy from you.

If you’re looking to redesign your website as part of your wider digital marketing strategy, perhaps we can help. We Make Media is a Devon-based web design company. We’ve been helping small businesses grow in the West Country since 2010. If you’re interested in a website design, or need help with writing your content, we would be happy to discuss what you’re looking for and how we can help. Book your free discovery call.

For more information about our web design services: wemakemedia.co.uk/web-design/

For more information about our content writing services: wemakemedia.co.uk/content-marketing/

Jeff Cooper. 17 January 2023

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