Ignore Social Media – Focus on Email

Fuggedabout social media blasphemy? 

Forget about Social Media

Hardly! Social Media has changed and so must you.

This blog post is for all of you hard working guys and gals on Main Street like:

  • Retailers
  • Service professionals
  • Sales professionals

Why should You Ignore Social Media?

The carton below from SocMedSean says it all.

Social Media and Customers

If you’re a local area retailer, sales or service professional seeking flesh and blood customers, spending your precious time and resources to capture Facebook likes or Tweeter Re-tweets is not going to cut it.

Is it?

Has it?

This isn’t to say some business owners on Main Street aren’t doing really well on social media.  Some are. Some took advantage of the opportunity when social media first burst on the scene.

But most of you aren’t doing so well on social media. Most of you gave it a try but you didn’t stay at it and the window of opportunity has and continues to close.

Your Fan Page is dead or dying because you didn’t invest the time when the time was right.  While you were thinking “I’ll get to it someday”, someday passed and the Social Media world changed.

How has Social Media Changed?

If you haven’t noticed, most of the most popular social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. have become advertising channels.  As soon as they went onto Wall Street, they started changing their platforms so they could generate returns for their stockholders.

In the process, these social media platforms have eroded the audiences of traditional media – your local area newspapers, your local area radio channels, TV, etc.  Traditional advertising vehicles are less effective, yet more costly to the local area business owner.

All of media has changed and has done so dramatically.

This means the free ride is over. The days of creating a large social media community online for free are gone.  Today, it’s going to require an investment on your part – just like the advertising of old.  This is why you need to forget about social media as a place to hang your hat and shift your focus to your website and email marketing.

Here are five easy steps you can take right away to get back into the swing of online marketing and be far more effective than what you’re doing now.

1.  Shift your focus

Move away from capturing meaningless social media likes and re-tweets and focus on those tools that you control and that will deliver the customers you seek.

What are those tools?

  • Your Website
  • Opt-in Forms
  • Your Email Service Provider
  • Online Advertising for B2C and options for B2B

Before you start to groan, understand that your website and email marketing still work and they are getting better.  While you’ve been trying to keep up on the constant changes on Facebook and social media, websites and email evolved as well.

The point is that both of these tools work to capture prospects and transform them into customers when used consistently.

2.  Update Your Website

If your website is older than 3 years, it is time for an update.  Instead of frittering away your time on social media, give your aged and aging website a fresh look.  If you’re not already, use WordPress for your website.

  • You only have a few seconds to capture their attention so stop them in their tracks with powerful images that encourage them to find out more.

Email Marketing - Website powerful photos

  • Use a responsive website design.  If you’re not, you’re losing hot mobile viewers who might be right around the corner– a big, big source of potential customers for any local area business owners.

3.  Opt-in Forms

Use every tool you can to capture email addresses of your website visitors.

  • Consider using an email opt-in as your Home Page with an enter link should they decide not to opt-in.
  • Or add a pop-up to your website to capture email addresses of visitors.  You might want to check out PopupAlly or Smart Bar from AppSumo.  Both are free.
  • Add a great report on your industry or hard-to-get information as an incentive for people to sign-up to your subscriber list.  Consider adding several reports to test which one pulls in more subscribers. 
  • Use video to introduce yourself, your business and what you do to web visitors.  It is more engaging than text.

4.  Your Email Service Provider

Reintroduce yourself to your email service provider as many have been adding new features and tools to help you engage with your subscribers.

MailChimp, as an example, is offering powerful new tools that include:

  • New automation features can deliver exactly what your customers need at just the right time. Send personalized emails, recommend products based on purchase history, reward loyal customers, and more.
  • Follow-up on website activity by sending an email to those who navigate to a specific page from your campaign. Or convert interested subscribers into customers by sending relevant information based on what they viewed on your site.
  • Send customers special care instructions and product recommendations based on their previous purchases from your store. Reward your top spenders, and gather feedback on everyone’s shopping experience.
  • Use your tablet to collect signups in your store or at networking meetings and then Chimpadeedoo will collect and download when you go online.

Use and test these tools to see which help you create more customers for your business.

If you’re haven’t already, create a series of evergreen autoresponders for your email communications. This tool saves you time and keeps your name in front of your prospects and customers.  These communications can be weekly or monthly.

5.  Online Advertising for B2C and B2B options

If you’re a Main Street business owner you need to advertise.  Online advertising makes sense IF – only if you use it to capture new subscribers to your ongoing email marketing efforts so you can continue the conversation.

If you’re a B2C (business to consumer) business, then you should seriously consider Facebook as an advertising vehicle.  You can zero-in on:

  • new prospects in your local area,
  • your current fans,
  • friends of your fans,
  • fans of your local area competitors
  • with certain demographics and interests

It is less expensive than a quarter page ad in your local area newspaper and you can easily experiment with ads to discover which one works best.

Your goal with your advertising is to send them to an opt-in box either on your Facebook Fan page or to your website.

If your business is B2B (business to business), then you need to ignore Facebook, Twitter and all of the other social media and focus on LinkedIn.

At this stage, I don’t believe LinkedIn advertising has the impact of Facebook advertising.  I recommend focus on getting your Profile and/or Company page in tip-top condition.

Once you’ve addressed your profile and/or Company Page, begin targeting your primary customers using LinkedIn’s ‘Advanced’ Search tool.  You can target by company size, revenues, industry and geography.  Find connections with your target and begin engaged with these people directly and through groups.

Bottom Line:

If you’re not working social media, for whatever reason, it can’t deliver.  Better to give it up.

If you’re not doing some online marketing, you won’t be gaining new customers.

If this is where you are, then shift your thinking and use the tools you have – your website, email marketing – and use them to the maximum.

Consider using social media – specifically Facebook and LinkedIn – to either advertise or connect.

Your Turn

What are your thoughts?  Will you give up social media?

Did you ever get started on social media?  If so, is it working for you?

Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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