Real Alternatives to Social Media
Why are so many freelancers and business owners seriously looking for alternatives to social media marketing? Is it a mere coincidence that this topic has come up regularly in my conversations and interactions recently? Or is there something else going on at grass roots level in the business world?
What are the arguments?
While there are of course individual reasons why so many are talking about quitting social media, there is a distinctive red thread running all the arguments. And that red thread comes down to this. Apart from the fact that it’s rather negligent to put all your eggs in someone else’s digital basket, investing time and effort on social media marketing today, especially for freelancers and small businesses, obeys the law of steep diminishing returns.
For the ‘average’ professional, freelancer or small business owner It no longer makes business sense to invest time, energy and money heavily in a social media presence. And the reason it doesn’t make sense is twofold. Firstly, the sudden outages in recent years have shown us just how unreliable the various social media platforms are.
Secondly and crucially, the algorithms have turned social media into a terrain of constantly shifting sand with no hope of solid ground in sight. One long-term freelance friend explained why he has already begun his exit manoeuvres: “It’s become a game and just when you’ve learned the rules, the rules change. I’m done playing that game.”
Is there a Real Alternative to Social Media Marketing for Freelancers and Small Businesses?
If the halcyon days of social media marketing are well and truly over for the ‘average’ freelancer and small business owner, what’s the next step? Where do we find more effective and dependable ways to market our business that don’t devour our energies for an ever-diminishing Return on Effort?
The internet is bursting with tips and advice – just google ‘alternatives to social media marketing’ for the latest cheat sheets to get some ideas. A word of caution here. There are many lists and some of the lists are long. You could easily end up going down a very long rabbit hole only to end with no suitable and workable alternative at the end.
There are NO silver bullet solutions to quitting social media for your business.
Simple and Effective Alternatives to Social Media Marketing
Whatever the strategies and tactics you decide to use, they have to be aligned with the needs of you and your business. More importantly, they have to connect you with those who need your services in a simple, effective and straightforward way. I’ve written about alternatives to social media marketing for introverts here.
Even if you don’t consider yourself an introvert, most of my suggestions are relevant to solopreneurs, freelancers and small-scale businesses who are looking for a reliable, customised and cost-effective alternative to social media marketing. Here are my top three suggestions. As they generally fall into the category of ‘slow marketing’ or ‘ethical marketing’, they will not create immediate alternatives, so patience and testing are required. However, the long-term ROI is excellent.
1. Optimise and update the SEO on your website and blogs
It’s important to remember that an updated, developed and optimised SEO is a long-term strategy. However, once you’ve got it working for you, it’s very effective and far less time-consuming than social media marketing.
2. Word-of-Mouth Marketing (aka Referrals)
This is so effective if you invest in it. Investing in word-of-mouth marketing means that you constantly give your clients such great value, they are happy and willing to refer you to those who need your service. However, you also have to initiate a simple referral system with your ex-clients.
3. Networking, both on- and off-line
Again, this is one of my top strategies that gives a huge ROI once you use if effectively. For tips on how to network effectively, check here. You can also build an affiliate network with those who work in your general area of specialisation. this works because people talk about you and your work to those who need to hear it. This is also know as building relationships.
One last piece of advice about quitting social media
Don’t just quit overnight. Think ‘quiet quitting’ instead. Develop strategies that are easy to integrate into your day-to-day business, then test and tweak as you go. For example, if you don’t enjoy writing blogs, then explore other ways of reaching your audience – maybe video or podcasting are better alternatives.
Whatever you choose, ensure it’s simple to implement, it connects you with the right audience and it can be easily customised for your particular business needs. Ideally, pick just one or two alternative to begin. You can add more if necessary once you’ve got the current ones working effectively. Remember the Golden Rule – quality over quantity. It’s not about how many strategies you use, it’s how well you use them.
In the world of marketing, less is usually more!