Read any guide on the best way to market your business and you’re bound to find social media high up the list — and sometimes, the only thing on the list.
But what if the thought of all this posting, sharing, liking, boosting, engaging, following and whatnot else leaves you cold? Should you suppress these feelings and slog over social media anyway?
It may be music to the ears of social media dodgers that, according to Gina Hollands, Commercial Director from creative marketing agency PMW that’s the worst thing you can do. “For marketing to be effective, it needs to be authentic,” says Gina. “If your heart isn’t in one type of marketing and you do it regardless, your audience will see right through it and the outcome won’t be desirable — it could even be detrimental for your business.”
So, in this age of social media seeming to be the only way to win the hearts and minds of consumers everywhere, what’s the alternative if it’s just not your bag? Here, Gina gives her top five tips.
1. Focus on your strengths
Identify where your strengths lie and focus on these. So, if you’re a great networker, spend your marketing time networking; if you enjoy liaising with the media, then make PR your go-to marketing strategy; if you’re more of a personal relationships type, then make a few appointments to have coffee with people you already know in the industry and see where these conversations take you. When you concentrate on what you do well, your results will be better and you’ll enjoy the process a lot more.
2. Try it, you might like it
If you just think you might not like social media, but haven’t ever really given it a go, then try it out — you might be surprised how you take to it. There is a lot of prejudice around social media that it’s just a bunch of teenagers dancing around or people sharing pictures of their dinner, but in fact, many a contact can be made and a deal done when you get it right. Consider taking a beginner’s course or asking a friend who knows their way around the platforms to teach you the basics, and go from there. If you still don’t like it after a few months, then at least you’ve tried. But if you don’t try, you’ll never know!
3. Invest in the experts
Love it or loathe it, it is no secret that social media has propelled many a brand from zero to hero. That’s not to say of course that it’s the only way to market a business, but it is definitely a cost effective and accessible way. It may be that you have absolutely no motivation to go there, however, and if that is the case it’s worth paying someone else to take the pain away. Depending on how far you want to go with your social media, you could enlist the help of a local freelancer to create your pages and make a few posts or, if you want to really get serious with your social and use it as a platform for advertising your brand and providing insight and analysis, then hiring a social media specialist could be the answer.
4. It’s not the only way!
It may be hard to believe, but you can still market your business without the need to turn to social media immediately. Certainly, once finances allow, it is wise to invest in hiring a third party to undertake your social media if you don’t want to do it yourself, but in the meantime, consider other routes to market, such as trade fairs, traditional advertising, press releases, events and other marketing methods which suit you and your brand.
5. Pick one thing and do it well
We always say at PMW to do something well or don’t do it at all. Diluting your marketing budget by spreading it too thinly across an array of marketing platforms won’t get you anywhere, other than destination disappointment. It’s better to choose one marketing method which appeals to you, which you can afford and which suits your brand and do it well. Once you’ve perfected that, consider investing the return from this activity into your second chosen platform, and repeating the process.
The key things to remember when marketing your brand are to remain within the realms of affordability and — if you’re doing your own marketing — likeability. When you’re authentic to yourself, your passion will shine through and marketing success should follow.