Social media platforms are a great place to build relationships, share tidbits of information, and find entertainment. But…if you are currently growing your online business solely on social media, you might find yourself rebuilding your business from the ground up – and at the most inopportune time if you aren’t careful.
I’m sharing my experience and the experiences of other business owners on today’s episode as we chat about this very topic. So…buckle up because it’s going to get real and let’s get started.
Links for This Episode
- Schedule your Mama Business Strategy Session
- Enroll in the Mama Business Blueprint
- Join the Mama Business Community
Podcast Episode Recommendations
- #29: Email Marketing 101: How to Use Email Marketing to Grow Your Online Business
- #22: How to Create a Sales Funnel That Actually Works
- #12: Does Your Small Business Need a Website?
How Social Media Can Destroy Your Business
Well hey there and welcome! Honestly, I’m so glad you are taking a few minutes today to join me as we chat about this topic that’s so incredibly important for busy moms to consider.
Because the truth is that you are busy. And there’s nothing worse than spending time on something only to have it disappear before your eyes and then have to recreate the entire thing over again – all with time you maybe didn’t have to start with.
The reason I’m talking about this right now is because I recently had my Instagram account suspended. For no reason that I’m aware of. I share business tips and an occasional picture or video of something that’s happening in my daily life and it’s all super clean and super simple. Nothing that I can think of as questionable.
And yet…it got suspended.
Then, one of my friends on Facebook had her account suspended.
Maybe you’ve had your suspended or hacked as well.
Here’s the difference in how the situations played out, though.
In my case, the suspension was a minor inconvenience. You see, I don’t run my business on social media. It’s not where I go to get client leads or sell my services or anything like that. So when my account got suspended, I pressed the appeal button to get it reinstated and went on with my day.
My friend, though, is a completely different story. You see, she DOES run her business on social media. The products she creates, the clients that she engages with, everything about her business hinges on that social media platform. So, when her account went down – so did her business. She lost nearly three weeks of revenue and potential future clients.
So, today my question for you is: what would you do if your social media platform of choice kicked you out. Or went down. Or just disappeared entirely?
Would you have a way to connect with potential clients? To sell your products and services? To engage with the followers you’ve worked so hard to acquire?
If you aren’t sure, stick with me. I’m going to talk about the three things you need to have in place – outside of social media – in order to run a successful business long-term. AND then, I’m going to talk about a few ways that you CAN use social media to grow your business, without the risk.
Strategy #1: Website or Home Base
The first thing you need to have in place is a website or home base.
There are a lot of reasons that having a website is a great long-term business growth strategy. One of the biggest reasons is because you OWN the platform. It’s yours. A website belongs to you. The domain (like sarahbrumley.com) is yours. That means that you can share whatever you want on it without worrying that someone will show your content to fewer people or that it’ll suddenly disappear.
It’s the difference between renting and owning a home. When you rent a home, your lease can be terminated and you can lose your place of residence at any given moment. Of course, that might seem a little extreme because tenants normally do have some safeguards in place, but that’s not the case when you rent space on a social media platform. It’s their platform – not yours – and if they think you don’t belong there, then they can oust you at any moment.
When you own a home, though – it’s yours. Sure, you are responsibly for maintenance and such, but at the end of the day, you know you have a place that’s yours. A place you can invite family, friends, coworkers, and anyone else in to. A place you belong and so do they. And a place they always know they can find you.
So, the first thing you absolutely need in place is a home base. Ideally, a website. Which brings us to the second thing to consider which is a lead collection platform.
Strategy #2: Lead Collection Platform
The second thing you need to have in place is a lead collection platform (i.e. email marketing platform)
NO. Having people in a Facebook group does NOT count as lead collection, even though it can be a great way to connect with people that may want your products or services. But keep in mind that those people can lose their accounts – just like you, so it’s in the best interest of all parties to have a lead collection platform off of social media.
It’s simple, really. This is where the email list comes in. Even if you are running a social media group, you can ask people to give their email addresses in exchange for access. Offer a freebie, additional resources, or even a coupon code and you’ll quickly have a list of people that you can contact directly – EVEN if your social media account goes away.
This doesn’t guarantee that everyone you come in contact with on a social media platform will sign up for your list, but puts you in a great place to continue to serve and sell should something happen to your social media account – or theirs.
If you aren’t sure how to get started with an email list, you’ll want to check out episode ___ all about that topic.
Okay, so the first thing you need is a home base, preferably a website, and the second thing you need is a lead collection or email marketing platform. That brings us to the third thing which is a way for clients or customers to book your services or get your products.
Strategy #3: Sales Platform
The third thing you need to have in place is a way for clients or customers to book your services or get your products.
The worst thing you can do as an online business owner is to leave people guessing as to where they can get your product or service. Make it really simple.
Depending on what type of business you have, the way you go about doing this might change, but ideally if you have a website, you’ll use that by adding products, payment links, or scheduling buttons to that site.
No matter what you offer – make sure that your potential clients and customers have a CLEAR way to get it from you – even if they can no longer find you on social media.
Okay, so the first thing you need is a home base, preferably a website, the second thing you need is a lead collection or email marketing platform, and the third thing is a way for clients or customers to book your services or buy your products.
These are the things that you need that are YOURS. You own a website, an email list, and that product or service sales platform. That means that if your social media platform of choice goes down or your account gets suspended – you can simply click that appeal button and go about your day.
Why? Because you know that your business is set up for success even if the perk of social media goes away.
And social media CAN be a perk for those that want and are willing to use it.
So, let’s shift our focus for a minute and talk about the ways you can use social media to grow a business WITHOUT the risk.
How to Use Social Media Without Killing Your Business
First and foremost, social media is meant to be exactly what it says it is – social. And because I like a good dictionary, I thought I’d take a moment to look it up on dictionary.com to see what they had to say about it and here’s what I found.
The word “social” means:
- related to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations:
- seeking or enjoying the companionship of others
- living or disposed to live in companionship with others or in a community, rather than in isolation.
The problem really is that, as business owners, we tend to use social media for something it’s not. It’s meant to engage people in conversation, to bring people into relationship with one another, and to eliminate the feeling of isolation.
So, when you go to social media, keep that in mind.
Some of the best ways that I see business owners use social media to boost their business growth include the following:
One of the ways social media can be especially effective for business owners is when they use it to increase awareness. There are a lot of ways that you can do this, but this includes any way that you help those around you understand that they need your product or service. This starts with the people you already have following you, but can extend out into groups you participate in and beyond.
You can also repurpose content into reels and other media that’s distributed to people outside of your immediate network of family and friends.
Another way business owners can use social media platforms effectively is for market research. Have a new idea you aren’t sure about? Not sure what questions your ideal client is asking. This is a great place to find out what REAL people are asking for and have the opportunity to understand more about their pain points. Of course, you want to come from a perspective of service, because no one wants that sleazy car salesman annoying them, right?
Even if you choose a “fly on the wall” method, you can learn a lot about your ideal clients’ wants and needs.
The final social media use for online businesses that I want to mention today – is building relationships. This could come in the form of a free community group you create on Facebook or it could be relationships you build with other business owners that help you get more referrals and such. I’ll chat more about this in a future episode but, personally, some of my friendships with other business owners have been the best source of referrals for my own business. So, definitely something to consider.
Either way, social media is MEANT for building relationships. So, it makes good sense that you’d use it for that.
Take Action: Use Social Media to Grow Your Business
Alrighty, so quick recap in the form of DOs and DON’Ts regarding social media:
DON’T use it as an alternative to having a website
DO use social media to create and increase awareness of your brand and your offer
DON’T use it as a lead collection platform
DO use it for market research
DON’T use it as your primary sales platform
DO use it to build relationships
And that brings us to the action part of this episode. I’m a huge proponent of taking action, because action is where the dreams turn into the reality. My hope is that you’ll take action on all of the things we’ve discussed today, but if you only have time to focus on one, it’s this:
ACTION: Create and maintain a home base that isn’t on social media. As you’ve heard, I’m not saying to eliminate social media if that’s something you enjoy and see as a benefit to your business. What I am saying is don’t end up like my friend – scrambling to put her business back together because she didn’t think about building on property she actually owned. So, don’t wait – make that your priority ASAP. You won’t regret it.
I know from personal experience that I am more likely to accomplish what I set out to do if I am accountable to someone. So DM me on Instagram – yes, that’s where I like to build relationships! – and share your website home base with me. I’d love to be able to check out what you’re up to so that I can continue cheer you on throughout the process. Because, mama, I am cheering you on.