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Social Media Isn’t the Only Answer

Social Media Isn’t the ONLY Answer

It’s 2019. Now more than ever, businesses are trying to live up to the pressure of building a social media presence. It seems like every business is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the like trying their best to become relevant in their industry. So many businesses are defining themselves by how many followers they have on social media, it’s no wonder why our news feeds are clogged and oversaturated with an influx of ads every 3 seconds. Here’s the thing though– social media isn’t always the answer and utilizing a multi-channel approach is an effective strategy. If you are a small, local business, there are so many other outlets that can benefit your brand and give it the exposure it needs. It’s important to use your budget wisely so that in the end you’re seeing the ROI and your customers know where to go to fulfill their specific needs. Below are a few ways your business can thrive appropriately that don’t necessarily involve social media!

1. Utilize Video

If your brand is working with a smaller budget, there are many ways to incorporate video into your advertising and marketing strategy that don’t break the bank. In fact, even if you are not active on social media but do have a business page, it is still important to give the people what they want! Video continues to be the #1 way to get the public to retain information. Enable people to visualize themselves doing or using whatever products/services you offer by providing real footage of others happily doing the same thing. If you have a Facebook or Instagram account, go live! Not only is this free, but it is a relatable form of sharing content that invites people to join the action in the moment. Asking viewers questions encourages you to post more videos and encourages them to keep an eye out for more of them in the future.

2. Yelp

You’re on an extended work trip out of town and are really itching for a gym workout. Your hometown membership obviously can’t be used here and you have no idea what’s near the area of your hotel. You hop on Yelp, input your location zip code, and browse through the top-rated workout studios and gyms and you find one you absolutely end up loving! This is the best way to find local hidden gems and guess what? A LOT of the businesses on Yelp aren’t necessarily huge. Many are mom-and-pop shops without social media, that have hit a home run due to locals and tourists that love what they stand for and decided to leave them a positive review. Get enough of these, and your ranking goes up, making you more likely to gain business over another business in your area. It’s so beneficial to have a Yelp presence and very, very simple. Not to mention, you can later use these reviews on your website, which can increase your business conversion rates by up to 270%! Over half of prospective customers expect the brand they’re considering shopping with to have online reviews. Seeing that others have experienced your products or services only builds trust with potential clientele. If your business doesn’t have a Yelp account, pause here and go make one! Seriously!

3. Work Those Partnerships

If you’re a fairly new business or trying to grow with limited resources, it’s time to tap into your local connections. Gain exposure by making your business known to other businesses that could potentially complement your products or services in the area. For instance, if I know of a local drive-in theater near me, and I just opened an ice cream parlor, I may reach out to them to see if I can set up a pop-up cart where movie goers can sample my brand while attending their movie. I may even offer a coupon or discount to use in my store on their next purchase. They get to try my delicious ice cream, the movie theater gets to offer something new to their clientele, and I get potential new customers– it’s a win-win for everyone! If your business lags around certain seasons, think about what you can bring to the table if you partnered with another business during their high-season. Implementing a partnership strategy to gain more business is smart and can help you make up for lost ROI during these slower times, while also getting the word out about your brand.

4. Email Marketing

Laying out and executing a successful email marketing strategy doesn’t have to be hard. Effective email marketing can plant a seed in the minds of your consumers so that if they aren’t ready to shop, they will know who to go to when they are. Email marketing targets them more personally in their inboxes and not in a mysterious ad they see when scrolling through their Facebook feeds, which often times feels intrusive. Receiving emails from your business gives them a feeling of exclusivity when they get special offers from you. It also opens up the potential of forwarding this email to their friends or family. Shape your email strategy into one where consumers feel your brand easily fits into their lifestyle and make sure you use compelling and unique headlines to draw their curiosity.

5. Events & Community Involvement

The best way to get people to know your brand is to give them the opportunity to see what you’re about and experience it for themselves! If your business thrives on those in your local community, it would certainly be beneficial to get involved in events where they will be. Hosting events alongside other local businesses in the area will get your brand name out there. Take part in philanthropies, incorporate giveaways, offer samples of your product at local fairs, and interact with those in attendance. Perhaps you feel strongly about a certain cause and you want to dedicate a percentage of your sales on a certain day or from a product to be donated to that cause. People love brands that support what they believe in. It builds loyalty and makes you stand for more than just a product when your audience can connect with you beyond what social media can offer.

6. Print & Guerrilla Marketing

A study concluded that people were about 70% more likely to remember your ad if they see it in a print ad. Contrary to popular belief, print is not dead! It is still relevant and can be advantageous to your brand if used in the right way. 90% of consumers use coupons in some way and over half say they would visit a store again if they received a coupon or discount from them in the past. Coupons, discounts, news, and promotions are a few types of content that can be effective for your marketing strategy and useful for a potential client in the form of print ads. If a large portion of your target audience still regularly subscribes to a specific print magazine or local free newspaper, it’s in your benefit to include this platform in your media mix. Besides print, guerrilla marketing tactics are more and more common. You have to stand out in the mind of the consumer. In order to do that, you have to think outside the box and appeal to your target audience in unique and fun ways that will make them remember you! An experience is invaluable and highly likely to be more remembered when compared to an ad you see when swiping through Instagram.

7. Swag

People love free stuff! A study showed that over 75% of people who received free promotional products at a trade show felt favorably towards that brand. ROI is not all that is important when it comes to getting people to remember you. If your brand goes out of its way to create a more intimate experience for customers to remember them by, this is setting you up for positive brand emotions and brand loyalty in the future. Not to mention, if people wear or use your items and they serve a purpose in their day-to-day activities, others may notice the brand name too and recognize your business next time they’re shopping in your industry.

Creating positive brand associations is so important. It does not have to involve social media. Though making a social effort can be a good complement to your tactics, it is not the only answer to good marketing. Don’t utilize a cookie-cutter strategy with your target audience and understand who they are, the best ways to reach them, and when. Stand out on the best platforms for your business and boost that ROI without feeling compelled to post 10 times a day. Your brand can make a difference– it’s up to you to explore it’s potential!

Photographed: Ainsley, Owner of Cream Parlor

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