Facebook might just be the biggest double-edged sword in digital marketing. It’s very much become the go-to for reaching new customers online and as great as it may once have been, that’s now a poor attitude to have.
Not always, but far too often Facebook leads to lazy marketing and lost potential, and now more than ever when the social network juggernaut is tightening the financial screws on businesses who advertise there, it’s time to look elsewhere.
Fortunately, this end of the Facebook free-ride for businesses forces us to think differently about how we connect and whilst the solutions might take a little more work, they’re certainly more effective. With this in mind, here’s three things you can do to promote your brand without Facebook.
Increase brand advocacy
Small businesses with tight budgets have always thrived on word-of-mouth marketing, but now it’s time for us all to embrace the idea. It’s fairly well established that it’s cheaper to keep an existing customer than generate a new one, and now studies are showing that’s it actually has a much higher pay-off too.
Spend time cultivating the people who already love you and forget about Facebook to do it; it’s impersonal, no-one revisits your page once they’ve liked you and your customers can talk about you to their Facebook friends whether you have a large presence there or not. Encourage brand reviews on third-party websites, make your email marketing more personal and if you really want to use Facebook then build a ‘share’ button directly into your web pages.
Engage your customers more
When people first visit your website, what do they see? If it doesn’t already feel like a social place to be then you’re already losing potential customers. Add a photo gallery of customers with your products and provide an area for reviews and testimonials. The more active engagement with your audience, the better.
Remember that getting people to buy your products doesn’t just have to be about price; it doesn’t have to be about what you do at all. Get your customers talking about how your products have solved a problem for them, add ‘how to’ videos to your website and run polls, competitions and guest blogs regularly to maintain engagement.
The more valuable your website is the more people you’ll get visiting it, and the less you need to concern yourself with Facebook.
Use other social media
Distancing yourself from Facebook doesn’t have to mean removing yourself entirely from social networks.
Claim and polish your business profile on every social network you can find for maximum reach and tinker around with each of them. Foursquare, Pinterest and Google Plus are all great for different people and different businesses, so use them all and monitor which ones get you the best response. They may have less users than Facebook but this tends to mean your presence there is proportionally larger and can ultimately be more valuable.
Whatever you do, remember that you have alternatives. Facebook is never a necessity, and now is the right time to start considering how attached to it you need to be.
Rob writes for leading PPC agency Vision Media.