Let us not find ourselves barrelling down a rabbit hole of sounding entirely too old. Back in my day, perhaps, there was no such thing as social media. Back in my day, you could promote your business through moxie and word-of-mouth alone. In my time, the before time, no one looked at their phones. Everyone actually spoke to each other!
We get it. Times have changed faster than a blink. From handwritten letters to emails attached with a happy helping of videos and memes, we’ve progressed into a world where communication is no longer a choice, but the basis of everything we do. Therefore, business needs to be based around these forever-changing factors. To promote your business online, you need to be available on all social media platforms. To promote your business at all, you need to promote online.
This is the way it is.
But, building your business around social media may not always be the case (or possible). You may run a solo business that relies on in-person sales. You may not have the extra time to formulate trending tweets. Maybe you don’t have the resources to outsource your social media to an SEO expert.
Regardless of your reasoning, if you have decided to forgo social media, you need other ways to promote your business. Here is an overview of how to promote your business without the use of social media.
How Important Is Social Media, Really?
According to a 2021 study by Dreamgrow, 71% of consumers who have had a good social media experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others.
Well, there you go. It’s impossible to run a modern company without social media. There was no reason to click on this article. Start creating Instagram videos and Facebook stories to promote your newest business ventures. It’s the only way.
Fortunately, that is not the case. While the plethora of beneficial statistics backing business social media use can be astounding, it’s important to remember the vacuum in which these numbers exist. A quick search for social media statistics may be deterring, but it’s a bit of a skew you must view in hindsight.
For example, let’s take the 71% statistic noted above. That’s 71% of consumers that have had a good experience on social media. That’s not 71% of existing consumers. While a significant amount of people do use social media (around 90.4% of Millennials, to be exact), it doesn’t mean that it’s the most common place for capitalist consumption. Not having a company-related social media presence is not a death sentence.
Nearly 40% of small businesses are not present on social media. They all still exist.
Should you have a social media presence? Probably. It only helps. But we aren’t here to convince you. We are here to help you build a successful business without it.
Social Media Isn’t the Only Avenue
Another quick statistic to note: A recent study by Google found that 86% of those using Google Maps are using it to find local businesses.
It’s important to remember that the main usage of social media is not to find new businesses but to connect with friends and share nonsensical memes. People are more likely to use sites like Google Maps and Yelp to find local stores (we’ll get into this later). Therefore, having a social media presence isn’t necessary. It can only help, sure, but as we stated, it isn’t a death sentence.
Rejoice. You will survive without a Twitter (though I probably wouldn’t).
It Starts With a Plan
This may not seem like an original tip, but it’s always important to notice. Every single course of action should begin with an established plan, especially when involving the business you worked so hard to start. Regarding promotion, it’s crucial to carve out the avenue in which you intend to move forward.
The first step, as with business in general, is to note your purpose. What are you looking to do with your business? What is the main point behind each interaction? Each sale?
We will start by quoting our recent article Starting a Business? Here Are 5 Must-Haves for Success:
Our first tip may seem a little… arbitrary. But, there’s a valid reason behind it. Overall, you must decide and establish a strong purpose before starting any business venture.
While everyone starts a business to make a profit (duh), there has to be more to it than that. Ultimately, your chances of success and determination are much higher when there is reasoning behind what you do. What is your reasoning?
Are you opening a pet store to provide no-nonsense food for an industry stuffed with fake ingredients? Are you starting an art-related store because you strongly believe in the benefits of artistic expression in human culture?
Regardless of how poetic or abstract your intentions are, you must have a reason for starting a business. At the end of the day, having a goal unrelated to profit will help you get through the tough times (which are surely going to occur). Even if profit is low, you still have a mission to hang on to.
What’s your purpose?
Once you have a strong sense of purpose, it will organically flow into everything you do. While it may seem like this is completely unrelated to promotion tactics, it’s not. Your purpose is important in everything you do. If you don’t have one established, potential consumers can pick up on it, whether subconsciously or not.
The Three Ws
Once you establish your business purpose, it’s time to break down a legitimate plan for promotion. To do this, think of these three main questions:
- Who are your customers? – This includes demographics like age, location, and financial status.
- What do your customers want? – What do these demographics want that you can provide?
- Why do they want it? – Maybe you sell organic pet food. Your customers want it because they want healthier options for their animals.
Now that you have identified what are your selling points and who you are selling to, it’s time to decide all of the avenues you will take.
We will break down a few of our favorite (and most successful) ways to promote your business without the use of social media.
SEO Is Still Supreme
As a digital marketing company, of course, we are going to start off with our specialty. Simply put: you can boost your company’s website to extreme heights without the need for social media through various Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics.
Think about it this way: Though over 90% of Millennials are on social media, 100% are on the internet. Moreso, everyone that uses social media is on the internet. Everyone uses the internet. Get your company website to the top of Google (or other search engines), and you will be within the eyes of anyone looking through your industry.
Ultimately, we could list enough SEO tips to fill a bookshelf. We’ll save you time, for a quick Google search can net you endless information about the topic. We even broke down some specific examples and tips here.
At its core, SEO is the act of producing content on your business’ website that adheres to search engine AI. Google, among the rest, works tirelessly to get the right search results in front of the right people. If you build your website around your niche market with SEO in mind, you will appear as one of the top results for said market.
Google placement becomes exponentially more important than social media marketing. If someone googles pet store, you want your pet store to appear. That’s an audience that is specifically looking for a pet store. They are searching with the intention to buy pet supplies. Social media is more of a find-then-sell scenario.
The downfall is the amount of effort. While SEO is considerably more important than social media, it still takes the same amount of time and effort. If you are having trouble finding time to run social accounts, then you probably won’t have time for the upkeep of an SEO-based website.
Time for shameless plugging: If you need help building a business website around SEO, Bus Web Design is here for you. We've worked to get small businesses at the top of their market. Just contact us!
Sponsor Local Events
If you don’t want to work to promote through social media, promote through someone else’s! Sponsor or hold a local event ran by an organization that fits with your efforts.
Not only does this allow your business to get the attention of the corresponding company’s social media, but it helps establish your brand.
For example, if you are a small pet store, allow a local shelter to hold an adoption day at your shop. Sponsor a local event for an animal organization. Set up a store booth at a local pet-related event. All of these motions will get your business listed on social media posts for the events or organization. It also shows that your pet store cares about the local animal community and has a community-oriented culture.
While it may be seen as piggybacking off of the already-established culture and social media presence of other organizations, it’s a great way to show what page you stand on and garner positive attention.
When speaking to The Atlantic, Dave Pell, author of the newsletter Nextdraft, calls email “the unkillable app.” He then claimed that Mailchimp (an email marketing company) campaigns created $64 billion in revenue in 2020.
The A-to-B pathway of email marketing makes sense. Everyone needs to have an email to be on the internet. Everyone has to have an email to be signed up for social media. By advertising directly to emails, you not only hit everyone with a social media account but every person on the internet — pretty much.
Email reigns supreme due to its reliability and ease of access. You can rest assured that the email has gone directly to the receiver, without the hassle of having to get onto a social media timeline at the right moment. You don’t have to perfectly plan or time tweets or posts.
How does a small company go about getting an email list of customers? The ever-useful rewards program.
Have your customers give you an email in exchange for an in-store rewards system. Whether it be exclusive deals, a punch card, or first dibs on sales, provide them with an incentive to sign up. Once they do, you will have a wide collection of emails ready to roll for your next marketing campaign.
Gather Great Reviews
Though this falls into the SEO category to a slight degree, it’s important to point out. Your online business profiles need reviews to gain the attention of outside clientele.
Firstly, you need to make sure your business is listed on location and business databases like Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Yelp. These platforms allow others to see your business, what you sell, your location, and your customer reviews.
Consequently, the more reviews and the higher rating you have, the more attention you will get. Sites like Yelp will put you at the top of results just based on your review scores and review count. Therefore, it’s important to get a plethora of positive remarks.
Ask elated customers to leave a review. It only takes a minute on their part, and it will help support a local company (you). It’s worth a shot, especially if they are a regular customer. Though, if you have profiles on these popular sites, you will obtain plenty of reviews without asking. Just make sure they are positive.
Great businesses offer great customer experiences. Great customer experiences lead to great reviews. Great reviews lead to great attention. – Write that on a motivational poster.
When all else fails, you can always pay for advertisements. Whether online or in local publications, there are a plethora of avenues to approach when going with paid advertising. But, since we are on the topic of online presence, we will stick to online ads.
Firstly, you can pay to boost an ad for your company on Google itself. Through Google My Business, you can run an ad for a certain length of time. Not only will this appear in front of an array of local eyes, but it will bring new attention to your website. That’s a win for sales and SEO.
Secondly, keep an eye out for websites that offer paid advertising within your specific sector.
We’ll circle back to the pet store example. Contact a local news website to advertise there. Or look into websites regarding pets or pet news. An advertisement within the field easily seeks out customers within your target market (remember the three Ws).
Advertising is a tried-and-true method that will never go away. Much like email marketing, you can pinpoint your market. You can know that information about your business is reaching the correct people. On the other hand, social media posting can be a bit of a crapshoot, splattering into a world of millions. Statistically, most of them won’t be within your target audience.
The obvious downfall is that of money. Paying for advertisements can be a pricey endeavor. It’s important to overlook the Return on Investment (ROI) regarding it.
Social media marketing can be a huge factor in getting new business. It’s free and effective, but it takes a significant amount of time and resources.
Fortunately, you don’t need to have a social media presence to properly promote your business. In fact, plenty of small and local businesses do just fine without it.
If you want to obtain attention online, you do have to commit some time and effort, though. Whether that be working to build up your company website or crafting eye-catching advertisements. There are ways to go about it, but they may end up taking just as much time as social media.
At the end of the day, running a business takes effort and research. Getting online attention without social media is entirely possible, but it may take some effort and research, too.