When I think of reaching out to my audience, it usually means posting on social media, for obvious reasons
- For one, it doesn’t cost money to post (doesn’t mean it is free).
- Second, feedback loop is short. Within minutes, I get likes and comments on my post.
- Third, there are so many tools out there to help me create an engaging content (filtered image, animation, text overlay) for cheap with little time invested.
After a few years of marketing on social media, I realize that I have fallen into the biggest trap in marketing – social media.
It does feel fast and cheap to market on social media. It comes with a high cost, and I wish I could have seen it earlier.
Why social media shouldn’t have been my top choice for marketing
People are not looking to shop on social media.
By definition, social media is not created for marketing and promote product sales. It is created for people to connect with each other. Business see that as an opportunity, as they sense the trust between people who connect via social media can be used to influence buying decision, hence the vertical of content marketing and influencer marketing – people who sell on social media and pretend they don’t. Selling is not bad, the world needs it to move forward. But to sell on social media is like trying to find a mate at a Buddhist temple. It is going to be difficult and super awkward.
How about content marketing and influencer marketing on social media? Do they work? They do. Neither one of them is an easy option for small business as they consume the kind of time and resources that is hard for small business to swallow.
To think that you are going to reach your audience over and over again on social media, that is digging a hole for yourself.
An amateur marketer in my town spent a small fortune to buy a Facebook page that has about 20,000 followers. A couple weeks after the take over, he wrote on the page
Facebook, if you say I have 20k followers, why do I need to pay to reach them?
Rookie Facebook marketing mistake with a big price tag.
Social media was designed to connect people, but someone needs to pickup the bill. Did you know at Facebook HQ, everything from lunch to haircut is free for their employees? So is Google, and Twitter. The list goes on. Someone needs to pay for this. That someone is you and me, people who want to reach to more people on their platform.
Social media in 2019 is optimized for business to buy attention of their followers. The more followers I have, the easier for social media company to make me feel the need to pay (also known as Boost).
When I was working to build your following on social media, what I am doing is helping social media companies to keep other people’s attrition on the platform, so they can continue to sell access to that attention back to me.
So what’s the alternative?
Email, podcast, blog, fax, greeting cards, in person visit…these are alternative to social media in creating and maintaining relationship with people who want to hear from me. The question is not what other ways I should consider, but what story we tell my audience so that they can become a better version of themselves if they continue to hang out with me.
Convertkit has an interesting take on email marketing market. In a space where almost all email marketing software providers work hard to create beautiful template for marketer to catch eyeballs, convertkit takes a different route featuring plain text email. The idea is plain text emails look more personal, so the reader is more likely to open and read it. But if you believe your readers prefer beautiful emails with animated gifts, Convertkit is probably not the best option for you.
The alternative is not a straight answer, but a question. How would my audience prefer to connect with me? In my case, it is in person events, so I do it every month. I meet my fans in person, shake their hands, listen to their stories so I can create art that resonate to their experience.