This blog post is all about social media and ways you can incorporate it into your business plan, but not rely solely on it. SPOILER ALERT: this is NOT about how you can beat the algorithm. (Womp womp) I’ll provide you with a few tips that are incredibly important to incorporate into your business plan to help decrease your anxiety about changing social media algorithms and help grow your business!
Before we get into the knitty gritty, I want you to know that I fully support using social media for business. And I’ll be the first to admit, I love social media. In fact, I started my embroidery business on Instagram. These platforms are such a great way to build an audience. I still to this day use social media ALOT for my business, but I’ve also implemented other tactics outside of social media that make it so that I’m not as worried about the ever changing algorithms! If I post something on social media and it is a total flop, I reflect on it, see how I could have done something better, and move on. It’s not the end all be all when this happens and I don’t reach as many people as I’d like to, because I’m reaching people in other ways too!!
I’ve learned a lot since I started my business, and one of the most important lessons I learned was that social media is good as a tool, but should not be your only focus. Here’s the thing: You do not own your social media account. You could get banned, shut down, the platform could get bought out or lose popularity. You can not control new policies and algorithms that are put into place with any of these platforms. A lot of them have become more of a “pay to play” platform for small businesses. The good news? You do own your own website, and you do own your email list.
Everyone lately has been so upset over the algorithm changes and people have gone to great lengths to hack it. I too get annoyed and in my own head about them!! It can be so discouraging that your reach may not be as good as it used to be. I used to take it personally and think that everything I was doing was wrong. It’s very hit or miss whether a post gets a ton of engagement or likes. While it still could be true that your post didn’t receive the response you anticipated because of something you could be doing better, you also have to take into account that the time you post and the way the algorithm pushes content out could be affecting how many people and which people are seeing it.
So what do I suggest? I say, keep using social media. It shows a more personal you and a behind the scenes look into your life. You can showcase your products, and best of all build community and engage with others!! Here are a few other things I recommend you start working on to supplement with.
First, build an email list. It’s free on mailchimp when you’re first starting out until you hit a larger amount of subscribers. If you build an email list, everyone in your audience will receive an email you put out. Your email list may not be huge or even remotely as large as your social media following, but think about it this way: these people are committing to hearing from you in their personal email inbox. In my opinion, that’s on a way more intimate level than social media. These people are invested in you enough they’ve given you a direct ticket into their inbox.
Second, start your own website. You can sell your products on sites like Squarespace and Shopify, and they don’t take a percentage of a purchase. You can use your email list and social media platforms to drive people to your site. You can also use it as a platform to post articles or blog.
Third, if you have a product based business, you can start selling on a platform like Etsy. They take a small percentage of each sale, and it’s 20 cents to list each product, but compared to other platforms, this is really really good. I personally do most of my transactions on Etsy. The beauty of platforms like this, is that the audience is there for the purpose of buying. Social media is more about aesthetics and visual content. While some business comes through it for me, the conversion rate isn’t as high as a platform whose sole purpose is to showcase handmade items for sale. Also, these platforms have the potential to expose you to way more eyes. It’s way easier to optimize your products for Etsy vs Google. Most of the traffic and profit I make from my business is the audience already built in to Etsy.
Lastly, just be YOU and have fun with it!!
I hope this shed some light and perspective about the importance of social media as a tool, but not the end all be all. :)