Is online marketing without social media an impossibility? In this post, I share alternate ways to promote your business while staying off the feeds.
I can’t tell you how much I miss the early days of sharing content on the internet. A specific moment from 2011 has stayed with me, and it’s a perfect representation of the era. I had been blogging for about a year, living in Connecticut, sitting on my tan microfiber couch, and playing around with a new platform called Pinterest.
And then something remarkable happened. A notification popped up on my screen to alert me that my Pin had been reshared. And then another, and another. They seemed to pick up speed, and the pop-ups were coming in so fast that I had to switch my notifications off.
I picked up the phone and called my sister Allison (these were the days when we still made phone calls). I was smiling so wide that I couldn’t get the words out. “All of these people are sharing my blog post!”
You can’t just show up and expect to see results (anymore)
It used to be as simple as that. All you had to do was show up, and people would share and engage with your content without a prompt. My earliest blog and social posts have no SEO, are void of hashtags, and were created without strategy. Yet they continue to outperform my recent content.
So much has changed in the last decade. Technology has improved, it’s much easier to use, and it’s brought hordes of creators online. The marketplace is overcrowded and has become more challenging than ever to be heard or seen.
We simply can’t depend on social media alone to share our work anymore.
Online marketing without social media might be your smartest move yet
Whether you’ve become disheartened by social media, no longer see the value, or never been interested in the medium, it doesn’t mean that your work can’t be shared or appreciated. There are non-social media options you can start implementing right away — and in my opinion, they are far more effective.
If you have content to share, it’s time to begin strategizing. Before you read through these tips, click here to download your free Content Planner and Scheduler so you can start to visualize your marketing plan.
Get to know your audience
It’s imperative to get clear about who you’re talking to so that you know what to say and how to say it.
All online brands should have clear answers to these questions:
- Who is your current audience and/or your ideal audience?
- What do they value?
- Where do they spend time (internet and elsewhere)?
You’re not alone if you’re throwing your hands up with frustration. Most people are not forthcoming with this sort of information, especially today.
How to become educated about your audience’s needs
If you aren’t clear about the people in your community, you can start by better familiarizing yourself with your niche.
- Set up Google alerts for industry-specific keywords so that you can keep tabs on the latest trends.
- Subscribe to email newsletters from experts in your niche.
- Search for, subscribe to, and listen to podcasts your ideal audience might tune into.
- Watch industry-related YouTube content, or skip the videos and read the comments, which is invaluable feedback you can use to improve your offerings.
- If you’re not entirely opposed to social media, act as a lurker instead of a participant. Follow niche-specific hashtags and accounts. Observe interactions between accounts and their followers.
The best tip for online marketing without social media: Skip the line
While all the suggestions above will strengthen your industry knowledge, I recommend going right to the source. To find the answers to your questions, ask them outright. Set up surveys and share them with your email list, blog posts, and Pinterest to gain maximum clarity.
Fostering your audience
Once you understand who you’re talking to, it’ll feel much easier to communicate with your people. Here are my favorite methods to stay connected without social media:
Email marketing. A lot has changed on the internet, but this technique remains the most efficient way to grow and make sales. Unlike social media, email distribution isn’t controlled by anyone except for the user, so they are far more likely to be seen and consumed. The experience is also less intrusive for the reader, making them more likely to engage.
I recommend using Flodesk or Convertkit, which make it easy for you to deliver bite-sized content to your community. You don’t need a website; through their internal tools, you can make sales directly from their platform.
Blogging. Don’t believe the chatter. Blogging is absolutely not dead, especially if you are doing it effectively:
- Use an SEO plugin like Yoast.
- Include email opt-ins in every post.
- Post consistently (even if it’s once a month)
- Set up a profile on an RSS-friendly site like Bloglovin’ to ensure more of your readers will receive your posts.
- Guest post or contribute to another blog in your niche.
Set up a private community. An exclusive group of dedicated, engaged community members is gold because you’re showing your audience that you’re a real person. Meanwhile, you have the opportunity to get to know your people authentically.
You may use a social platform like Facebook or Instagram (free) but can choose to treat it as a separate experience and stay off the feeds. There are also great membership sites like MightyNetworks that you may consider.
You can also foster community through exclusive Zoom chats! Give it a try.
Teach on a learning platform. This is a great way to gain instant credibility and attract new audience members to your niche. Sign up on a platform like Skillshare or UDemy.
Start a podcast or a YouTube channel. Like blogging, these platforms give you a place to show up consistently and build that invaluable know-like-trust trifecta. For maximum return on your efforts, encourage your listeners and viewers to like and subscribe, and offer an email opt-in in every episode.
Selling to your audience
Most folks I know who love the idea of online marketing without social media are especially passionate about avoiding the sales pitch. Selling on social media is challenging — and to me, it’s the least effective place to do it. So if you dislike the idea of directing someone to the link in your profile to purchase your product, you may be onto something.
When you properly foster your audience by showing up consistently, selling is easy and can even be fun. Sometimes, community members ask you to create products or services so they can buy them!
Here are the two most straightforward ways to sell online without a website or social media presence:
Sell on a marketplace like Etsy, Spoonflower, or CreativeMarket. You’ll also benefit from attracting buyers directly from the platforms.
Online marketing without social media
Social media is just a tool, and marketing foundations are far more valuable than anything that any platform promises.
Choose what’s right for you as a creator: what will help you share the most content consistently?
Choose what’s right for your ideal audience: how do they want to interact with your brand?
The internet might change faster than we can keep up with it, but you always have choices to operate in the best way for your business.
To further refine your brand presence and content, click here to download your free Brand Blueprint.
This post contains affiliate links. Resources mentioned: