Over the past decade, social media marketing has gone from relatively unknown to a cornerstone of business. But is social media your only option when it comes to marketing your business? Or are there other ways you can market yourself online and in person to build your client base?
Why social media marketing is a good thing
There are definitely some upsides to social media, and all it has to offer! If there wasn’t, we wouldn’t be using them to market.
So first up, let’s look at why using social media can be a good thing for your marketing efforts:
It makes it easy to find you online. Many people use social media to search for services – some will use it moreso than they use Google! But social media also makes it easy for people who have heard of you to track you down.
The majority of social media services are free. You don’t have to pay to share on your Facebook page or upload to Instagram. This makes it much more affordable compared to the more old-school forms of marketing like flyers.
It helps to build trust with potential clients. When people are seeking support for their health, it’s important to work with someone they trust.
If you’re showing up on your social media by sharing tips or explaining a health concern via Facebook live, people get to know you. They become familiar with your face, which builds trust.
But they also realise that if you’re always talking about what you do, it is your passion, you are an expert in it, and most importantly, they realise you CARE.
The downfalls of social media marketing
For all of its upsides, there are downsides to consider if you’re going to use social media to promote your products and services. There are three main downsides that most practitioners face:
You need to be consistent to get results. To be fair, this is true of any marketing. But it’s particularly relevant for social media because most people follow hundreds of pages and have thousands of friends all posting. So if you want to be getting in front of your ideal clients consistently, you need to keep sharing.
Many platforms are becoming more ‘pay to play’. The algorithms are favouring the posts of friends and family, and reducing the reach of business pages. That is, unless said page is paying for ads and boosts that bump it back up. This doesn’t mean you have to pay to get in front of people, but it does mean you need strategies to increase engagement.
It feels saturated. You can feel like you’re one of a million practitioners using social media marketing – and to be fair, you probably are. So you do need to take action to make your content stand out from everyone else.
Alternatives for marketing that don’t rely on social media
Whether you really don’t like social media, or you’re still getting the hang of it, there are alternatives you can try. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it will give you some ideas.
- Running free talks at your local community centre
- Flyers, business cards and the like – I consider these to be more tools than a method per se because you still need to hand them to someone who is already interested for it to work!
- Having a stall at a local market or festival to exhibit your products and/or services
- Networking and building a trusted referral network with like-minded practitioners and service providers
- Talking about what you do! Sounds simple, but it’s effective.
- Writing blogs to share on your website
- Filming videos to share on your website
- Building an email list and sending newsletters
- Acting as a source for the media – Sourcebottle is a great way to do this
Now, time for a truthbomb. Every single one of these methods has downsides as well.
There is no one perfect way to market your business.
You will either need to spend time, or money, or a combination to market your business effectively. Gone are the times where you hang out your shingle and wait for people to line up at the door.
Another thing to realise is that although these methods don’t require social media, all of them can benefit from you using it.
You can share your free talks and workshops with your followers, or get your followers to sign up to your newsletter. You can share your media features with your followers, which will make your media contacts happy and more likely to use you again. Even building a network can be done by reaching out to other pracs via their profile or page.
But that’s ok. There’s a solution that gives you the best of both worlds.
My preference: an integrative approach to marketing
The good news is that you don’t have to choose between all of these. You can take advantage of the pros and cancels out the cons by picking those you want to use, and creating an integrative plan.
After all, as a practitioner, you take an integrative approach. So why wouldn’t you do the same for your marketing?
Now when I say integrative, I don’t mean pile them all on at once. Just like with our clients, we start with a couple of the ‘easy but effective’ approaches, and build from there.
What will work best does depend on your business and ideal client. But if you’re a newer practitioner or just new to marketing consistently, I’d start with:
- One social media platform. For most people, this would be a Facebook page and presence
- One non-social media based online strategy. You might want to start writing blogs, uploading videos to your website, or start a mailing list.
- One in-person strategy. Go with whichever one makes you most comfortable, especially if you’re on the introverted side.
This way, you can market yourself in a variety of ways and reach different groups of ideal clients without getting overwhelmed.
Have you been struggling with social media marketing for too long? If you’d like some 1:1 support, I’m here to help.
Book yourself a marketing support session, and we can create an integrative marketing plan that feels achievable for you.