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Social Shouldn't Be Your Only Strategy (and what to do about it)

As a long-time marketing strategist, the one strong key belief I hold is social media is NOT a strategy.  It’s a tactic to support your marketing strategy.  Posting to Instagram is a tactic to increasing your audience, where increasing your audience is the marketing strategy.  Instagram is a channel you use to share your message and is how you achieve your strategy of reaching and nurturing prospective customers and clients.

Stop believing that social media should be your only way to connect with your audience.

Let’s repeat that. Yep, it’s that important.  Social media should never be your only way to connect with your audience.

A pretty bold statement to make from a marketer these days, right?! I know that so many people out there telling you to kill it on Instagram, you can get a massive following on TikTok, and those are the only platforms that you need.

After all millions of people are hanging out there right? Yes, they are hanging out there. No argument from me.

However, you don’t own any of those channels. What happens if someone hacked your Facebook or Instagram, they go down overnight and are instantly gone? Yes, it’s maybe a stretch so how about some examples of things that happen to businesses every day.

What happens if your account gets frozen, or shut down because Facebook thinks you broke a rule?  What happens when the algorithm changes and you have to change your game?  What happens when the algorithm changes and it’s not in your favor because business and user experience don’t often go hand-in-hand? 

Every business, no matter what its size, should look at owning its own communications. And what I mean by that is owning your list; your email list, that is.  We’ve all heard that the money is in the list and that is absolutely true my friend.

So now you may be asking questions like: How do I get a list? What do I do when I have a list? And does that mean I don’t need social media at all?

First, you absolutely can still leverage social media. I am by no means advocating for closing your Instagram account or dropping TikTok. Instead, focus all of your energy on cultivating relationships with your audience and using that relationship to build your list. You can, and should, leverage social channels to expand your reach and build your list.

Having a qualified email list allows you to connect with your customers whenever you need to. How many people see your content is dramatically higher in email than social.

Emails are far more likely to be opened. And even if they don’t open it, there is value in the subject line they read before deciding to delete it.  I have emails that I delete without opening, but I know the sender had just uploaded a podcast I need to listen to.  So instead of reading the email, I pop into my podcasts.  They still got the download. And I still heard what they had to say.

And what do I mean by qualified? That means the people want to hear more from you. While everyone wants to brag about having a list of 100,000 people it’s not helpful if only five of them want to hear from you. It’s not about having a big list, it’s all about having a quality list.

One reason quality is better than quantity is because of how pricing works with email marketing tools. Many tools charge based on how many people are on your list.   You don’t want to pay for a list of 100,000 people if 80% of those people don’t want what you’re selling.

So now you’re likely wondering how to get quality people to sign up for your email list? Great question! The single most effective way that most businesses today big or small get people on their email list is an opt-in offer; meaning that you give away a piece of your expertise for free to prove value and gain trust.

Our inboxes are so overloaded with spam marketers and endless promotions that we are super picky as consumers about what we open and what we read.

We need to build a lot of trust before we start opening every email from a brand. There are very few brands that I opened every single email from. But the brands that I do, it’s only because I know every email will have so much value I don’t want to miss out.

There are going to be people on your list that never buy from you.

There are going to be people on your list that take years to buy from you.

And there’s going to be people on your list that are so excited that they purchase right away.

Either way, you want everyone to know what your expertise is and to feel like your brand adds value. That you’re not a brand just looking for a sale but you’re out to really make an impact.

So let’s talk more about an opt-in offer, sometimes also called a lead magnet. It is the act of giving something away for free in exchange for an email address. Then following up with that email address with the series emails back to include additional content pieces, additional value, and eventually lead to us being able to pitch for a sale.

Using a solid email automation tool can take a lot of heavy lifting out of the process, and can put your list-building on autopilot. I covered getting started with email marketing back in episode 1, so go check it out if you need help getting started.

To set up an opt-in, it is as simple as 1-2-3!

  1. Set up a landing page that sells the value of your free content. This includes a form (generally name and email) to fill out to get the free content.
  2. Set up an email to trigger once the form has been completed, thanking them for the download, giving them a copy, and giving them another action step. You can promote your social channels, a blog post, or whatever aligns with what they’re interested in.
  3. Set up a “Thank You” page that they see after filling out the form. This can be similar to the email – providing a copy of the download, a thank you message, and another way to engage with you or your content.

That’s it!  After your campaign is set up you need to get eyes on it. Promote the freebie in your blog posts, podcasts, social channels, or wherever you see a good opportunity to add value.

So, go ahead, and take control of your communications by adding ways to create opportunities for your audience to stay connected by opting into your email list.