Is Small Business Social Media Dead?

June 2019
Melissa Sorini

We regret to inform you that free social media is no longer with us. Our sincerest condolences to you and your business newsfeed at this difficult time.

RIP Free Social Media 2004 - 2019

Most of us know that the days of free social media for business are gone. It was great while it lasted, but things changed when Facebook slashed their organic reach algorithms, and all of a sudden it got much harder to reach your audience. Cheers, Zuck!

According to marketing expert Mark Traphagen, this unfortunate bombshell exploded in January 2018, when Facebook announced that brand content would be given less priority in newsfeeds in favour of more content from “friends and family”.

Added to that, users are becoming less engaged with their newsfeeds, and thanks to overexposure and accusations of inauthenticity, there has been a growing backlash against influencers. Way too many of us are suffering from social media fatigue.

So what does this mean for your business on social media? Are you thriving? Or barely surviving?

Option 1: How to (barely) survive on social media in 2019

Many small “Insta-businesses” are struggling because they can’t sustain their audience and generate sales from their organic and engagement activity alone. They need something more, but don’t have the budget for content creation or advertising campaigns.

There is still value in low-level social media activity as a kind of “simmer marketing”, in order to maintain a presence in the minds of your existing customers. It’s easy to do, but it’s like treading water: real results only come from overhauling the entire strategy.

(This process starts with making sure that you’re using the right social media platforms).

The truth is, a lot of businesses aren’t aware – or remain stubbornly in denial – about the fact that free social media is dead in 2019. They’re still partying on Facebook like it’s 2005, and wondering where everyone else is at. We’ve got news for them…

Bendigo agency gets social media likes
Businesses who succeed on social media have a concerted approach.

Option 2: How to THRIVE on social media in 2019

Those businesses who thrive on social media are realistic about what can be achieved without paying to create or promote their content (not a lot), and see it as a worthy investment. The phrase “you get what you pay for” was invented for social media.

Our client Kerfab is one of those social media success stories. Kerfab mostly sells tractor attachments – a niche product with limited mass appeal – but they were willing to treat their social media campaign as an investment, supported with a realistic budget.

That investment paid for content creation, blog writing, offers and a significant ad spend to build their audience by over 3000 followers in a three year period. This was an incredible result for a business that sells buckets and forks for farm vehicles.

In the article “After the 2018 Controversies, Is Facebook Dead for Brands?”, several key techniques for thriving on social were recommended in light of the algorithm changes: identify clear objectives, be content conscious, explore options and use video.

People holding LOL balloons
Humour can be used to successfully engage your audience online.

Option 3: When all else fails, you can always laugh

It’s not all bad news though - there are sometimes exceptions to the rules, and they typically involve humour and heart. Businesses can get away with a low or no ad spend on social media if they consistently invest in the quality of their creative content.

We have two clients who are a fantastic example of this. Windscreen City are Bendigo-based windscreen repairers who have built a loyal and enthusiastic following with humour and engagement focused posts - memes, jokes, light-hearted commentary.

Weirdy Beardy – a company that sells grooming products for bearded men – has also achieved success with a similar social media strategy. Both clients have had viral posts reaching tens of thousands of people, all because they routinely feature funny and shareable content.

The take-home here is that businesses who are willing to harness the power of humour are regularly rewarded with engagement, organic reach and new followers. We might be weary from social media fatigue, but we all still love to laugh - that will never change.

Social media meme made by Bendig agency
Memes, jokes and funny quotes have helped people connect with the Weirdy Beardy brand.

Social media isn’t dead - but it does require life support

The good news is that businesses can still thrive on social media, but they need to acknowledge that reach no longer comes free. It’s not realistic to expect major results without a focus on high quality strategic content AND some advertising investment.

So while social media for small business is not entirely dead, it does need additional support. The bar has been raised to the point where it requires a significant investment of time and effort internally, or would benefit with the help of external creatives.

These days, success on social media often comes as the result of engaging external agencies who have the expertise and skills to create engaging content, and are able to boost it with targeted strategy and advertising campaigns to ensure the best outcomes.

Breathing new life into your social media feeds

Keen to breathe some life back into your social media? Our team of digital marketing strategists, copywriters and graphic designers can create the targeted content you need to grow your following. We’ve got social media packages to suit every budget.

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