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Social media is not free marketing. In fact, it may be costing you more than you can afford.

Nothing good is ever free. And social media is not free marketing despite what you may have heard others say. In fact, relying on social media to grow your business is one of the top mistakes I see entrepreneurs make online. Instead, grow your business without social media, grow your business your way, the way that feels good and is aligned with your values. You don’t have to do what the experts say to do.

What are the costs of social media?

Many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of believing that social media is free marketing and therefore the end all be all of growing a business.

Here’s what you need to know instead.

Social media platforms are owned by businessmen who want to make big money and they do so through paid ads. They are not interested in your business or your success. Algorithms have been created not for you to beat, but for them to drive traffic to the businesses paying the most in ad spend. Because of this, only 2% of the people who follow you on social media will ever see your content. Even fewer will engage with it. Unless, of course, you are paying for ads. And even then, you are at risk of who the ads are bringing into your community. Are they soulmate clients or people looking for something free?

If you put all of your efforts into growing your business on social media, you are missing out on lucrative opportunities for long-term growth and a consistent stream of clients.

Build the foundation first if you want long-term success

First and foremost, the foundation of your business includes your unique personal brand, a website with search-engine-optimized copy and blog content, an email marketing strategy, an overall marketing strategy (communicating your uniqueness and expertise and building relationships), and systems and processes to simplify and automate.

Entrepreneurship is not one size fits all. Someone may have a lot of money to invest upfront in software programs, funnels, teams, etc. while others do not. No matter your budget, the best thing you can do is build the foundation first before spending countless hours and resources on social media. Start with a strategy for optimizing your website. Google is much more powerful than Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok. Raving fans do not equate to people investing in your business.

When people search for you or your product or service on Google, they are ready to buy. Unlike when people go to social media, they are browsing without the intent to buy. They are simply collecting information. Kind of like getting their toes wet on the beach versus going all in and diving into the waves.

When you grow your business without social media and build a solid foundation first, you are more likely to succeed.

Social media is not free marketing because time is not free

Time is one of your most valuable commodities.

How does social media influence your time? In multiple ways.
  1. Content and graphic creation, even when repurposing evergreen content, takes time. Even if you have someone managing your social media accounts, you have to evaluate their work and take time to pay them. In addition, you have to be present and engage to build meaningful relationships.
  2. Scrolling to consume content takes time and you can lose track of time and therefore lose productivity.
  3. It takes time to engage if you want to use social media to grow your audience. Again, you can get sucked into the scroll and lose more time than intended.
  4. Distractions are time-consuming. When you consume content on social media, namely Instagram, you are apt to follow what someone else is doing. If you don’t discern whether it’s right for you and jump right in, it can cost you time, energy, and money. And, doing so will take you away from the tasks you’ve already initiated that were on target to create demand and increase revenue. Distractions result in time lost, not initiatives or growth gained.

Social media is not free marketing because energy is not free

Like time, energy is one of your most valuable commodities.

How does social media influence your energy?
  1. Social media can increase your level of stress when you feel you have to create content and show up to engage. It becomes an added item on your already long to-do list.
  2. Comparison and imposter syndrome are frequently reported by social media users. Both stimulate doubt which will decrease your energy level – negative thoughts produce negative emotions which in turn produce negative decisions and behaviors, therefore decreasing energy.
  3. A decrease in energy will influence how you show up for your audience and clients, your family and friends, and for yourself. If not showing up with positive energy, you don’t effectively create demand in your business. In addition, you won’t show up as effectively for your current clients, which will influence client retention and referral rates.
  4. Low and negative energy affects relationships, personal and professional. When relationships are struggling, you are going to be emotionally exhausted.

Grow your business without social media and get a bigger ROI

Over 20% of businesses fail in the first two years. That percentage rises the longer you are in business, 45% fail in the first 5 years, and 65% fail in the first 10 years. One of the reasons so many businesses fail is because they have listened to others instead of doing what feels good to them. If you are listening to everyone else and investing in social media, you may want to re-think your marketing strategy. Social media is not free, but building a solid foundation with an optimized website and a strong marketing strategy has a significant ROI because it creates a steady stream of incoming clients.

Growing a business without social media may not feel sexy, but when you have a big ROI and feel confident that you have a solid foundation for a lifetime of limitless earning potential, you’ll feel confident that your marketing strategy is more powerful and will get you to your goals.

Download free resources like An Intro to SEO for Entrepreneurs or 10 Strategies to Grow Your Business without Social Media.

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