A reminder that there is more to marketing than social media
I coach makers from all over the country and one of the biggest pain points I hear that they struggle with their business is SOCIAL MEDIA. Let’s face it, it’s overwhelming, it changes all the time and it’s finicky as all get out. It seems that just when you find a rhythm of posting the algorithms change and everything is thrown on its end, leaving you to figure it all out again. Let alone, remembering to take enough high quality photos to use as content.
While there are many hacks I use for social media, of which I’ll touch base on in a whole different post, I want to take a moment to remind you, fellow business owner, that there are other ways to market outside social media. One in particular that has made the BIGGEST and most MONUMENTAL impact on my business.
1. Join Your Local Chamber Of Commerce(s)
While it may be true that not all chamber of commerces are created equal, there is an underlying premise that it is a crucial part of being part of the business community in your town. I’m not going to lie, when I first started PGM, I joined our chamber because I thought I had to– almost like mob protection. You know, like if I didn’t they were going to run me out of town. Now, that was not the case at all– but I’m SO thankful that I had that random self-made perspective in my head– because my involvement with the chamber has paid me back 1000x what I have invested into it.
2. Attend Networking Events- The Right Ones
I hate fake conversation. I despise pushy people. Even more so, being an introvert, being around large groups of people utterly drains me. These reasons, and a few more, kept me from attending any of the networking events my chamber or even other local women’s business group events. I always felt like I would be MORE productive getting that one last laser project in or using that hour to schedule my social media. In other words, I wanted to work IN my business and not ON my business. Here’s the problem… You know that adage “Out of sight, Out of Mind?” It is 10,000% true- especially in business. When you spend all of your time making and producing, trapping yourself in your four walls of your business (whether that be brick and mortar or a mobile business)– you are only visible to the clients who come and see you.
I’m not saying for a minute that this gives you an excuse to not do your social media plan for the week– but if you don’t have on your calendar at least ONE professional outing a week, you are leaving an ungodly amount of business on the table.
Personally, I tend to prioritize the more socially driven networking events. Our chamber of commerce puts on Coffee & Connections once a month in the morning and a Business After Hours event in the evening. Both of these events are laid back, come and go opportunities to network and catch up with other local businesses. They aren’t regimented, forced referral driven or pushy business card passing events. It’s a time to get to connect with other leaders in your community. This is when the magic happens. It’s in the casual conversations that you hear that someone is planning an event that you could help engrave favors for, or another is looking for a creative outlet for a team building experience, while someone else is struggling to find a summer camp for their kids to attend. It’s being part of a casual conversation where you become the solution to their problems, instead of forcing product in people’s face.
In addition to these natural connections, you become “top of mind”, because they just saw you. So naturally, when they are meeting with their next client and the client talks about a wedding they are attending and how they need to find the perfect gift– BAM! They just saw you and now remember that you do engraved charcuterie boards. But NONE of this happens if you simple POST on Social Media and you don’t actually get out and BE SOCIAL!
3. Host Events
We have been in business in the same community for over eight years. One would think everyone has at least heard about us! I mean, I’m active on social media, people talk about us, etc…., Right?! WRONG! Last week we had the opportunity to open our doors to host the Business After Hours for our Chamber of Commerce. EIGHTY fellow business owners came into my space and got to see what we do– and at least half had never walked through our doors. In one week we have received 3 requests for team building parties of groups over fifty people.
If you are mobile, don’t let this stop you! You can come up with all the excuses you want, but the problem solvers will win every time! Find a few other home based businesses or mobile businesses and work together to rent a common space or host an event in a park for your chamber or another networking group. The trick here is that you are not there to SELL– you are there to inform! The event should have the goal of open networking while showcasing what you can do. This can even be an informal event like a woman’s BUNCO night or something similar. Remember, your goal here it to be top of mind, not make people shy away because they feel sold to.
I could go on and on about other opportunities that the chamber has provided me as far as resources and connection, awards and exposure– but hopefully this has you thinking in the direction of at least scheduling it on your calendar to GET OUT of your bubble and put at least one professional event on your calendar a week– it can even be lunch with another business owner in the area that inspires you– but BE PART OF YOUR BUSINESS COMMUNITY and it will pay you back for your time investment.