Dorothy K - Can you do digital marketing without Facebook?

I have to admit that I’ve become very dependent on Facebook for all my online marketing. My work on SEO has fallen by the wayside, blog posts have been rare and I’ve done very little on my other social media channels. I convinced myself that I didn’t need any of that, as all my clients had been finding me via my Facebook marketing or word of mouth, ie: friends of friends.

I already told you what happened when I spent 36 hours in Facebook jail, but it turned out that a few days later, my Facebook account was disabled again, due to “suspicious activity”. Now, I have no idea what that suspicious activity was, but I’m beginning to think that someone is maliciously reporting me to Facebook out of spite. It’s now been 48 hours and I still don’t know when, or if, I will be allowed back in Facebook land.

What do I do in the meantime? I already told you last week that, without Facebook, your website and your mailing list become your main tools for digital marketing. This means:

  • getting on top of your SEO, so that your website is found by the people who need your services,
  • starting to create fresh content regularly, by blogging, making videos or podcasting, and
  • starting a regular conversation with the people on your mailing list.

Finally, you need to look at the other social media channels and figure out which ones you need to focus on for best results for your business. For me, this means LinkedIn, for you, it might be Instagram or Pinterest.

Let’s talk about each of these in turn.

Digital Marketing Without Facebook

SEO

DorothyK - SEO Search Engine Optimisation is about having a best guess about what your ideal client is searching for on Google, or another search engine. When people search on the internet, they’re looking for a solution to a problem, so the terms, or “keywords”, you need to use in your content must be related to either, or both, the problem and the solution. For example, people will search for “Best chocolate cake recipe”, or “Ballarat Website Designers”, or “How do I learn to run”. If your content is anything to do with those topics, then you need to use those specific phrases, or keywords, in your content. More specifically you need to use them in:

  • your page, or post, title,
  • the first heading and
  • the first paragraph.

You should also use variation of the keywords in the rest of your page, or post, content. For example of you’re teaching people how to start running again, you might use “How do I learn to run” as your main keyword, but then use variations, such “starting to run”, “learning to run”, “running for beginners” in the rest of your content.

What you want to know of course, is how to figure out what people are searching for in your area of interest. An easy way to start is to go to your Google search bar and start typing something to do with your topic, then see what suggestions Google has to complete your search. Here are a couple of examples:

You could also use the Google Keyword Planner to research your keywords.

Another component of SEO is back links. This means links from other websites to your website. Google looks most favourably on backlinks from reputable websites, so if you have an ebook on Amazon and can include a link to your site in the Kindle preview, then that’s a brilliant back link. Links from major news sites or other high quality sites in your industry are also good.

How to get good back links?

The best way to get good back links is to submit articles and guest posts to those websites. For example, I used to regularly attend the Problogger conference and when I wrote about my experience I would add a link to my post to the post on Problogger.net which aggregated all similar posts. Links from comments left on other sites, aren’t as valuable, but are certainly a good start. Other sources of back links are directory sites, such as True Local, Yellow Pages and specific industry directories. So if you are a member of an association for your industry, the link to your website in that association’s online directory is a great back link.

Another great source of SEO is Google Places. Get your business listed on Google Places and you will get a great back link, as well as a position on Google Maps.

Fresh regular content

Dorothy K - Blogging for Business

If you’re not creating fresh content for your website, then you are missing out on showcasing your brilliance to the people who want to use your services. Again, I had been doing this mainly via Facebook, by posting tips on digital marketing on my Facebook page and sharing bits of my story. Now that that’s gone, I need to commit to doing this more consistently on this blog.

Blogging builds your credibility, showcases your knowledge and invites your ideal clients to get to know you and your story. If you’d like to learn how to do business blogging better, then you might be interested in this self-paced course on Biz Blogging that I created with just you in mind. Each day, you get fresh bite-sized content and a task to complete on your journey to a better Biz Blog.

Of course if you just can’t see yourself writing, you can outsource it, or you can try your hand at making videos or podcasting. Podcasting is very popular right now and, personally, podcasts are the only thing I listen to in the car these days. Getting knowledge on the go is so inviting and easy. Most people I know love listening to podcasts and it’s certainly something I would like to try my hand at soon.

Revive your mailing list

Revive your mailing listIf you’ve been collecting email addresses via your website, or another means, that’s great. You have the beginnings of an audience you can start having a conversation with.

If you don’t yet have a mailing list, start one today. The best way to get people’s email addresses on your website is to offer them a freebie, or a VFO (valuable free offer), in return for their details.

Make sure it’s a value laden freebie, not just something you’ve knocked up in five minutes. And make sure that you deliver on the promise you give people who subscribe to your mailing list to get your freebie. There is nothing worse than subscribing to get an ebook on “how to get 10,000 blog followers in one month”, only to find that the content is run of the mill and includes everything you’ve already done and still don’t have those 10,000 followers. True story, by the way. Beautiful ebook, but utterly worthless. To me, at least.

Once you have an email list, don’t be frightened by the notion that you must send a regular “newsletter” to the people on it. I am terrified by the word “newsletter” as it conjures up images of lots of content, broken up into many articles, beautifully formatted and full of useful information. I prefer to use the word “email”. Think of is sending a regular email to your best friend to keep in touch. In that email you can include:

  • links to your latest blog posts
  • an amusing anecdote or story about something from your life
  • hints and tips relevant to your industry
  • special offers just for your subscribers
  • news about your business.

You don’t have to include ALL of the above, just one or two is enough to keep in touch with your subscribers. You want to make those emails friendly and chatty, rather than business like. Your readers should feel as if you were talking just to them and meeting them face to face. Your email communication should be an extension of your face-to-face communication. Keep it to the same style and language.

Use Other Social Media

If you’re like me, you’ve probably set up profiles on a lot of the other social media channels, like Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat. And, like me, you’ve probably abandoned them in frustration, when you began to get results on Facebook. If you ever find yourself without Facebook, or even if you just want to diversify your digital marketing, now is the time to revive some of those other SM accounts.

Instagram is great for engaging with people who are visual learners. If your business sells physical products, it’s the perfect medium to showcase them with beautiful photos. Also, use “behind-the-scenes” images and don’t be afraid to show a bit of your personal side, with selfies and small vignettes from your life. Even if what you sell are services or digital products, you can still use Instagram. You can create visually appealing quotes and hints and tips, using tools like Canva and WordSwag. When using Canva, save your designs to either your Dropbox or Google Drive for easy access from your phone.

Pinterest is similar, with the added bonus that when you pin an image from your website, it will attach the link to where that image came from. Again, use images of your products, quotes, infographics, hints and tips, to promote your business. For more information on how to use Pinterest for business, check out this article.

If your business provides services to other businesses, LinkedIn may be your best friend. Make sure your profile is complete and uses headings that accurately describe what you do. For example, Fashion Design, Business Strategy, Accountant, etc. Connect with people you know and use the search function to find people in your local area, industry and those who would be your ideal clients. For example of you’re a Bookkeeper, you probably want to connect with Accountants in your local area. It is considered bad practice to pitch your services by private message to your connections as soon as you’ve “connected”. Instead, use LinkedIn to share your blog posts, information about your services and to create fresh, value-added content. Do contact your potential ideal clients, or strategic partners when you have a special offer, or when introducing a new product, but make sure such contacts are personal and don’t read like spam. Check out the ThinkBespoke website for useful articles on how to use LinkedIn to grow your business.

I am on day 6 of my second Facebook jail term. While I’m finding it frustrating for personal reasons, I am confident that my business will not be dead in the water because of it. From the very beginning I had invested time and effort in setting up more than one path for my clients to find me, and while I hadn’t kept up that effort recently, I certainly have now learnt the lesson not to put all my marketing eggs in the Facebook basket. I encourage you to do the same.