if you spend any time at all on facebook you will know that recent changes have most little biz owners grumbling about the lack of interaction with their fans. i know i have had moments when i swear i can hear the sound of crickets on my page.
but there are 3 things i have always said about using facebook for business
- if you do it well it can help you build an amazing community
- you cannot rely on facebook as THE place you do biz
- when facebook gets you down, log out and open a bottle of wine
i mean, really, whether you are feeling the frustration or not, i think we can probably agree on those things. facebook can be fantastic, but we also have no ownership over it, and there is not much we can do about it.
i am not going to just desert my facebook page - i love the community there too much to just walk away. but i am making changes to the way i do biz online, just as i think we should all be always doing (facebook or not.)
i mean, aren't we all always trying to learn more so we can do better? trial and error, testing and experimenting, jumping on board whatever new thing comes up? if you aren't then you are missing out on some great opportunities for your biz.
i have always asked the question:
what would you do if facebook disappeared tomorrow?
(or insert whatever spot is your favorite of the moment. twitter? pinterest? instagram? linked in? some amazingly cool network / forum that i haven't been invited to yet?)
really, what would you do?
do you have a way to keep in touch with your fans, those people who have shown interest in what you do? of the 500 or 1000 or 10000 (or whatever) fans that you have worked so hard to gain, how many email addresses do you know? how many first and last names, locations, phone numbers, friend connections?
facebook (and other tools) are pretty awesome for that - but we really have no control over that database. we don't even have control over whether people actually hear from us in those places.
you need to build your list
one of the things that i am doing, more now than ever, is trying to take care of my list of amazing subscribers (email list or newsletter list or database or whatever you want to call it). i know that this is one of the most valuable tools i have in my business and i intend to take very good care of those people.
each week when i press send on my email i want to truly be of service each one of those people, i want to help them and inspire them and offer them something i am not sharing with anyone else. they have trusted me with their email address, trusted me to do good by their inbox, and i want to earn that trust, to follow through on my promise.
online tools come and go, fads are always evolving, but if i take care of my people i know i will still have a way to keep in touch with them, one that does not rely on whatever the latest craze is, or some tool that i have no control over.
i know that is just one strategy. i believe in it strongly, so i am hoping to help other biz builders by doing a free workshop on email marketing, because i think if you have an online business and need to do online marketing, an email list should be a priority. but it is not the be all end all to business either. and your biz needs may be different.
so what else could you be doing?
you could get OFFLINE and interact with people in real life. shocking idea, i know! but this does not require any fancy algorithms, any notifications or subscriptions or management systems. just pick up the phone and connect with people. invite them out for a coffee. get involved in community events. network.
(a note on that: even though my business is an online biz, it is not local and doesn't require in person connection, every time i have attended an in person event i have made a valuable connection with someone. a connection that resulted in a job, a sale, or a referral. i will always look for in person events to get involved in.)
you could also diversify your efforts. do not rely on one tool and one tool only. make sure you have your own hub (your website or blog) and get involved in more than one social network. if you haven't yet try twitter, or instagram, or linked in, or pinterest or whatever suits your biz. if something new pops up, give that a try. don't be a dinosaur, don't get left behind still using the tool that everyone else seems to have moved on from. jump into the frey, and give something new a go.