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Do I need a strong social media following to have a successful business?

Over the last few years I’ve had some major changes in my personal life that greatly influenced my business of Mark Brand Boutique. I moved to a different country, I had my first baby, and I expanded our business team. During this time I began to loathe Instagram; I stressed about not posting enough, I was crippled by constant comparison, and I felt burdened by my self-inflicted “posting schedule.” 

There was one dangerous fear that kept me in this unhealthy cycle: the fear that I needed a strong social media following to have a successful business.

In this post we will answer if a social media following is a requirement for real business success and cover three factors that influence the answer:

  • What is your business model?
  • How are you communicating with your customers?
  • What are your business goals?

This post is NOT a hate on social media or its participants, rather it is a vulnerable look into our own personal experience at Mark Brand Boutique and an honest discussion about using social media in a healthy way for your business. 

The experiment: I quit social media

After months of living in a social media cycle of fear and frustration I finally just stopped. I stopped scrolling and then I stopped posting and yes…I even stopped following (ahem cough, stalking) everyone I looked up to in my industry.

The result: I grew my sales by 40% without a single social media post

At first I was convinced my business would fall into complete Roman Empire collapse. I thought I’d lose sales and never recover but to my complete surprise, the opposite happened: I actually grew my sales by 40%. 

Doing this experiment proved that the business model for Mark Brand Boutique WAS NOT dependent on social media after all. My business wouldn’t die without Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook.

Experiment conclusion: we DON’T need social media to have a successful business

Our experience showed us that we don’t NEED to be on social media to have a successful business. There are three majors factors that will determine social media’s impact on your own business:

  • What is your business model?
  • How are you communicating with your customers?
  • What are your business goals?

What is your business model?

A business model is a visual map of how your business makes money and what business activities are involved in the process. For Mark Brand Boutique, social media is a business activity BUT not a significant income or communication channel in our business model.

This may or may not be true for your own business. For example, if you are a makeup artist with no website and your main source of income is from Instagram then yes, removing social media would greatly impact your business. 

However, for many small businesses social media is one avenue but rarely the main source. To determine the impact social media has on your own business calculate the percentage of sales that are derived from social media. If this number is less than 10-15% then social media may not be a significant source in your business model.

How are you communicating with your target market? 

How and where you communicate with your target market is important. For Mark Brand Boutique, our major communication channels with our customers are email and video chat sourced through website and email campaigns. Because we communicate with our target market outside social media we were able to continue to build strong customer connections without a single post.

Other communication channels that you may participate in include networking events, vendor expos, in-person meet ups, direct marketing (email and mail), referrals (in person or online), affiliate linking, and advertising. 

If you have other strong channels for communicating with your target market then you don’t need to rely on social media to do all the talking. 

What are your business goals?

Not every brand or business needs to have the same goals. It’s tempting to compare yourself with your peers and chase after their dreams. Most of the time you don’t even realize that they aren’t your dreams or goals. 

It’s like you got on a plane headed for London but you actually wanted to go to Hawaii. Eventually you’ll wake up and realize you’re not where you want to be and you don’t know how to get back. Even worse, you may not have the financial means to get back and achieve your real business goals. Chasing the wrong dream is a costly business mistake to avoid.

It’s okay for anyone to make social media a business goal & priority; it may be a huge income driver in their business BUT that doesn’t mean you have to follow those same goals. Only invest your time in activities that strengthen your business and align with your own goals.

You need to refocus and find your own business goals

Creating your own business goals starts with a core understanding of who your business is. If you have never taken the time to explore your target market, missions statement, or points of difference then I challenge you to join Brand Bootcamp (Announcing new enrollment dates soon). 

Brand Bootcamp is a 1 week course where we will walk you through how to build your own winning marketing strategy. 

We know Brand Bootcamp works because we even took the branding course ourselves. I’m serious, the marketer took her own marketing class, true story you can’t make this stuff up.

After taking a break from social media I felt rejuvenated and ready to move forward yet still really lost on where to go next. So I revisited our business strategy and refocused my goals for Mark Brand Boutique in 2020. It was an amazing healing experience that humbled me deeply. 

I help people every day discover their marketing strategy but even I can feel lost along the way. Owning and managing a small business is a real challenge that is constantly changing and evolving. So if you’re finding yourself lost and frustrated please know that you’re not alone and there are tools to help.

So fast forward a year and where are we now? 

After I refocused our goals and dreams for Mark Brand Boutique, I felt comfortable enough to give social media another try.

In the end I realized social media is not needed in my business but when used appropriately, social media can be a wonderful way to connect with my audience. Implementing a few guidelines, this is how we plan to use our social media accounts at Mark Brand Boutique in the future:

  1. Never post out of obligation, fear or frustration
  2. Post content that aligns with our goals & dreams
  3. Kill any comparison with gratitude

Closing thoughts: social media can be good or bad; either way social media is NOT required to have a successful business.

When used correctly, social media can be a helpful and valuable tool to grow your brand and business BUT it is not required to have a successful business. You can find your own path of success that doesn’t rely on social media and still experience growth personally and professionally. 

Now you’re probably wondering what’s right for you? Do you need social media for your own business? Use these three factors for assessing how social media will affect you:

  • What’s your business model?
  • How are you communicating to your customer?
  • What are your business goals?

There is no right or wrong answer here, we encourage you to follow your own path that creates growth personally and professionally. And that’s that coolest part, everyones path will look a little different and that’s a beautiful thing.

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