Facebook is notorious for frequently changing up their algorithm — so much so that there are entire websites devoted just to telling marketers and businesses how they can best ride out the alterations and ensure their engagement doesn’t take a dive. In the most recent round of alterations, the behemoth social networking site has made it even more difficult for brands to push their products without also offering some kind of content. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing — Facebook says the move is designed to cut down on “overly promotional” posts and information — but is indicative of the kind of moving target that social media managers and even small businesses are up against when it comes to getting their products and services in front of the right potential customers. Luckily, Facebook isn’t the only game in town.
Though Facebook has the lion’s share of users, there are numerous other social media platforms that small businesses, sole proprietors, freelancers, and even big companies can use to find new clients and expand their network. And not just Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest either, though all of those are great picks. Other sites, which allow much more direct contact (and more compelling content) can help you get your brand in front of potential new audiences, without directly having to sell them something. Plus, they don’t cost you any money to try.
Here are some of the other outlets you might consider adding to your marketing strategies.
Quora. At its most basic, Quora is a place for people to ask questions and get answers. Which means, as a company or brand (or even individual), if you’ve got industry questions, you can potentially get them answered on Quora. But you can also, as an expert or an influencer, help spread the message about your work by answering questions. Questions like “what are the skills that all photographers need?” or “what does your cost of business look like?” are good places to not only help people by providing first-hand information, but also subtly slip your links or other information in to the mix.
Medium. Everyone was a little vexed by Medium when it first launched; Was it a blog? A social media platform? A news site? A WordPress replacement? Turns out, it’s kind of all of the above. The content platform allows anyone to create articles and posts that, thanks to a pretty high degree of customization, are able to look almost however you want, within reason. Interested in starting a more visible blog for your brand? Medium might be a good place. This blog post can help you explain how to get started.
Reddit. Before we dive too deeply into the potential for Reddit, a cautionary warning: Do not expect to jump into Reddit and immediately be warmly welcomed. Though it is a wealth of information and insight, at times, it is also an ecosystem with its own language and culture — and it is not a place to just start advertising stuff. That said, if someone on your team or someone you know is a regular Reddit user, and you have some real information to provide or share, it can be a great place to disseminate blog posts and other salient content.
Tumblr. Tumblr has rapidly become a darling of companies who want to look, well, more fun. GIFs, small posts, quotes, images from around the office, or even links out to other content are perfect for this highly-used, community-based site. IBM — possibly the least fun company many of us could think of — for example, has invested big in this platform, producing and re-sharing small amounts of content that are entertaining and interesting, but not necessarily marketable or even quantifiable. Which is an important distinction with this kind of marketing; don’t start exploring one of these platforms because you’re hoping to drive a ton of sales right away. Instead, view social media sites like these as places to boost your overall brand awareness and generally help more people find out about you for little or no money.
Your users probably still exist on places like Facebook and Twitter, so abandoning those sites completely is probably not going to be a smart plan any time soon. But if you want to reach new users without spending a ton of ad money, it might be a good idea to meet them where they are — which, often, isn’t the heavy-hitting social media platforms.