I’m not against social media. However, I think it’s misunderstood and oversimplified: People seem to either love it or hate it.
Be sure to check out part one of this series about using social media in your wellness practice or coaching business, which is about mindset and perspective as a business owner.
In this article, let’s take a closer look at 11 reasons why it’s not a good idea to rely on social media alone for marketing your solo wellness business online (or offline)
1. Social media is designed for.. (well..) socializing
For busy, distracted, and sometimes even bored and nasty people.
I’m talking about the purely social platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, not the search-based platforms, such as YouTube and Pinterest, which are often classified as social media even though people don’t go to these platforms to socialize.
So bear with me.. the primary focus will be on Facebook in this article, but stay tuned because I’ll also be talking about other platforms.
I think it’s a fair guess that when people are on social media, they aren’t searching for the solution to a problem or something to buy.
Some might argue that more people are buying on social media, because it’s easier.
However, just because it’s possible, doesn’t mean that most people will, especially if the buyer’s cycle is longer than it would take to buy a pair of socks or an impulse item. This is the case for most service-based entrepreneurs who help others solve a specific problem.
It’s unlikely that someone will buy from say, a coach just because they stumbled upon them on Facebook or Instagram, because contrary to what some gurus are saying, people don’t always go to those places to buy stuff. They generally go there to distract themselves and hop from one squirrel to the next.
Note: I also understand that platforms like Instagram and TikTok may work very very well for certain industries like salons and retail fashion. Some successful YouTubers also have a great system for selling low cost items and memberships, as well as monetization.
For those who are selling their expertise and an applied strategy, especially if their audience is primarily on Facebook or Instagram, the cycle is going to be a little different.
Without some of the pieces of this cycle, or funnel, running in the background on autopilot, they’ll likely reach a point where they are burnt out and can no longer sustain the pace it takes to obtain and take care of leads via social media alone.
We are all just another “squirrel” on social media.
2. Many are choosing to spend less time on social media, not more
For the first time in many years, fewer people are showing up on and engaging with Facebook and Instagram. Other channels seem to be growing rapidly.
It’s not necessarily about me cherry picking one set of data to guide your decision, and of course you want to factor in other variables, such as your niche, your message, your story, and how you want to show up on a consistent basis.
Is your audience still hanging out on social media? If so, have they moved the party to a different room? (That’s where the best parties often end up, right?)
For example, my “tribe” consists of people that list freedom as one of their core values. They also tend to be intelligent and love to geek out on the topics that hold their interest. It’s harder to find them on some of the huge, more generic groups and communities, so I take time to research other places where they might be hanging out. (Other groups, other platforms)
Haha.. when I have TIME.
Because I don’t want to spend too much time on this. I’ll even ask like-minded colleagues and friends to show me where they hang out so that I’m not wasting my time in some of these groups that are full of fluff and spam, and lack anything particularly useful.
I also leverage friends with large audiences that may have people that resonate with my story, message, and brand, and where I resonate with theirs. I’ll talk more about this in part 3, where I’ll dive more deeply into specific ways you can make social media work for YOU.
3. ..Yet we are still under pressure to conform without any valid reasons WHY social media will help us and our business.
You may have heard from some sources that social media is THE best way to get new leads. But when you look for actual, solid reasons WHY it will help YOUR business, you don’t find it.
Instead, the message is: “This worked for me and it will work for you” or “You need to get with the times and get on board or you will be left behind.”
Maybe it’s because there are those with huge followings that only need to create a single post and people will buy, but this isn’t very common. These are outliers.
Maybe it’s the extroverted GenZ marketing guru who loves spending hours on SM and thinks that anything that originated in the 90’s is “old school” and irrelevant, but has no solid data to back up this belief.
Maybe it’s the “bro marketing” dude that still insists that “hands down, the only way to get more leads is to________ (be on social media, invest in paid ads, etc) This may have worked for them, but will it work for you? Maybe, maybe not.
Maybe it’s all the messages we’re bombarded with about “going viral.”
Newsflash: The majority of successful business owners and marketing experts don’t advise anyone to rely on large followings (who may or may not be qualified leads) and viral posts.
Putting all your eggs in this one basket is like having a portfolio made of only more volatile stocks, instead of a well rounded one. It also doesn’t take a lead through your entire journey in a way that YOU can control. (#5, #10)
I admit that social media isn’t my zone of genius. I still haven’t really cracked the Facebook group code, and I’m completely uninspired by Instagram and Twitter. I’m more into podcasts and other long form content that can be showcased on search platforms. (My preference)
However, I still integrate social media into my marketing if it allows me to:
- Drive traffic to my website
- Feature my evergreen content
- Create a plan that works for me behind the scenes rather than requiring me to show up every day, endlessly, without a break
- Interact with my ideal clients in a genuine way
- Gather information about what my ideal clients and customers really want, in their own language.
I sure as hell won’t show up because of the pressure to conform.
4. Those dang algorithms
I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, and how frustrating it can be that only 10 percent or less of the attendees at your “party” (your community) will even see most of your posts.
It’s not a valid reason to quit altogether, even though it does seem kind of depressing to put in so much time and thought and effort into creating content that nobody will even see or engage with.
This doesn’t mean it’s necessarily smart to de-activate your account. IT DOES mean that once again, relying on social media to keep your pipeline full is really putting yourself at unnecessary risk by allowing the whims of a large company to control such a large portion of your own business.
I’ve got some solutions for getting around this problem in part 3 of this series.
5. Social media is a random, not intentional journey
It’s the “Let’s keep ordering more pasta dishes, because we’re gonna need a lot of them to throw at the wall to see what sticks” approach to getting and warming up leads.
But this is exactly the “strategy” I see in some of the wellness groups, where “flying by the seat of your pants” is exalted and praised. This focus on the present while ignoring the future isn’t what I imagine any informed leader or visionary CEO would focus on in order to grow a real business.
Every business, no matter how big or small, needs some sort of plan or direction, or it won’t end up going anywhere. Even when detours and missteps and pivots happen, (they will) we still need direction.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say you want to promote a service that you know will help some of your audience. You can choose to guide the journey from lead to client with an intentional series of content (aka a funnel) that leads them from:
- Point A: (A blog, video or podcast)
- Point B: A small commitment via a subscription. This is often done by giving a freebie (a checklist, template, quick tips, quiz, or challenge) in exchange for an email address.
- Point C: A series of emails to offer genuine value and/or a community where you can also have a 2 way conversation with your audience
- Point D: A landing or sales page
- The final destination: A new client or patient or customer!
Again, this particular funnel is just an example.
If you rely on social media alone, what your audience will see instead are hit or miss and random posts controlled not by you, but an algorithm that is designed to keep everyone on the platform for as long as possible.
No matter how much you’ve “trained” Facebook to get more eyeballs on your stuff, it’s still not going to be a huge reach.
What you need are intentional and essential “touch points”designed to nurture and build trust.. OFF their dang platform. This is especially critical for service based businesses that are based on expertise and applying a strategy in order to help clients, patients, and customers get the results they desire.
Taking cold leads and earning their trust so that they naturally become warm and hot leads is a thoughtful and creative process that you own.
There is no ONE way to do this.
The key is in creating a chronological journey and even a story arc that makes sense to a human brain, rather than being bombarded with fragments that take work to piece together, if they are remembered at all.
Social media can be a part of the journey, but it’s too random and messy and unpredictable a place for this to happen on its own, even though it is still a good place to host a community/laboratory.
It also creates a lot of unnecessary work for you. (See #6)
It’s more about what’s sustainable for YOU, in the long run.
6. Relying on social media alone takes too much energy to sustain over time
This is my personal favorite reason.
I don’t like the idea that I can never, ever slow down or take a break, and how unsustainable it can be to keep cranking out new content that has the shelf life of sushi on a hot summer day.
I find that I have to keep treading water on a daily basis if I rely on social media. It can get exhausting, trying to come up with new content, keep in touch with friends and potential leads, and fight to keep eyeballs on my stuff, rather than the next cute dog video.
I also don’t like having to spend hours chasing down clients, and I’m sure potential clients can also smell a chase from a mile away.
Plus, I’m an introvert. This kind of thing wears me out.
Even for the most extroverted, it’s likely that one day they will burn out and get very, very tired of the constant presence and churning out content that disappears within days or hours.
This is about more than avoiding burnout, which is a common theme with business coaches. It’s about sustainability and growth via a framework that isn’t dependent on we, the founders of our businesses, doing everything, all the time.
Social media can easily turn into its own part-time or even full-time job. And then building an actual sustainable business becomes a mere “side hustle.” This is backwards.
If the front end work in #5 sounds like a lot, it’s a LOT less work than coming up with new social media content every day.
I’ve seen some business owners who appear to be glued to their inbox and spend most of their time focusing on the present, rather than cultivating ways to stay in touch with their audience and build leads for the future.
Relying on social media often means that the business is dependent on the constant presence of the owner/founder/CEO, when they should be focusing on how to build and run a business that can still function without them.
THIS is a concept that seems foreign to many entrepreneurs, but if you really think about it, ignoring this concept tends to be our downfall.
I can already hear many saying: “But this is what gives me joy. Nobody else can do what I do!”
Although there is truth in this, at some point, in order to grow, I believe we need to shift towards creating a more sustainable framework or system that allows us to step away from the stuff that someone else can do, or that can be done automatically.
Questions to ask yourself:
Are you focused as much on building a repeatable system that will ensure the future sustainability and growth of your business, or are you enslaved by the present moment and endless days of winging it and re-inventing the wheel?
Can you imagine a growing and sustainable business with a leader that is on social media for hours each day?
See part 3 of this series for more about how to make it easier on yourself.
7. “Pay to Play:” driving organic traffic to your website is getting harder to do from purely social platforms
You may or may not have noticed that it’s getting more expensive to run ads on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
While paid traffic can be part of a well-rounded or holistic marketing strategy, and may make sense for you and your business, the truth is that it’s getting more expensive, and that organic reach is getting smaller.
Again, I don’t see this as a reason to quit social media, but it’s another reason to put your eggs in other baskets.
8. Facebook jail and account suspensions DO happen to the best of us.
This isn’t something that happens to just “those bad people.” I’ve witnessed it happening for the most ridiculous and arbitrary reasons. The “community standard” doesn’t always make sense, and the odds of an account suspension happening aren’t as small as you might think.
What if this happens during a big launch?
If there’s no other reason to convince you to put your eggs in some other baskets, this might be it.
9. The social media companies don’t care about you or your small business
Not that I expect them to, but small business owners, even though they create a large chunk of the content, are pretty much ignored on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Despite the cartoons and “we care about you” messages, the reality is that it is a revenue-driven business designed to keep visitors addicted and on the platform, not about driving traffic to a small business website.
In order to make it work for us, it could mean having to “pay” with our time or money. In other words, it’s kind of expensive to rely on pure social media to get more clients, IF it’s your only strategy. (#7)
Questions to ask yourself:
What happens when you stop posting?
What happens if you stop paying for ads?
How long will it take you to get the paid ad strategy working for you? Can you afford to do it right now?
How do you take a potential lead to the next step without hounding them with DM’s?
How can you leverage content you already created, instead of having to wake up everyday and create more, because it disappears within days or hours? Tip: This blog will spin off oodles of future content for me.. the hard work has already been done.
If you don’t know the answer to these questions, you are letting Zuck run the show.
(I’ve got tips on how to play the game so that you don’t go broke or turn into a slave in part three of this series)
10. You don’t get to control the narrative, branding, pacing, or visibility of your business on social media.
I want new leads to be taken on a journey that takes place on MY turf. My hub. My one-stop shop. My movie. My story.
I want to do this in a systemized way that isn’t random, and can be paced in a way that makes sense to my audience, leads, and paying clients and students.
I’ve taken a lot of time to develop my brand, my story, my message, my narrative, and my entire ecosystem, so that I can actually stand out from all the noise out there on social media.
It goes without saying that I want to control my narrative, message, and brand without having it eclipsed by the look, feel, and experience that Facebook and Instagram provide, as well as their “community standards.”
I also never have, and never will, focus on creating “viral” content. I don’t even focus on creating rapid growth in my Facebook group, even if these are the benchmarks that some social media experts use to measure the success of their campaigns.
I don’t care how many followers I have, or about creating a viral post, To me, this isn’t a good strategy because:
- It takes no commitment at all to click on a LIKE or FOLLOW button. The half life of a like today is about 90 seconds, if I were to take a random guess. This dead weight can even hurt your reach.
- It’s about quantity, not quality. Most followers from viral traffic aren’t even going to be high-quality leads (in other words, YOUR ideal client or patient or customer)
- You really aren’t as in control as you think you are if your main goal is to create viral posts
- Most viral posts don’t last very long.
For those who have managed to create large and focused Facebook groups, (and a personally know admins or moderators of groups over 5k).. I bow to you.
Large Facebook groups can be very successful, but they can also become a burden and actually take your focus away from your other CEO and managerial duties. Unless you have plans to add other admins and moderators, I strongly advise keeping the growth of your group focused on high quality members, and keeping growth in check till you come up with a management plan.
And of course, the timing and pace isn’t about YOUR system, but theirs, and again, keeping eyeballs and attention on their platform.
Questions to ask yourself:
What happens when your viral post fizzles out?
Do you have a strategy for getting those viral viewers on your website or email list?
Do you have a clear message, story, and brand, along with a system that drives the journey you take your people through? Or are you relying on social media to do that for you?
Are you in control of your own narrative? (Content, content length, voice, branding..)
Are you in control of the pacing and timing of your communications with your audience and leads? (For example, evenly timed messages that are likely to be seen leading up to a launch, or “spray and pray,” hoping that the algorithm gods are smiling upon you?)
If not, then the next reason definitely applies..
11. It’s never a good idea to build a business on a platform you don’t own.
It surprises me how many entrepreneurs are willing to allow social media and its whims to drive their ENTIRE marketing strategy, and to completely neglect the development of their own proprietary systems and intellectual property.
Social media can play a role. But alone, it doesn’t make it easy to showcase your evergreen content (your blog, podcast, or video channel) so that you don’t have to come up with content on a daily basis.
This goes for ALL the content you create.
Why not focus on creating more intellectual property that you OWN, and leveraging it? I’m talking free content, yes.. but also gated content: You can also focus on member-exclusive content that is only available for a monthly subscription, books, low-ticket offerings, programs, or signature courses that you can profit from.
Again, social media is awesome in that it provides a way to communicate freely.
I just don’t think it’s a great place to focus on creating content for, and that our intellectual property needs to be created, curated, managed, and leveraged OFF the platform.
Of course, excerpts can be copied and pasted and repurposed for social media, but I don’t think it’s the place to put ALL our best stuff.
It’s more like a movie trailer that gets people excited about the actual movie.
Remember, it’s free, and you are not the customer, but their product and product creator. Why work so hard for THEIR benefit?
I’m going to wrap part one of this series up with one last thought: Social media isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s an important part of an effective marketing strategy, when done in a way that suits YOUR business.
Here’s what I care about:
I care more about generating real, high quality leads CONSISTENTLY, over time, with the least amount of time investment possible overall. (This could mean more work up front, but less work down the line, and I’m cool with that)
I care about the small business owners and real people who enter my Freedom Based Wellness Entrepreneur Community, whether they are leads, potential collaborators, or friends/colleagues.
I care about enjoying the time I spend interacting with real people who I’ve come into contact with and want to hang out with, and I hope it’s mutual.
In part three of this series, (coming in a few days) I’m going to show you 11 ways to make social media work over the long haul, so that you don’t have to hustle, chase, or “dance and point” your way to success.
Yes, I go even deeper and offer more tips, insights, and “secrets.”
Instead, can show up in a way that feels more natural, relaxed, inspired, and efficient, even if you are just getting started, are an introvert, or don’t want to feel pressured into “doing the stuff” just because it seems like everyone else is.
Need help with automating your business?
Social media can be a time suck.
If you find that you are becoming a slave to your social media accounts and following, it may be time to take a close look at your social media strategy.
You don’t want to stop there. It’s also important to pay equal attention to the systems and workflows of your entire business, and how everything works together in a holistic manner.
This isn’t just for big corporations or even small businesses.. today, solopreneurs can benefit from affordable tools (NOT just tech tools) so that they can create something wonderful and sustainable for themselves and for their clients.