We all know the world of social media is changing fast. Tik Tok is now the biggest platform worldwide and Instagram is becoming a shit-show trying to keep up with (copy) it.

Facebook has been bleh for years. It basically acts like an address book and ok, groups are a free space to grow an audience, but even then we are kind of over it, aren’t we? If you want to get anywhere as a business, then you need to spend money and with the privacy changes that Apple made, can you even target the people you want to target anymore?

According to a mobile measurement company’s data, ‘Apple’s privacy changes on iPhone have cut the average mobile advertiser’s return on investment by almost 40% and caused them to drop mobile ad spend by 25%’.

Add to that the fact that we have become more discerning about who we chose to spend our money with or invest time in and marketing our businesses in the virtual world is kind of feeling like hard work.

So have we all had enough of social media? 

Instagram has always been my favourite channel, but now, the only accounts I see in my feed are other businesses. Every third account is an advert and every second is a ‘suggested for you’. So I am only seeing an account I follow one out of three. Add to that the amount of spam accounts and there does not feel like much point in using it. A recent study estimated there are 95 million bot accounts on Instagram – that’s 1 in 10 accounts. It makes the metrics laughable and worthless at best and a waste of advertising budget and time at worst. And don’t get me started on reels… I often feel it’s like coming out of a quiet meander into a full-on noise.y kids party! so what if you reel has had a million views – what does that mean… really.

And before you move all your energy onto one of the others, Facebook and Twitter are no better. There is a reason Elon Musk is rethinking his purchase, it’s estimated that 20% of twitter accounts are fake.

Yes, bots can be useful when growing a new app. They can make a platform look populated which encourages others to join, but if those in charge are not on top of it, it gets out of hand.

So, who the hell are we engaging with? The ‘social’ seems to have gone out of social media. Have we all become broadcasters, shouting into a void? 

I blame the pandemic. It catapulted us into a virtual world at a speed few of us were prepared for and keeping up is exhausting.

So, what do we want as business owners? 

How do we authentically market our businesses without selling our souls to the algorithm devils? What type of on-line marketing aligns with who we are and our business values?

I know for me it is not making a tit of myself on the latest social channel. I am a little introverted and I am all for a performance, but where I chose that to take place, and it’s usually for the benefit of a select few, not thousands. I refuse to play the reel games!

And I guess that’s fair enough. As small business owners, we jumped onto the socials because we could do it for free. Once the banal updates and pics of dinners and holidays and #lovingmylife had run its course, we did not know why we were on there, so it gave us a purpose and we had a captive audience. It was good whilst it lasted.

But it’s all changing too fast. A big business with a big ad spend can afford the videographer, the editor, props and the time, most of us soloprenures, freelancers and small businesses can’t.

So what’s there for those of us who do not want to do this style marketing?

I never say to any of my clients – tough, do it. I say the total opposite – don’t f**king do it! Seriously, you do not have to sell your soul to market your business.

If it’s you, if it works for your business, if you have the time or resources to make good quality content, then amazing, but if you don’t… well, don’t.

It’s becoming harder to do in the current world but always stay true to you, your values and your business mission. Where else are your people hanging out? As business owners we are creative thinkers so find those solutions. Sometimes that means taking a step back and marketing in those ‘old fashioned’ ways.

For those who like the digital world, LinkedIn feels like a safe-haven at the moment. Forever the optimist, I feel like it’s for the hard core who are saying NO to endless video, trends and cheap tricks. If we all stick together, surely they cannot make us do it!

My advice would be to use and utilise your website – update the content regularly, create landing pages for one off offers. Email your list – write a newsletter, send them with some interesting insights, news or, dare I say it, opinions.

Host a face-to-face event, an online webinar, a masterclass but be honest – if you are going to use it to upsell, then be transparent and let your audience know that’s happening.

Always give value and stay up to date and relevant. That way, people will keep coming back to you. You become the authority and their go-to resource.

Times are changing – we want learnings and connection – we are done with the small talk.

Keep focused

There will be other Social Apps which come along – take Clubhouse and BeReal, which is finding a little success this year with Gen Z’s. Interestingly, it markets its self as ‘not a social media app’, and does sound like fun, yet if the growth continues it’s only a matter of time before it’s populated with businesses and advertising, bots and anyone worth anything migrates onwards.

I for one am looking forward to the day we can hide behind a virtual avatar in the metaverse. I envisage an old-fashioned style high street where we can sell our offers and interact with business’s and punters like we used to… just it won’t be real. But who knows what’s coming, Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t, so all I can do is speculate.

Want more insights and acts of rebellious marketing? Then get in touch or join my CreatiV Content Club.

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