UPDATE: October 4, 2021  – Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are all down!

Just as Facebook’s Antigone Davis was live on CNBC defending the company over a whistleblower’s accusations and its handling of research data suggesting Instagram is harmful to teens, the company’s entire network of services suddenly went offline. ~ The Verge

Though the following was originally published on January 28, 2021, this is still very relevant. Whether Facebook comes back up or not, I want you to understand that you do not own what is there, so be sure to use some or all of the recommendations below to continue to market your business.

ORIGINAL POST: January 28, 2021

In November 2020, I wrote a blog post based on a 2021 prediction that I read stating that one of the tech giants was going to take a huge hit. The person that made this prediction said that the tech giant would go down. I never published the post, because I was not familiar with the gentleman making the prediction. I will, however, update it and post it.

As you can see, right now there are some things going on with some social media channels that I won’t get into here. What I will do is help you to prepare if any or all of them should go down for any length of time.

As reported by Twitter, Screenshot Photo via Reuters

We as small business owners don’t have to inject ourselves into all that is going on but we do need to protect ourselves if we want to continue succeeding in business.

I’m at the point right now where I am thinking of ways to market my business outside of social media. (I never thought I’d be saying that but I’ve gotten this far in business because I’ve had my eyes wide open — and you should always have yours open as well.)

So, let’s think back to how we promoted our businesses before we used social media as a marketing channel.

I started out in 2007 with a simple website and affiliate tchotchkes and Amazon products. Don’t judge me. It was all that I knew at the time. LOL! 🙂

Let’s go back there then and talk about how we can prepare ourselves for what could potentially happen.

How did I sell my tchotchke’s and Amazon products? I sold them by sending out emails to friends. I didn’t know those emails had a name then, but today, we know it as email marketing.

So, what are your options now for promoting your business online in 2021?

#1 Website

If you’ve been on my list for a while, you know I am a big advocate of websites. The first website that I built was an HTML site in 1998, and I can tell you it is far more important for you to have a website today.

What is a Website?

Ha, ha! We all know what a website is, but briefly, it can serve as your online brochure or storefront. It should tell people who you or what your business is, what you offer, how they can hire you, or how they can purchase your products and/or services.

Why Do You Need a Website?

  • Your website serves as the foundation of your business. When you tell people you are in business, one of the first things they do is look for your website. If you don’t have one, they will usually go with another business like yours that does.

  • Your customers expect you to have an online presence. They are looking for a way to buy what you offer online — and online consumer spending is way up.

  • A website will help you answer questions your customers want to ask. These answers will help them decide whether they want to buy from you or the company that didn’t answer their questions.

What Can You Sell On Your Website?

  • A well-designed website will allow your customers to purchase your products and services or schedule appointments.

How Do You Get a Website?

  • You can either build your website yourself by going to sites like GoDaddy or BlueHost, or you may want to consider having your website designed by a professional website designer. (I am not currently taking on any website projects, but there are plenty of web designers ready to do business with you.) Here is an article that will help you prepare for building a website.

#2 Blog

  • If you are a writer, photographer, or someone who wants to showcase your expertise, but don’t have a need for a full website, a blog may be a great replacement.

What is a Blog?

  • Think of a blog as an online journal or a place where people go to get information on topics in your niche. For example, my blog contains social media how-tos. Yours may show people how to write a book or how to take great photos.

Why Would You Need a Blog?

  • Writing blog posts (or articles) can position you as a thought-leader in your industry and can help you sell your products or services.

What Would You Write About?

  • You would write answers to your customers’ questions. What do they want to know? What are they looking for you to provide?

  • If you need more help on what you would write about on your blog, take a look at this article.

What Can You Sell On Your Blog?

  • The possibilities are endless. First, think about what you are blogging about. Are you writing about something that relates to a product or service that you offer? Then that is what you sell.

  • If you don’t have your own products, you could sell what I refer to as OPP or other people’s products. When you sell other people’s products, it is usually through an affiliate marketing program such as Amazon or another company that is willing to pay you to refer their products or services.

How Can You Get a Blog?

  • As I mentioned in the website section above, you can either build your own blog using a website like GoDaddy or BlueHost, or you can get one professionally designed. Just know that your blog will most likely have between one and three pages. I recommend that you have your Blog page, an About You/Product/Service page, and a Contact page. It is however perfectly fine for it just to have one main page and your posts (blog only).

#3 Etsy

Last year, after getting so many requests from businesses who were told to close their shops due to COVID, I began taking a good look at Etsy. I even created a shop of my own based on an idea I got in 2019.

What is Etsy?

  • Etsy is an online global marketplace where business owners can sell their products to millions of ready buyers. Though most people think of Etsy as a place for handmade crafts, it is much more than that. You also have the option to sell both digital and physical products.

[Etsy] empowers sellers to do what they love and helps buyers find what they love. They help creative entrepreneurs start, manage, and scale their businesses.

Why Etsy?

  • Etsy is a marketplace, so they already have millions of customers including those you are looking for.

  • Etsy provides you with a secure platform to sell your products with very low fees and powerful marketing tools that make it easy to manage, promote, and grow your business.

  • You don’t have to have a website to sell on Etsy.

  • You can take control of your shop’s look with customizable options that help put your products in the spotlight.

  • Plus you can manage your Etsy business anywhere using their mobile app.

What Can You Sell On Etsy?

  • Etsy is a unique marketplace. Buyers go there to purchase items that they might not find anywhere else. Everything listed for sale on Etsy must be handmade. They can be physical products that you ship or digital products like ebooks.

How Can You Get Started on Etsy?

  • Click here to Sign up for my Start Selling Art Printables (or Digital Products) on Etsy for Beginners workshop or

  • Get started on Etsy by yourself here.

Etsy art printables imageNow, remember, we are talking about how you will market your business without using social media, so you need to be sure that people are finding your website or blog or people are getting to your Etsy shop.

This then brings us to the fourth way for promoting your business without using social media.

#4 Email Marketing

I always tell people, “If you are not doing any marketing for your business, you should at least be using email marketing.” It’s what I started with, and is what drives the most sales.

Why Email Marketing?

  • Everyone has an email address. Well, maybe not everyone, but just about everyone. Think about how many people you know that do not have at least one email address. Then think about how many people you know that have more than one email address.

  • Not everyone is on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter, but again they have an email address. Think about how many people you know who do not have any social media profiles. I would guess the number is much higher than those that do not have an email address.

  • Using a good email marketing service will help you grow your email list.

  • Email has a higher conversion rate than social media (without using ads).

What Can You Sell Using Email Marketing?

  • You can sell your products, services, ebooks, book appointments, and sell other items by simply sending out an email to your customers and clients.

How Can You Get Started With Email Marketing?

  • There are a number of email marketing services out there, but as you may know, I recommend Constant Contact. I have been using it since 2008. I loved it so much, I became an email marketing presenter and partner in 2012.

I know. Your mind is probably racing now thinking what happens if the email is down, and does that mean we should stop using social media altogether?

The answers to those questions are:

  1. First, please note that no matter what form of marketing you choose, you should always integrate it with other forms of marketing. That will allow you to reach more people in different places.

  2. If email goes down, we go back even further to snail mail, or in business we call it direct mail marketing or direct mail advertising. To be honest with you, it’s not a bad idea to use direct mail now since so many people have stopped using it.

  3. Also, text marketing (SMS) and voice broadcasting are other options to reach your customers. I have used them both – text marketing for my business and voice broadcasts for client businesses.

  4. Should you stop using social media altogether? Absolutely not. We should keep using Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media channels for as long as we can.

With all of this being said, just keep your eyes wide open and be prepared just in case things change. And please if you have a product, service or invention do not wait until the last minute to start marketing your product as so many did prior to last year’s pandemic.

People came to me (some that I met as far back as 2013) looking to move their businesses online. I’m not mad at them. I appreciated the business, and I’m proud of them for getting online in 2020 — and not giving up altogether. I just want to make sure that we are all ready this time around. Life is always changing, so be prepared. 🙂

If you have any questions, be sure to click here to schedule training or consultations with me here >>

Author: Romona Foster

Romona Foster is the Social Media Trainer and Consultant at Social Media How To’s with Romona. Romona teaches small businesses and nonprofits how to use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Google My Business — and the best practices of Email Marketing, Online Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, and Personal Branding. She is a featured contributor with Business2Community and is a Constant Contact Community blogger.