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Rethink Your Marketing Opportunities to Align With Your Brand

Are you wasting time marketing your brand in the wrong places?

7 Min.
A purple field with a green smiley face, a yellow indifferent face, and a red frowning face.

In January of this year, I decided to delete my Instagram. And while I technically still have an Instagram account (but maybe not for long!), I haven't logged into it in months. The first question I got from anyone I talked to about this transition was, "What about your business? How will you market it?"

I wrote about deleting Instagram on Substack and what brought me to finally say "goodbye" to my small following. And now, six months after the fact, I've been thinking about how the transition has served my brand. The TL;DR is this: I never got customers from Instagram. And I didn't need to get customers from Instagram. I had other marketing and sales tools working for me that were much less stressful to manage.

Building a brand is about meeting your customers where they are and understanding how to connect with them. The platforms you choose to spend your time on are representative of your brand. As communication theorist Marshall McLuhan said, "The medium is the message." Any communication we share is an extension of ourselves (our brand) and the characteristics of the tools we use to share our message shape the message itself.

When Twitter (RIP) first launched, users were limited to 140 characters, which meant they had to be short, sweet, and to the point. Brands quickly found ways to adapt their voice and tone to fit this shortened style.

Instagram Reels are limited to 90 seconds, which, in today's attention economy is a long time. To keep users' attention, brands must adopt an entertainment-first approach to content.

Consumers are inundated with emails daily. In email marketing, brands must constantly (and consistently) provide value and incentives for users to sign up. They leverage flashy subject lines, attention-grabbing graphics, and compelling calls to action to drive conversion.

Most social platforms like LinkedIn, X, Instagram, and TikTok are a volume game—how many eyes can you get on this post and how can you convert them to buy? But, let's say you run a service-based business and you and your team only have the bandwidth to work with 3 clients at a time. You aren't playing a volume game. You're focus is on finding the three people who are ready to buy from you. So rather than creating oodles of content, you can focus your efforts on more personalized levers for marketing — think networking with colleagues and potential clients, setting up a referral program, and pitching yourself as a guest for podcasts.

So, before you spend hours and eons on the current trendy app, here are a few questions to consider to discover where your brand may make the most meaningful connections with its customers.

What's your message?

Before you can begin communicating with your customers (no matter the channel) you must have a clear message and value proposition so you can accurately communicate why they should care to connect with you. By defining your key messages (a brand strategist can help with that!), you'll have a framework for communication and understanding the value you provide to your customers and how you articulate that value and your core offer.

What's your goal?

There are lots of different sects of marketing that serve different purposes: growth marketing, which helps you—you guessed it, grow—by focusing on customer acquisition and retention, brand marketing, which centers around promoting brand perception so audiences can build brand recognition and an emotional connection with your company, content marketing, which involves distributing relevant content to attract audiences, and more. Each type of marketing serves a different purpose and is a means to a different end (or, in some cases, a means to an ongoing cycle). By understanding where you are in your business now and where you want to go, you can identify where your resources are best spent.

How many customers do you need?

Are you selling an affordable, physical product or are you selling a high-ticket service? Depending on your overhead, your price point, and your capacity for fulfillment, you may not need more customers! You may need to focus your energy instead on making direct relationships with your ideal customers. You may also learn that your energy is best spent re-engaging previous customers rather than re-inventing the wheel. Instead of creating content for mass audiences on Substack, you may focus on doing more direct outreach to your ideal clients. Rather than running paid ads on Facebook, you might consider pitching yourself as a guest on a podcast.

How do customers find you?

Before investing in a new marketing channel, consider where your customers currently find you. As with my initial example, no one ever found me or my business on Instagram. Rather, my network of followers saw my content, understood what I did, and referred people to me (often via email). Rather than investing more of my time and resources (and let's be real, emotional well-being) into Instagram, I instead focused on making connections with my top referrers and sharing more about my work and who they can introduce me to. Do you have a great referral network of partners who continuously send you new business? It may be worth investing more time in education with them than starting from scratch on TikTok.

After you answer these questions, you may discover that you do in fact, need to create consistent content for Instagram, TikTok, or any other app. On the other hand, you may discover that there are more direct channels to reach your customers that are—let's just say it—closer to the money.

Deleting Instagram from my phone was initially met with concern (both my concern and the concern of my friends and colleagues) about my marketing strategy. However, this decision ultimately led me to focus on more effective, less stressful channels that better serve my brand and customer needs. When you consider where your customers are and how best to connect with them, you can make strategic brand choices that align with your business goals and offer the best representation of your brand.

So, before you spend hours and eons on the current trendy app, take a moment to reassess your strategy. I'm happy to say I've found my stride without Instagram and I love for you to find that your best marketing opportunities lie elsewhere.

Hey, I'm Jamie!

I want to help you see your business differently.

I believe when we see our business holistically, we can make smart decisions in the name of growth. I believe when we bring more of ourselves to our business, we attract brand super fans. I believe founders should (and can!) have more fun.

Let's re-discover your passion and define your brand's purpose...and have some fun along the way!

Jamie R. Cox | Brand Strategist