Four social media alternatives for small business owners
by Danielle Rose
In a tumultuous digital world, social media fatigue is running high these days. Unfortunately, business owners and small organizations often rely on social media to help their businesses succeed. This isn’t ideal for everyone. On the vast wide web, there are endless options for everything, even social media. Perhaps there are some social media alternatives for businesses as well.
Not everyone can be on social media
Social media, be it Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, YouTube, or any of the other dozens of growing open-platform sites, are household terms these days. A 2013 Pew Research report found that 97 percent of organizations have a social media profile. Many of these companies utilize the pages for marketing efforts. Although there were no available statistics on the matter, the fact is that many organizations utilize these platforms almost exclusively to share important information with their members or patrons. This may seem like a no-brainer, considering that Pew also discovered that 75% of parents use social media and 72% of teenagers use Instagram (but far fewer use Facebook). But what does this mean for families that do not have access to social media, either by necessity or choice?
While creating a Facebook group, or asking everyone to follow an Instagram or YouTube page may be beneficial for sharing photos or videos, fostering connections among participants, or even disseminating important content, I’m beginning to work with businesses who find more and more that their clients don’t want to be beholden to social media platforms for paid or community-offered services. This can be for practical reasons, or simply because families want a more secure way for them to control their child’s digital profile. In doing strategic planning with these clients, we’re discovering new and exciting ways to achieve the same sort of connections and services provided by social media platforms, but with services that provide exceptional customer care, even with free-plan options.
If you are looking to shift your organization’s sharing of private or sensitive information from social media to a more secure and accessible platform, try considering one of the following options for social media alternatives:
Social media alternatives for paying customers
1. Google Drive, DropBox and other information-sharing services
Google Drive offers up to 15GB of free space for uploading content and videos. The content can easily be made private, view-only, or accessible to anyone with a link. You can also choose who can access the content by requiring a login and limiting Google users who can view it. Dropbox works similarly. Additionally, The entire Google suite of apps allows you to collaborate, create private groups (including email groups), share downloadable images and videos, and work together on documents and spreadsheets. The Daily Key would be lost without this functionality. Our writers upload their articles into their dedicated Google Drive folder, ensuring that all editors have access to it and that there is only ever one version. Updates save automatically, and version history is available at the click of a button, showing what user made changes to the document, and when those changes were made.
2. Bluetooth for sharing
Depending on the device used to create and/or edit content like videos, Bluetooth sharing is an easy way to share with clients or participants physically in your office or community space. This can be done through password-protected access to public or private cloud drives, via “airdrop” (between apple devices), or through the use of Bluetooth enabled hardware, like headphones, allowing everyone to access and share the same content quickly, easily, and without much fuss or expense.
It doesn’t take long to transfer even large files wirelessly via Bluetooth, and the process should be relatively painless for everyone, even those who feel technically challenged. Bluetooth is particularly ideal for sharing larger files, like videos of a performance or rehearsal or presentation notes. Bluetooth is one of the more secure forms of transmitting information, and the service can be turned off when sharing isn’t required.
3. Video storage services
Services such as Sendspark or Bonjoro will allow you to upload videos quickly and easily without any size or space restrictions… you are then provided a link to access the videos. Only people with the link can see the videos. It does not require a login to view, and as long as the link is kept secure, it provides the same security as signing into a social media account in order to view privately shared content. It only takes five minutes to create and start using a free account, and the upload process is so much simpler and more user-friendly than with Google Drive. Once the content is viewed, or is no longer pertinent, it can be securely permanently removed, or it can remain accessible indefinitely. Mind Key currently uses Sendspark to create and share private and public videos.
- Super easy to navigate and upload. Quick and easy.
- multiple videos can easily be uploaded using different tabs on your browser
- I have uploaded videos as long as 45 minutes with no issue
- Unlimited storage
- Analytics tracking is built-in so you can see who opened the link from where and when
- Can be viewed on a phone or computer without an app or need to log in
- Free for up to 30 videos per month, minimal fee for unlimited use, and custom branding ($15/mo).
- Exceptional and rapid-response customer service.
- There’s no login procedure, so if someone shares the link others can see it
- Not very easy to upload using a phone
- No associated app
4. Learning apps
A learning app, such as SeeSaw offers all of the functionality of social media, plus a private community platform, and accessible customer service. Families simply need to download the free app with a free account, and they can see all of the videos, photos, and content shared with their students. You can create separate communities, and even create videos for a specific child, or share them with a specific community. Privately created apps such as this are safer and more secure than social media. They are also far more adaptable and foster connections among community members without the traditional concerns of bullying or “falsifying” common with social media. Another bonus is accessible customer service that can address your specific needs, something impossible to achieve with a social media platform. A variety of such learning apps with different functionalities exist. So social media alternatives are possible.
Maintaining access in a rapidly narrowing world
Organizations and businesses must be careful of putting all of their eggs in the social media basket. Although social media has its place in marketing and public relations, forcing families to join and navigate social media sites in order to participate in activities or be fully informed can be highly discriminatory. There are a number of reasons why families may not want to allow social media access in their homes, be it income, access to the internet, anonymity, and safety, bullying, boundary-setting, consequence-setting or simply to avoid some of the mental and physical health concerns associated with social media use. Ensuring that your sensitive and essential information is available and accessible to all creates a safe and welcoming environment for your business and its patrons.