A while back, we put together this list of alternative social media platforms. However, this list was curated with personal social media in mind.
Since then, we’ve put some thought into the best marketing alternatives to Facebook/Instagram for small businesses, and we’ve come up with five for 2021.
These platforms do most (if not all) of the things that FB/IG do, and probably better. They also don’t do many of the things that we wish Facebook wouldn’t do.
Why Telegram is the best alternative
Here are the five most apparent strengths of Telegram:
• Total privacy
• No advertisements
• No algorithm
• Direct engagement with your audience
• Easy to share content and manage conversations
Telegram is branded as a secure messaging app, but you can use it to share audio, video and image content, as well as links to we pages (like your own blog, or to a product page).
You can start a channel to share content. With each post you make, there will be a separate comment thread that users can click into. This keeps the main chat thread from getting too cluttered, and gives you all the functionality you really need for small business content marketing.
The best part about Telegram, though, is the privacy. Telegram is a free app that doesn’t rely on advertising money (it’s been funded by donations). They have no motive to spy on users, and the encryption protocol prevents them from doing so if they tried. This is important, because it absolves the developers of any responsibility to censor or otherwise curate content. There’s no algorithm to game, and no regulations about the content you post. Ultimately, controlling the content and dialogue is up to the channel admin.
To drive traffic your telegram channel, post the channel address (example: t/me:inquisitek) on your business cards, website, and branded apparel.
Signal is a clunkier twin to Telegram
Like Telegram, Signal is an encrypted peer-to-peer messenger. You can use it for the exact same things, but it lacks one key feature, which is the ability to have a separate a comment thread for everything the admin posts. This can result in long conversation threads that obscure your own posts.
The solution to this is to have two separate chats: one for posting content, that you keep “locked” so only the admin can post. The second channel will have open discussion. That way, a user who shows up late to the party doesn’t have to scroll through a 245-message thread just to find out what people are talking about. They can bounce over to the locked chat, see everything you’ve posted recently, and then engage in discussion on the open chat.
We prefer the Telegram layout better, but there’s no reason not to publish your content to both. Because Telegram and Signal serve the same need, some users will only have one or the other.
Minds is an ad-free platform in the mold of Facebook
If you’re still interested in a traditional social media platform, Minds is a good replacement to Facebook. The biggest problem you’ll face is that there aren’t a lot of users there. This can be a good thing, though. It means that you have fewer other users to compete with, and as we covered in the aforementioned article about algorithms If you’re still interested in a traditional social media platform, Minds is a good replacement to Facebook. The biggest problem you’ll face is that there aren’t a lot of users there. This can be a good thing, though. It means that you have fewer other users to compete with, and as we covered in the aforementioned article about algorithms, gaming the algorithm can be difficult and expensive.
Minds has two major advantages over Facebook. The first is that they don’t censor content as heavily. Their platform is branded as a “free speech” oriented tool. We can’t vouch for the strength of this commitment, but we’re pretty confident saying that it’s more open and free than Facebook.
The other advantage of Minds is its unique funding model. It’s based on a crypto currency, and I’m not going to get into the economics of it all here, but it has several implications:
• users can essentially own a piece of the platform
• there’s a built in method to pay content creators for content you find valuable, that doesn’t go through a third-party like PayPal or Visa
• There’s no advertising, which means there’s no incentive to spy on users and steal their data
Gab is a haven for “the censored”
Gab is also built in the mode of Facebook, and has a commitment to free speech. Some users might find they don’t fit in there, because Gab has become what some people refer to as a “haven for hate speech.” This is helped along by the fact that Andrew Torba, the creator of Gab, has aggressively branded himself as a pro-Christian, right wing advocate.
That doesn’t mean you have to be either of those things to use the platform. If you and your customers will be comfortable there, it’ll probably be a useful marketing tool. It doesn’t really seem to have any upside over Minds, other than the fact that there’s a lot of active users. We also can’t vouch for how committed they really are to privacy, because they do run advertisements.
Nextdoor helps you connect with users that are close by
If you’re not familiar with Nextdoor, it’s a Facebook-esque tool that allows neighbors to reach out to each other. You have to provide your address to sign up, and once you do, you can get into your neighborhood group. Your neighbors will see all you post, and vice versa.
The best part about this model is that you’re not competing with too many users. You can probably see the value in this to businesses that have a customer base in their immediate vicinity. For marketing purposes, you have to register your business and launch a business page.
We don’t recommend cluttering up your neighborhood feed with unsolicited marketing content. However, it makes sense to check in on the feed regularly, because users who are trying to support local businesses will often ask their neighbors for recommendations. They could be looking for a businessjust like yours, at which point you can send them to your business profile or to your website.