Why Your Referral-Based Business Can’t Afford to Ignore Social Media

Look: your business HAS to keep an active social media presence even if it’s referral-based. There’s no way around that.

This is not a post about what all social media can do for you or how to start a social media empire. (This is also not a post about why you need a personal social media presence if you’re running a service-based business; find that advice here!)

Why Your Referral-Based Business Can’t Afford to Ignore Social Media SQ

This is simply us grabbing you by the arms, shaking you, and telling you to post on your dang socials once in a while!

Ahem. Sorry about that. But if the headline grabbed you, we know you needed it.

Read on to find out why, and how easy it actually is to implement a social media strategy that will keep your business’s proof of life current!

Post so people know you're still in business.

Even if you read no further than this line, we’ll have made our point.

Maintaining an active presence on social media is a MUST–not just for engagement or marketing purposes, but to show that you are even still in the game.

If a potential client visits your social media profiles and sees a bunch of tumbleweeds, they’re going to assume you're out of business, facing troubles, or not very good at what you do. Especially for micro-small businesses or those run by solopreneurs, a lack of posts could easily be interpreted as you having shifted your focus elsewhere. And no one wants to spend their money at a distracted business.

Post so people can learn your business's unique point of view.

One size does not fit all in the world of service providers, so you want to give potential clients an easy way to see their needs in your solutions. Social media is a quick and effective way to express your company’s perspective, what makes you different, and what your awareness of current affairs is.

For instance, if a prospective client is comparing two SEO agencies, one whose posts focus on quick results and another that highlights a long-term, value-driven approach, the content on their socials can help that prospective client decide which agency aligns better with their current needs.

Post so people know you've been in business for a while.

Even if you’re the absolute best at what you do, a sparse social media page will still raise red flags for potential clients. They want to see the history of your social content as someone who has been in the game for a while. They want to know they’re choosing to work with someone who has a proven track record and at least some happy clients, not some rando chasing fly-by-night success who will leave them in the lurch.

This doesn’t mean every post has to be perfect. It's ok if the look of your graphics evolves over time on your Instagram or your early Facebook posts were super short or a little cheesy. We all start somewhere!

Post so people aren't scared to reach out to you.

An active social media presence will make your business feel more approachable and will break down barriers to making that crucial first contact. If people can see your personality and values through your posts and stories, they’ll feel more comfortable clicking your brand’s follow button, signing up for your list, or filling out a contact form on your site.

This is not to downplay the importance of a beautiful, effective website. But allowing people to feel closer to you via social media does make it much less intimidating for them to reach out.

If you’re into maintaining some mystique, you can always turn off comments. But you still need to have a presence!

Post so you own your handles.

Listen, we don't want you to have to use the handle @Sprinkles_.Bakery because someone else thought your name sounded like a good idea and snatched it up before you did!

Referrals are out there. People are talking about you. We promise! Let's hope it's good, and let's hope when those referrals go looking to learn more about your company that you have some sort of social media presence to back up all the good things on your site.

You DO NOT have to be on socials engaging with all sorts of people and trying to grow your list and knocking yourself out to get the most likes or the most impressions or the most clicks. But you DO need to be there where people are looking for you, looking to get a feel for who you are and get to know you before they reach out.

Convinced of the WHY? Great. Here’s the HOW.

(Spoiler alert: it’s not going to require nearly as much effort as you think.)

What's the bare minimum posting schedule?

If you’re overwhelmed by the thought of constant posting, relax—aim for a minimum of a quarterly update.

That’s right. We said it. Four times a year. If you can do this, it will be enough to show you're still in business and engaged with your market.

Have we always taken our own advice? No. But we definitely see an improvement in inquiries when we do post from time to time. We know that our clients are referring us to their network and that those referrals are more excited to reach out when they see signs of life.

Do I need to be on EVERY social network?

Nope! Choose your primary network (for us that's Instagram) and then crosspost that content on other networks to maximize reach with minimal effort. Work smarter not harder and all that!

Do I have to do videos?

Absolutely not! Yes, algorithms love to prioritize close-up videos of yapping influencer faces, but remember that we aren’t trying to win the algo game at this stage–just trying to keep your business’s pulse detectable on socials. So if the thought of this makes you want to cringe, release yourself. We give you permission.

Is it ok to use Canva templates?

100% yes, with a caveat.

If you're not confident in your ability to customize a Canva template for your brand, please hire a designer to create Canva templates for you to use. If you don't even trust yourself to create graphics from those templates for the occasional post, come up with content for a few posts and hire someone on Upwork to create the graphics for you with your Canva templates. Make sure to get a Canva template file from the designer so that you can use these graphics in the future (Or just hire that person again when you need more graphics!).

Will it make me seem less professional?

No way! Keeping it light and simple won’t diminish your professionalism in the slightest. Occasional posts about holidays, facts about your services, or company milestones can be both engaging and professional.

An active social media doesn’t mean losing mystique; it means enhancing accessibility and relatability, which your clients want no matter how big their budget is.

See? That wasn’t so bad, was it?

Social media is a powerful tool. USE IT. You don’t need to overhaul your strategy or spend every day posting content, but a minimal investment of consistent, thoughtful presence can significantly pay off for your business.

Don't let your social media gather dust. Let it be a vibrant part of how you communicate your brand’s value and ethos to the world–or, at bare minimum, how it at least screams YES, WE’RE HERE into the void!

Do you need help with the look of your socials?

Contact us and let's chat to see how we can get you a whole new set of templates or graphics and any other collateral you need during a VIP Week with our team.

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Jessica Suhr

I'm a designer, gardener, and animal lover, hell bent on creating beautiful, cohesive brands for fun-loving and level-headed small business owners. Read more about me here.

Keep reading, friend!

two women discussing the differences between Honeybook and Dubsado
After a year of hard work, I’ve finally rebranded my business. In 2013, when Lovely Day Atelier started as a side hustle, I focused on designing wedding invitations and other event stationery. But as I grew, expanded my services, and stepped into running my business full-time, the name and brand never quite felt right.