Social Media: A Double-Edged Sword
Social media is now prevalent in every part of our lives. I have seen positives and negatives with what has become a constant element of the daily grind.
Marketing: Social media has changed the way we do business. It has enabled a whole new era of marketing. When I started my company 20 years ago, I took out a yellow page ad, did TV and radio commercials and participated in local car events weekly. This was the only way I could get my business’s name and products in front of faces.
I even did a marketing splash page at the movie theaters while patrons sat waiting for the previews to start. Nowadays, if a business owner asked me if they should do any of those marketing ideas, I would ask why and say it is a waste of money.
Why would I say this? Social media. When Facebook was booming, I had quite a few competitors that only did Facebook. They didn’t even have a webpage or run Google campaigns. It was infuriating. They were gaining traction in my market with free advertising.
Fast forward to current times—if you aren’t exploring and using social media in every aspect of your business, you might as well tap out because your competitors are and will take your market share. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube put you in front of people daily and can be used for free.
Customer Education: This has both positive and negative elements. The positive is that customers are more educated about brands and products. You can reach a much wider audience and put your products directly in front of them without them asking or searching. It just pops up on their feed.
Personal Use: This also has both positives and negatives. We use social media as consumers and to network with friends/family. Like the consumers we target, we are also exposed to new products and insights into what our competition is doing. Some may say that seeing influencers and their success and personal well-being posts motivates, but I will argue that it only benefits certain people and personalities. For many others, it is detrimental, which I will explain when I get to the cons.
Time: Social media is a time suck. This is quite the problem for many business owners since social media is an essential part of business today. The problems start when we allow the business purpose to cross over into personal use. My recommendation is to separate the two. For the business side, assign it as a task with a daily time limit. An example of this would be:
1. Post daily content;
2. Respond to comments on your content;
3. Make comments on 10 other people’s posts (this is important for the algorithms);
4. And you can also turn auto responses on that immediately respond with a message to inquiries. You can then include this in your daily social media time. When these tasks are completed, end your session and include it as part of your business day.
Customer Education: The negative of this with social media is misinformation. So many consumers see or hear something on social media and don’t fact-check. This has caused frustration for many business owners.
Setting customer expectations is more critical than ever. Address common misconceptions when you are with your customers. Explain why you use a certain product or why your installs are how they are and stand behind that.
Personal Use: This one might even be more for myself. First and foremost is the time we waste, as I have mentioned. Once you have separated business use from personal, allot time for the personal side.
In all reality, the personal time we spend on social media allows us to relax while keeping our minds engaged. I remember thinking the other day that it sure doesn’t seem like I have as many hobbies as I used to or that I read as much.
A large part is because of scrolling through Instagram or YouTube shorts. It can suck up my time, and at the end of an hour of flipping through content, I haven’t benefited from anything. Think of all the time added up that we flip through TikTok and what we could have spent that same time on—growing our business, going to the gym or spending quality time with family.
Additionally, I don’t gain inspiration from all the influencers in Lamborghinis and yachts talking about making money and living life to the fullest. As an introspective, self-reflecting person, instead of being motivated, I start to think I am somehow failing. And for all the motivational content, if you aren’t acting on it, you think, “I suck because I am not as disciplined.”
I recently have been avoiding that content or even giving a thumbs down so that the algorithms don’t pick it up. I do my best every day, and I know what I need to do and not to do and what does and doesn’t make me happy. I shouldn’t be comparing myself to another business owner or a content creator who is making money from doing that very content I watch and has a clear agenda or a post or story where someone represents themselves as something they are not in real life.
The Wrap Up
I am using this article to call out myself. I need to be much better about my social media interaction and use it for the positives while working on pushing the negatives away. My first step? Allotting 30 minutes or less a day to social media (including YouTube).
Do you need to change your social media habits? What will be your first step?