We’ve become slaves to algorithms, status updates, and the cold, hard data that shows how we’re “performing,” not only day to day but hour to hour and minute to minute.
Somewhere in engine search land, I picture a few hairy, sweaty middle-aged men laughing in uproariously as they tweak algorithms and watch all of us poor schmucks deal with the fallout.
As small business owners, we have one most precious commodity: time. And social media can be like a giant drain where our time swirls away from us.
The Glitter of Social Media
I’ve attended a lot of meetings and conferences in my 15+ years as a professional writer. And one question that is bound to be posed in any event is: “Which social media platforms should I use to find customers?”
I too used to feel a lot of angst about this. I would listen raptly as the keynote speaker or marketing expert would share all the “inside information” I needed to find my “tribe” online. And then, with pages of notes spread over my knees, I’d clutch my pen thinking, “I must focus on this. This is the top priority. I must be on at least three social media platforms three times a day to be relevant”.
So, I tried. For a long time, I tried being everywhere: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Slack, and Reddit. I blogged like a maniac and felt like I spent the better portion of my workday shouting ideas, inspiration, encouragement, and questions out into the great black void of the internet.
And you know what happened?
Or at least, not much. And that was for three reasons:
1) I tried to be in too many places.
2) I didn’t go where my potential clients were.
3) I burned out.
Letting Go of Social Media
Things changed when I reassessed the craziness of my social media schedule and homed in what was actually working. This took a little time and distance. And yes, I’ll admit, it was scary. Letting go of Facebook where I’d built a small following (but wasn’t really seeing any results other than learning about people’s kids’ interests or what their pets were doing), was a little frightening.
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) runs rampant, especially online. But finding more free time and more focus had definitely been worth it.
Through my social media analysis, I discovered some important information: LinkedIn was where I needed to be for business writing.
I’ve let all the other platforms go (hello Facebook freedom!) and haven’t seen a decline in my business. If anything, I’ve had an increase in new clients probably because now I have time to build real connections, reach out to people one-on-one instead of en masse, and (gasp) do my priority work instead of dabbling on social media.
Is Quitting Social Media Right for You?
Only you can decide if this is the right choice for your own business. Looking at the data certainly helps. And while it’s difficult to pinpoint with accuracy what leads come through social media, it’s not as hard to track which posts/information/images got the most interaction.
If you can find those, then look at other metrics like new client calls, online forms filled out on your website, newsletter subscribers, and more, around the same time and try to find where the two intersected.
That was too complicated for me. I went the simple route. I dropped accounts one by one and saw what, if anything sales-wise, changed.
You may be surprised to see that your numbers don’t change all that much. Or that you find with the additional time you’ve freed up you have more energy to put toward sales calls, scheduling coffee meetups with potential clients or developing skills to boost your business overall.
If nothing else, you’ll at least see which social media platforms really are important to your business and continue with those.
Joy helps small business owners to cut through the clutter online by creating shareable stories and memorable messages that motivate customers to action. She specializes in business, mental health and wellness, and professional development.