Social media. Sigh. As a professional, you know how important it is to have a presence on social media… and yet, when it comes time to doing it, you can think of a million reasons not to.
Here are 7 reasons why it’s so easy to quit social media, and 7 reasons why you shouldn’t give up.
1. I have nothing to say.
The most common of incentives to quit, by far. There’s this pressure to transform overnight into a brilliant best-selling author, guru, professional photographer, poet, graphic designer. And, if you aren’t one or all of these titles yet, then you must be a failure, surely.
DON’T QUIT: Start keeping a pad and pen nearby (I have a mini-one in my wallet) and jot down notes when you have “deep thoughts” related to your business or industry. Start an idea or tickler folder (an actual one, a computer one on your desktop, or both) where you gather interesting articles or inspirations. You’ll be surprised how quickly this fills up, and how you actually can have more ideas than you need! Don’t try to be brilliant. Just try to keep to really simple, straight forward, practical bits of relevant information. Usually the most obvious information is the most helpful and interesting.
2. I don’t have time.
Who does? I hear you loud and clear on this one. It’s true, you could find yourself spending a tremendous amount of time on social media if you don’t learn how to use your time efficiently and effectively.
DON’T QUIT: Think of social media as a sport. It actually takes some training to learn HOW to do this thing called social media. You won’t be able to do this without help and guidance, anymore than you’d be able to play tennis or chess or … just about anything. A good teacher will show you how to plan strategically, collect your assets, use a few key efficiency resources, and schedule your social media marketing so it finds time in your business without taking over it. If you are serious about growing your business, you might also begin wrapping your head around hiring someone dedicated only to social media.
3. I tried, and nothing happened.
There are always those stories of huge overnight social media sensations which help send the rest of us into a deep depression. Why can’t that happen to us? “I posted one thing, and no one liked it, so I stopped.” Social media is a marathon, not a sprint. It is an endurance sport if there ever was one. It is the tortoise, not the hare. Stop me from my silly analogies, but you get the picture!
DON’T QUIT: If you can remove your expectations, or at least lower them dramatically, and aim for what you think is a ridiculously low measure of success, you might just surprise yourself. While lowering the results, you want to extend the length of time with which you will commit to steady, consistent posting on your primary platforms. And, in addition to posting your own items, build into your social media strategy the simple act of participating, commenting and liking OTHER people’s posts. This is an excellent way of engaging and communicating without having to initiate content, and you’ll be amazed at how effectively people will react. Participating in other conversations is equally – if not MORE important than initiating your own. Become a resource, a helpful friend, a business that gives and takes.
4. Ads are so expensive.
It’s hard to part with money for paid advertising. It’s harder to part with money that goes to clicks and likes on social media. Here’s where analytics come in handy. First, it’s important to get into your consistent rhythm with social media before paying for results. This is because if you get a burst of fans from ads, but don’t have your consistent systems in place, you’ll lose momentum and that will actually be wasteful and will make you feel crappy and like quitting again.
DON’T QUIT: Try an experiment. Set a budget you can live with losing. Commit to investing this amount for 6 months and see if your sales (or inquiries or whatever measurement impacts your bottom line) doesn’t go up. You might be pleasantly surprised… Or, you might at the very least learn a tremendous amount about how to communicate effectively to your desired audience. If you have managed to create a habit of consistent sharing, and you commit to a budget to invest, and you pay attention to what your audiences respond well to, you should see a direct positive impact on sales. Celebrate the victory with an office dance party!
5. I can’t find pictures.
If you have a business that involves a product, or requires original photography, you are going to want to invest in hiring a photographer on a regular basis. Even though I offer a service not a product, I plan to have my pictures taken at least every other year. But, for regular social media, there are a few resources that have popped up in recent months to help you (see GPS Tools). Or, you could also learn a few basic photo tips and get in the habit of using your iPhone (there are apps galore that offer you fun filters, cropping and graphic tools!)
DON’T QUIT: Everybody struggles with this, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Just as with #1, start a tickler file on your desktop where you can start collecting images you love. Read through my blog to see some of my photo tip essays on how to format and take an interesting picture. Experiment with your phone camera, taking pictures of random things in an interesting way, so you can be ready to snap a good picture when the opportunity strikes. Trust yourself enough to know that you can find interesting visual components. If you do have a relevant event, for the love of all things visual, get in the habit of taking a picture!
6. There are too many social media platforms.
I agree! I put my foot down with Snapchat. It’s so easy to feel the pressure to master them all, engage with all platforms, collect millions of fans, etc. But, here I can offer you some good news: You don’t have to do every single social platform! Woohoo!
DON’T QUIT: The key here is to really study your ideal customer, so you can know with confidence what social platforms they use? Knowing this, commit to being fully engaged on the platform most used by your ideal audiences. To your delight, there are a lot of tools which connect and integrate multiple social platforms (see GPS tools), so most likely you’ll find you can fully commit to one platform, and simultaneously engage fully on a few other key platforms, too. Boom, you’re doing it! Remember the key is consistency and patience.
7. Social media is stupid.
Then why are the biggest companies dedicating millions of dollars to it?
DON’T QUIT: This myth has been deconstructed for the most part, so most businesses now understand that social media is here to stay. For better or worse, advertising and media folks have long known the value of presenting entertaining, compelling and emotional content before a captive audience of prospective customers. The internet has made it possible for small businesses to take equal advantage of reaching prospective customers as large companies – if we’re willing to learn and embrace a few key habits into our routines.
Social media is like the ocean. It swells and moves with or without us. But, we have the option to observe it from afar, or jump in and learn to ride upon its waves. My hope is that, even though we may fall down a few times, we’ll keep getting back up until one day everything clicks, and we realize we’re having a blast engaging with our growing community of customers on social media!