Over the last few years I’ve been seriously reconsidering how and what social sites I use.
Why you ask? Well, because of so much death and sickness in our family over the last couple of years – I have really been evaluating how much time I spend online, what sites I use (or don’t anymore), how much joy my online activities bring me and what the fuck I want to do with it all.
I’ve pulled back from Twitter a bit, stayed active on Facebook and have enjoyed using Pinterest more than I should. Not to sell, push or market anything mind you – but to inspire myself to spend more time creating things that make me happy.
I still hear from folks who think social media is “the debil” and that they are just fine without it “Thank you very much.” (These folks are NOT entrepreneurs and usually are the ones that FWD FWD FWD that old Bill Gates email.)
I’m also confused by folks who don’t understand that you need to build your online community BEFORE the launch of a new product or service. Not so that you can SELL SELL SELL to these people, but so you can gain valuable feedback, course correct before it gets too costly and most of all so that you have your own brand advocates that feel valued as a contributor and not just another name on a list.
A few years ago my husband and I met with a business owner who poured everything they had into opening a retail business only to think of social media AFTER the grand opening. . . 3 months in and they were desperate to make a sale and sending out machine gun messages of SELL SELL SELL. The saddest part of this story was that the advances of local bloggers, who shared similar interests, to help support them online – was met with paranoia that they were going to steal business vs. help attract it. *face palm*
Social media is what you make it. Like any relationship – if you ignore social media and neglect it, it will wither. Your machine gun messages will fall on deaf ears and your grass roots growth will look more like AstroTurf.
Thankfully, my philosophy on teaching clients to do social media for themselves still holds true. I’m happy to hand hold for a while as they learn to navigate and build their own social team. – but true success always comes from real relationships . . . online or off.
Once business owners realize that social media is no different from answering the phone or helping the person that just walked through the door . . . a little light bulb goes off. They get it. (hopefully).
Think of a brand or public figure you genuinely support. Now think of a brand or public figure that comes off as pushy and salesy. Which one would YOU buy from? I thought so.
So what? Right?
Well . . . the “so what” of social media to me is this – I create my own experience regardless of the social platform. The more honest and engaged I am in the conversations – the better the experience.
Pretty simple right? Not for everyone. Good reminder to not be so harsh on those folks who have stage fright online when they are just getting started. Be kind, offer helpful links and advice when you can. Support and encourage them.
Regardless of WHAT social media sites you use, it’s important to go through a digital detox every so often. Take stock of the sites that truly bring you joy and the ones that make you want to take a shower after reading the slimy sales pitches and hollow, almost obligatory, shout outs.
oh, and if you haven’t seen this video by Gary Turk yet – take a few minutes and look up. Don’t we all need a little more tech free happy in our lives?