Can quitting social media benefit a small business? Will logging off all of my social media accounts positively help my business, or bring unforeseen disadvantages in the near future? I decided to find out with a 30 odd day experiment, a little naive to what I was embarking on and clutching to the one assumed hope I had of "Social media is a distraction, remove the distraction, work better, do more work, become better off". I was either going to come to some realisations or I was going to dig myself deeper into the hold I was already stood in. But being the sort of person I am, fascinated with pointless challenges against the natural flow of society, just maybe I'll discover something worth the while. What follows is my running-blog of logging off social media;
On the weekend (Aug 14th 2021) I decided to log off all of my social media profiles, from my computer and my phone. I did not delete them, just logged off, removed the saved passwords and placed the onus upon myself to hunt the house for that little red book of passwords we all have if I wanted to login again. (We all have a little red book of passwords right? Or are there better ways to manage your passwords?). I set one or two mysterious statuses online, and pinned a link to my contact page on my Facebook page. I messages a select group of family and friends to let them know what I was doing, what followed was a surprising influx of support.
Entry 2: SEPT 30th 2021 - 48 Days off social media, still getting enquiries & still alive
So it's been 48 days since I logged off social media (all of them, business and personal profiles) and I still feel no urge to log back on. I still get business enquiries from my website, in-fact I've had a couple more than usual, high profile leads and small job requests. I don't feel my business is missing out on social media right now or that there was a time I needed to share or post something to any followers. Saying that, I do plan to launch some new services tomorrow (October 1st) and a new pricing policy, which would be good to post on social media, but I will refrain and just stick with adding a notice to my email signature and notice on my websites contact page (and home page in-fact).
I keep getting business enquiries, more than normal I believe. Maybe it's a trend non-influenced by being on or off social media, but ultimately I feel social media did very little for my lead generation. Convinced most enquiries came from recommendations or web searches and through my website.
Personally I have not missed it, I actually feel more content and focused on myself than the 10383 million problems everyone else is posting all over Facebook or Twitter. There is without a doubt a benefit for ones wellbeing not being tied to social media accounts and activity. Even my wife said "trust me, you'll take one look at my Facebook feed and you'll quickly realise why you'd want to stay off of it" when I asked her opinion on whether I should log back on or not.
I want to think more about the business impact of being on or being off social media, look at the benefits and negatives and turn this post into a reasoning to why small business owners should consider investing time into social media, outsourcing it to a freelancer (and supporting local freelancers), or staying off it entirely and focusing their efforts on marketing that returns better results.
Entry 1: AUG 16th 2021 - Why is my body instinctively trying to log back in?
Its been two days since I logged off social media and to my shock, I am still here, the sky is still blue, birds still sing in the early hours of the morning and unfortunately Love Island is still on TV! No one has called me in a blind panic looking to see why I was not on Facebook today and I have not felt a wrath of withdrawal symptoms.
It's been pretty easy, I've just worked as best as I can, since I have a great deal on. I've only really found myself hovering my mouse cursor over the spots I used to have Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin browser shortcuts to find there's nothing to click. I've opened my phone a few times looking around for the Facebook App icon.
I've realised a few odd inherited behaviours of trying to find my way back onto social media, but no real urge or desire to log back in. Like my body or mind is pulling me back, yet my logic is questioning it and trying to justify the action. Perhaps the 'ease of access' to these platforms creates behaviours we do so seamlessly that we don't really realise we're doing them, until we've scrolled past the 4th Market Place listing or 3rd Facebook Watch videos of the day. When you realise you've opened your phone several times today and then closed it again after you couldn't find the Facebook App icon, makes you wonder whether we're on auto-pilot or fully aware of what we're doing? Because I know I removed the Facebook app the other day, yet I still checked for it several times today.
If social media does create a tendency to jump on there inherently, without even thinking about it, how productive can we be as a small business on there? Are we logging on with a precise action plan, or are we logging on as a small business just because some instinct is telling us to, because every other small business is on there and we 'must' logon today?
It's like walking in and out of all the shops in town aimlessly, with no real plan to look for anything specific, or buy anything particular and we're just walking around these shops simply because the other 327 people in town are.
My take away for the last few days is noticing an instinct to login to social media for no apparent reason other than because my mind/body is telling me to.
Credits; Cover image, Merakist on Unsplash.