As online business owners, we heavily rely on the internet to reach and meet new clients. During COVID-19, the internet has probably become the sole medium for most of us.
Social media is one most of the popular ways to grow your online business.
LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, TickTock or whatever other platforms you use can be fantastic ways to reach new audiences and get new clients.
Social media is also a double-edged sword.
It is very cleverly designed to suck us in and keep us on the platform for as long as possible.
Social media is intentionally designed to be addictive.
As a consumer and as a provider (of e.g. content).
Yesterday, I was listening to my Marketing Mentor and Strategist explaining how social media ‘rewards’ your content with more visibility when you regularly use all of the platform’s capabilities and features.
She was specifically referencing Instagram – the feed, stories, the reels, IGTV, Insta live, messaging, engaging with other people’s posts and responding to comments on yours etc… (My head is spinning just typing this!)
She stressed about consistency which was every day and preferably multiple times a day.
Then, she explained how the algorithm rewards fast action and that you should be responding to comments instantly so that your post is shown to more people.
LinkedIn trainers teach something similar about LinkedIn.
I highly respect my Marketing Mentor and Strategist, I’ve been with her for a few years now.
While I see how beneficial these actions are, it makes me cringe.
The strategies taught by Social Media experts and gurus are not sustainable
For starters, it’s unsustainable and unrealistic for a small business owner to manage their client work, personal life and show up online in the ways social media gurus and experts teach us.
I have lost count how many clients and business friends have shared with me over the years about the detrimental impact that following such stringent advice for social media has had on their mental health, relationships and life in general.
Do you resonate with any of these?
- The pressure to be constantly on.
- Posting every single day (often more than once a day).
- Responding instantly.
- Mindlessly munching on your lunch scrolling through social media.
- Sitting on the sofa at the weekend, phubbing* your loved ones while trying to squeeze some ‘thoughtful’ comment on your ‘potential client’s post’ out of your brain because you’ve been told to do so even when it makes you sick.
The list goes on.
This story of a dear friend of mine breaks my heart.
After 3 months of following similar rules coupled with peer-pressure from a LinkedIn training group, my friend was driven to depression and burnout.
He vanished from the platform for 6 months.
As his health suffered, so did his business and cash flow.
When he reappeared, he shared he feared a relapse.
So we discussed what will be a sustainable way for him to show up on LinkedIn without burning the candle at both ends that matches his introverted personality in the long-term.
More than half a year later, he seems to be finally thriving and he’s able to serve more clients and his business is growing.
I even know people who’ve wanted to quit their online business altogether because they were so miserable about what their life had turned into and couldn’t put up with the pressure.
But it doesn’t have to be this way!
Yes, running a business is challenging.
It requires a ton of you.
It stretches you in ways you could have never imagined.
This is why I think it’s the biggest personal development you can ever undertake (that and maybe having a child but that’s not something I have an experience of (yet)).
I openly share my own troubled love & hate relationship with social media even as recent as this week.
I did some self-coaching on the topic and it helped me make some major shifts and now I’m excited about my direction.
At yesterday’s, Thriving Women’s Collective ‘Brainstorm & Support Get Together‘ we also talked at length about this topic.
The ladies shared their trials and tribulations with social media.
Some admitted that they felt like social media is ruling their life and putting a strain on them and what’s important to them.
Has anyone ever started their online business so that they can become slaves to social media algorithms?!
My clients start their businesses because they want more freedom and flexibility around what’s important to them (e.g. family, health, fun), but following such strategies makes them lose track of what matters and gets them further away from that dream.
This is why these expert’s methods make me cringe!
Just because it worked for them it doesn’t mean it will be sustainable for everyone else.
What Social Media Pros get wrong
They don’t take into account people’s:
- Personal circumstances
- That they also have other work to do in their business
- Energy / Sensitivity
- Menstrual cycle / Infradian rhythm
While I’ve been taking the first five into account for myself and when discussing social media with clients and friends, the last two were huge revelations for me this year.
Previously, I was aware of my energy being affected by social media but I thought it had more to do with just the amount of time spent.
What’s been mind-blowing is realising that there is a lot more to it e.g. what I was seeing/reading, how I was interpreting it, how it was impacting me, what phase of my cycle I was in and any other natural energies.
In my own recent social media dilemma, I created a series of self-coaching questions to help me figure out the right path for me.
Yesterday, I shared some of my thought-process and the questions with the ladies at the Brainstorm & Support gathering and they found them very helpful and insightful.
Would you like me to share this process and questions with you, too?
First, get in touch and let me know:
- What do you use social media for? Pleasure? Business?
- How is your relationship with social media?
- Do you find that it’s ruling your life or working for you?
And I will happily share relevant tips on how you can design your own strategy to healthy, pleasurable, sustainable and productive use of social media that none of the social media gurus and experts will ever tell you.
Can’t wait to learn about your experience with social media.
To a healthy, happy and fulfilled you!
Also, remember to join my tight-knit supportive community Thriving Women’s Collective for daily inspiration and discussion on how to create a thriving life as a business owner.
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