Social media sometimes feels like the be-all-and-end-all of marketing and communications nowadays, but really it’s still in its infancy. In my last post I talked about the immaturity of society’s relationship with social media, and recently I’ve been thinking more specifically about our professional obsession with it. People often talk about Facebook and Twitter in particular as something you ‘have to do’, especially to get a new business off the ground. I have a great example in mind for this – myself!
When I set up Start Talking last Christmas I (of course) set up Facebook and Twitter accounts to accompany my sparkly new website. The idea: connect with potential clients; drive traffic to my website; make interesting, informative posts to build a community around my business; showcase my awesome communications skills. Very nice.
Except that really I haven’t had much engagement on these two channels at all. I had a good go in the spring – I sourced links to blogs and articles, I created a free consultation offer, I pointed out interesting bits of my website, and I posted on local community pages and business forums. I kept up a regular stream of posts and I put as much effort in as I could afford to spend.
Between Christmas and early summer, I saw no more than a handful of likes, and all from my personal friends.
Inevitably, I stopped investing my time in Facebook and Twitter and directed it instead to my website and to LinkedIn. Lo and behold, these two channels have secured me business and potential client connections, both through former professional contacts and organically. Since early summer, I’ve had next to no activity on Facebook and Twitter, and I’ve seen no resultant slowdown in business or engagement. The conclusion? My audience is not on Facebook and Twitter. That’s not how they want to find my services.
So, what should we do when Facebook and Twitter aren’t working for us? People expect to see a presence on these two channels so it seems a pity to close the accounts down, especially as they’re up and running, and double-especially given the nature of my business. On the other hand it serves no one to have two dead accounts, out of date and contributing nothing, cluttering up the Twittersphere (and the Facebooksphere). They make me look bad as a Communications Consultant (!) but as a small business owner I can’t justify spending the time on something that’s not paying me back. That’s what I would tell a client and it’s what I’m telling myself.
The solution? I’m not sure yet. Over the next few weeks I’m going to work on building a Facebook presence that’s worthwhile and interesting and drives traffic to my website if anyone should happen upon it, but that doesn’t require any maintenance from me! If I get anywhere with this I’ll let you know. Meanwhile I’d love to hear your ideas via the comments box below. Never let it be said that there’s nothing left to learn!