Have you officially been indoctrinated like the rest of us? You’ve read article after article telling you that you absolutely cannot run a business without a social media presence. “Everybody does it,” say the articles and you take them to heart—like the rest of us.
It doesn’t just stop at social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Maybe you’ve turned your business into something that lives on a computer screen. Like the glazed-over teenager who spends most of his waking hours playing video games, maybe you have come to rely so heavily on social media and email that it’s time to ask, how much is too much and how do you know when it’s time to rethink your commitment to all-things-digital? Consider these thoughts.
How much time do you really spend on social media?
The articles say that if you’re going to do it, be ready to commit a lot of time to the effort. One tweet or Facebook post per week isn’t going to cut it but do you know how much time you really devote to the effort? If you’re like most, you’re likely underestimating your commitment.
Depending on which statistic you choose to believe, Americans, aged 18-64, spend an average of 3.2 hours per day on social media. While there aren’t statistics that show how much business owners spend managing their social media profiles, you can create your own. Spend a week writing down how much time you spend managing your online presence each day.
You probably already know the amount of income you produce per hour for your business. Are you generating enough leads or sales through your online efforts to make up and ideally surpass the amount of revenue you’re losing by not engaging in your business directly?
How much time are you engaging with customers and employees?
According to this infographic, the amount of time we spend socializing with others has dropped. That’s not only unhealthy at home, it’s unhealthy at work. There’s a reason big companies like Google spend a lot of money managing and creating a positive company culture. It’s not just important, it’s vital.
You probably don’t have the money to offer free legal advice, all-you-can-eat buffets, and liberal time off but what you do have is the ability to make your employees and customers feel valued. If your social media efforts have taken the place of building the company culture and positive relationships it’s probably time to back off a little.
Do you avoid conflict by emailing or Facebooking?
Handling tense situations is a fact of life for all business owners and often, how you handle them is just as important as its outcome. Sadly, it’s now commonplace to handle conflict via some sort of electronic means when a real conversation is in order.
Sure, some companies are turning to Twitter to handle customer inquiries but there’s still nothing better than a personal touch. If you’re relying on social media as a means to avoid tough situations, it may be time to re-evaluate your conflict resolution practices.
Do you place your self-worth in the hands of Yelp?
You can admit it—it’s OK. If you have a business that is subject to Yelp or other social media-style review sites, you may feel a little piece of your self-esteem die any time you read a negative review. Although you’ve read the recent statistics showing that one of every five Yelp reviews is fake, you still put a lot of stock in how you compare to other businesses.
You should take negative reviews seriously and take steps to answer negative reviews but if you’re constantly checking review sites and firing back cyberbullets every time somebody expresses a negative opinion, it’s time to log off. Address it, offer to make it right, and let it go. Every business has negative reviews. Yours won’t be an exception.
Do you actually believe that you could function without your smartphone?
If you uninstalled your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn app, how long until you were frantically downloading the apps and reinstalling? Can you put your phone away during meetings or family time? Could you refrain from checking your email even if you hear or feel your phone’s alert?
We live in a distracted world but your family, employees, and customers still expect you to pay attention to them when they’re speaking to you. Keep your phone on vibrate and put away when you’re talking to somebody. The Facebook message you just received can wait while you show the person you’re with that they’re important.
The articles aren’t wrong. Your business can probably benefit from a social media presence but knowing how much time to invest will require a lot of trial and error. Know how much time you’re investing in social media and how much return your business is gaining because of that investment. Social media is important but not so important that it should take significant time away from proven revenue-building work.
© 2013 Attard Communications, Inc., DBA Business Know-How®. May not be reproduced, reprinted or redistributed without written permission.