We were unsure about whether to include this blog when re-designing our new website because the world and our attitude towards social media have changed considerably since the original post was written. We were already beginning to shy away from social media because we felt we were wasting too much time on the various platforms and, honestly, they just felt more and more like toxic environments, particularly Facebook and Twitter. Our decision to try and step away completely was further inspired after reading Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism, which articulated our concerns using scientific research and suggested pragmatic solutions to minimise the time spent on social media. Since April 2020, we’ve hardly wasted any time on any of the platforms. Netflix’s Social Dilemma further cemented our new attitude towards social media. However, millions of people do still use social media and it can be a useful tool, so we will attempt to give an unbiased argument for using it.
What started out popular amongst the younger generation, soon became ubiquitous amongst the older generations and businesses: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Tik Tok and numerous others. Each platform has its own nuances but they all let individuals and businesses connect and share thoughts, photos, videos, news (real, fake, and debatable), and adverts (which is how the platforms make their money). The younger generation is much quicker to move from one platform to another, and attempting to keep up can be (and often is) exhausting. From a business perspective, the best platform is still Facebook, simply because of the number of users and the tools available to promote products and services. However, Instagram is also popular. We suggest choosing one or two platforms you are familiar with. And we don’t suggest constantly changing platforms to keep up with the kids because it will be exhausting and your time wasted, rather than well spent on your business.
Providing businesses don’t constantly try to sell their products and services but, instead, share interesting content and engage with customers in a positive manner (particularly when they complain), the experience should be rewarding for all users. From a customer perspective, you are able to reach out and engage with small local businesses, national companies and huge multinationals. From a business perspective, customers can reach out to you with questions, and it means they can see how you value engaging and dealing with issues in a (hopefully!) positive manner.
You can share links from your website (particularly blog posts) and other sites with relevant content whenever you’re on a social media platform. However, such an ad hoc strategy is likely to see you forget to post regularly (not necessarily a bad thing) or, worse, lose yourself for longer than you planned because you get distracted by yet another cat video posted by your Aunt Doris. Our advice is to invest time in creating a monthly planner (Excel is perfect: channels in the top row; dates/times in the first column). Create a mix of content between educational/interesting (that relate to your business), and Sales & Marketing (with links to your blogs, products and services). Conversational engagements are ad hoc, involving online networking and responding to @mentions, which you can’t plan for.
Use the same handle (e.g. @jigsawkloud), where possible, across different platforms; making it easier to find your business. Once you have created your accounts, you will need to generate followers by reaching out to the network you already have on each platform. You can add social media links to your website but we discourage clients from this as they’ll lose website visitors to Facebook’s infinite scroll and Aunt Doris’ cat videos.
Use images or videos as much as possible, and ensure any links to your own website contain good quality images that are relevant. Once you have created a list of educational, and sales & marketing posts, open an account with HootSuite and link to your chosen social media platforms. Instead of logging in to numerous social media accounts on an ad hoc basis, you can schedule as many posts as you like from one place, which is more efficient and avoids wasting (what should have been productive) time scrolling through an infinite newsfeed (when you just wanted to share a discount promotion). So, take control of your business social media like Daenerys with her dragons.
Yes, social media can be a useful tool to connect with friends, family, and businesses. However, it is becoming apparent that there are also many negative consequences, so we need to be mindful of our relationship with it. An excellent cross-browser plugin is the Social Fixer for Facebook, which gives you control over what appears in your newsfeed. Unhook YouTube is another useful plugin which blocks video suggestions (so you don’t lose yourself down the rabbit hole) and removes comments. The silence is bliss.