Compared to the blog post below, the video above communicates
this message with more passion and nuance.
Watch it if you can :)
“If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit.” -- Banksy
There are good people in my circles -- those I would love to stay in connection with -- who are tempted (or have decided) to deactivate their Facebook accounts… or even leave social media altogether.
This makes it harder to stay in touch, and far less likely for them to be top of mind for me. I’m also concerned for the viability of their business, if they lose the long-term marketing benefits of using social media effectively.
This is really the key -- instead of quitting, why not learn how to use social media with better boundaries (practicing better self-control), and thereby tap into the marketing benefits for your business?
Think about one of your favorite thought leaders. Maybe an author, speaker, or activist. Now imagine that they boycott social media. Are the platforms better off with them gone? I don’t think so. People simply lose the benefit of their direct content and guidance on a regular basis.
Don’t leave Facebook or Instagram. There’s enormous good when you use it effectively. It brings benefit to your business, and to the causes you wish to champion.
There’s no other easier tool for growing a true audience. (I welcome you to challenge me on this: tell me another tool that’s as easy and effective, compared to using Facebook or Instagram, for growing and nurturing an audience?)
You might tell me that there are authors and other thought leaders who are well-known and don’t use social media. Sure… your work has to be so extraordinary that people are willing to share it even without making it easy for them to do so -- using social media.
That’s a laudable goal for you to have -- to arrive at such high quality content. But how do you get there? Testing it on social media is the easiest way. See the 3 stages of content creation.
For example, there is no quicker method for market research than by using social media. Polling an audience has never been this simple to do. Check out the examples from some of my students:
(These links were shared with their permission.)
There’s no easier way for small business owners to quickly test an idea than doing something like this on social media.
Yet, by boycotting social media, you are essentially deplatforming yourself. You’re being canceled -- by you. You’re self-censoring. You are removing yourself from the main attention flow of society, thereby making it harder for yourself to market your business or spread worthwhile messages.
People may think they’re showing their virtue by leaving social media, but that signal is a blip after they leave. We forget about you quickly if we don’t see you on a regular basis. Our minds are occupied by others we see regularly.
"SOCIAL" + "MEDIA" -- news from those you care about. Why would you let that go?
If you don't enjoy looking at the social media feeds, you need to set boundaries with whom you decide to follow. Yes -- unfollow those whose posts don't interest you. Then social media will start to be meaningful again.
“But what about the quit-social-media movement?” The irony is that it will never take off… because it doesn't have social media support!
Take a look at this chart of Facebook worldwide usage. Do you see it going down, despite the scandals and horrible media coverage since 2015?
The tech companies will always make social media interesting enough (ok, addictive enough) to keep people coming back daily.
Again it's your choice: practice boundaries or give up? Why not use social media while practicing self-control and thereby model (for others around you) the good boundaries in your use of tech?
Related: How using social media can be a spiritual practice.
It's a wonderful tool that I use with careful boundaries, and it brings so much benefit to my life both professionally and personally.
Facebook, for example, is a tool that has done unspeakable amounts of good for individuals, families, nonprofits, and businesses, not to mention expanding the influence of the thought leaders and social movements that you agree with.
Any popular social media platform (FB, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) allows you to easily make an impact, compared to any other tool.
Instead of leaving Facebook or any "bad" social platform, why not use it to engage and make a positive difference?
And if the good people leave, who's left to share worthwhile, thoughtful content? You know that the vast majority of society is still going to be on social media on a regular basis. They’ll just be consuming shallower content than what you could provide.
What about ads on social media? Scroll past the ones that don't resonate with you, and click on the ones that do. You'll tune the algorithm to show you more interesting things.
Related: Is it unethical to use Facebook Ads?
Too many people think they can just suddenly build a following on social media when they need to, e.g. before they publish a book. It takes way longer to build a trusting audience, so I recommend that everyone start ASAP to build an audience even if you don’t yet have clarity on what to sell.
Social Media platforms explained simply:
1. It studies your interactions with the tool and other users on the platform, so it can give you more of what you are doing on the platform -- more of what’s apparently interesting to you. So who’s at fault? They’re just giving you more of what you do on the platform. So it’s your responsibility to engage with the content that is good for you.
2. By doing its best to keep you coming back, social media platforms make money by showing you ads, which must follow rule #1: to be interesting to the user… you.
To summarize, people hate social media / Facebook because…
a) Politics they don’t agree with. Well, why not stay and champion the causes and politics that are important to you? If you’re being censored, use different terms to communicate your message. It takes some creativity, but it’s worth it.
b) Boundaries of one’s own use (or your kids’ use) -- this means being a better parent (including to oneself) by practicing better boundaries of how much to use social media, and for what purposes. On the one hand, practice boundaries with your own consumption and scrolling. On the other hand, practice boundaries as regards to people-pleasing -- not having to respond to notifications and comments unless you want to. Let go of what you don’t have time for.
By maintaining good boundaries with using social media, you grow your self control, and gain the long-term benefits of social media marketing for your small business. There’s no easier tool for growing and nurturing an audience of buyers.
What else about social media makes you resistant to using it? Let me know. I'll try to answer.
You can comment on this Medium post or below this FB video.
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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