I’ll admit it – like most people, there was a time when my social media habits were unhealthy. It has this way of sucking you in and somehow you lose sight of what’s truly important in life.
When it came to the business side of things, the monthly plans to get emubob out there on social media just ended up consuming more and more of our time. Now, those days are a reminder of why running a small business with a more measured approach to social media is in fact a rewarding and satisfying experience.
You might think this is a crazy proposition but here are the big three lessons I’d like to share with you.
1. Privacy IS important
Getting your face out there and showing your business has a personality is critical for most small businesses. We know all too well how effective Instagram, Twitter and Facebook can be when you’re trying to get your business noticed. But for us, privacy is of utmost importance. Of course, it is a personal choice as to how much private information you choose to share on social media about you and your business.
We have chosen to maintain a relatively low profile online while building a strong image in our local community. As relatively shy business owners we would rather our products speak for themselves, while we are in the background getting things done! This approach is working for our new tea blending business for the time being and we are confident we can keep out of the spotlight for a while yet!
2. Painfully, your absence is not always noticed
The big fear for any business is how time away from social media will impact sales and brand recognition. Obviously, the concern is that people will just move on to the next thing and simply forget about you. For a small business like emubob, despite more than six-months of an informed and well-planned Facebook and Instagram strategy (not to mention numerous paid advertisements) we reaped few rewards. The fact that many of our followers didn’t even notice we weren’t updating our accounts said enough! So, the decision was made to focus on a new strategy and significantly cut back time on social media.
We deleted our Instagram account and now we only post photos or updates on Facebook for major news or events. Our dedicated supporters sign up to our monthly newsletter for offers and exclusive deals so we are keeping connected with our customers. We may have a smaller social media presence but it is working just as well as our previous approach. In fact, our analytics during our crazy social media posting days showed a large majority of our visitor’s looked for our business via a search engine while a low percentage found our website via social media.
3. You have time to address the real needs of the business
By focusing our time and effort on actually connecting with local businesses to raise the profile of emubob tea, we are starting to reap the benefits. Within weeks of our launch we secured a local stockist. Now your product may not be applicable to your local community, hence this approach is not for everyone. Nevertheless, stepping back from social media has allowed us to re-connect with our brand. It seems silly now, but there was a time when we were totally obsessed with the number of likes and comments on our posts and whether our family and friends were supporting our business. This had an impact on our confidence and we began to doubt ourselves. Ok – we may sound like we are not cut out to run a business. i.e. way over-sensitive and with very low self-confidence - but I know we are not alone! The really good news is that by turning 99% of our attention to the real-life running of our business we are on track to realising our dreams!
In no way are we dismissing the value of social media for small businesses, we are simply saying it might be worth reassessing your relationship to be sure you’re putting your needs and the needs of your business first.
Happy social media reassessing everyone!