Have you ever stopped to think about your relationship with social media as a business owner?
We spend hours scrolling, engaging, liking, commenting and then spend another 4 freaking hours making a 15 second reel (!). And for what result? Instagram sees our efforts and responds with 4 views and a pat on the back to ‘stay consistent’.
I can’t think of any other marketing channel that requires this much work, yet we flock to social media like a pack of hopeful seagulls.
We prioritise checking our socials- sometimes first thing in the morning, on our morning tea, lunch breaks, before dinner, after dinner and in between! Meanwhile, the owners of these huge companies are rubbing their hands together in glee, watching the dollars multiply in their bank accounts.
It kinda feels like it doesn’t make any sense, until you understand the biology behind it.
Social media is addictive and we’re all hooked.
Social media and the digital age has conditioned us to receive instant gratification for the things we post. It’s all about that hit of dopamine that we get from a social scroll, tap-tap-tap and seeing the messages/views/likes/followers notifications. The problem is this mini ‘high’ is short-lived and we crave more. Like many addictions, we get stuck in the addictive cycle because our brain literally becomes hooked.
We get caught up in how many views, likes and follows we have and it becomes all-consuming.
So much so, that we forget the methods we use for marketing outside (or at a pinch, alongside) social media are just as potent.
In and of itself it’s a testament to how powerful these channels are because they don’t require us to constantly be present and engaging online. They work so brilliantly that we rely on them far less frequently.
It’s time for a priority shift when it comes to small business marketing.
When I talk to other business owners, so often their focus when it comes to marketing, is social media. They lament the time it takes to put together an Instagram reel, or how they can’t keep up with ‘the algorithms’.
They also talk about how they haven’t done anything with their email list, or how they know they should work on their SEO but they haven’t got there yet.
It’s pretty evident that most of us are obsessed with the stats on our social apps despite the fact that they aren’t what’s really working hard for us.
In a global trust in advertising survey by Nielsen 92 percent of consumers around the world say they trust recommendations from family and friends over any other kind of advertising. When you hear info like this it makes me wonder why we aren’t prioritising word of mouth marketing more?
The only way we are going to start breaking our social media addiction is by actively prioritising our other marketing channels. Instead of putting our most valuable content into a social media post where it will die a swift death, maybe it’s time to think about turning them into a blog, an email or even a podcast.
Bringing feminine back into business
Spending less time online can feel unsettling though, because not only are our brains addicted to the brief hit of neurotransmitter-goodness we get from social media, we still buy into hustle culture in society.
There’s an underlying belief that we have to work hard to achieve success.
It comes back to the hold of the patriarchy in the business world (lol – more like the world, period).
To be successful in business we’ve long had the belief that you needed to take charge, ‘strike while the iron’s hot’, outperform and execute – which is all those masculine archetypes. There hasn’t been an emphasis on balancing any of this masculine out with more space and free time to allow for feminine ease and flow.
So, when we find ourselves with space and ease in our businesses, it feels uncomfortable largely because of the way we’ve been conditioned in society. We have an expectation of business and ourselves to keep pushing ourselves constantly if we want to do better and keep smashing goals.
This results in a feeling of urgency to be online and working on/in our businesses all the damn time.
Humans thrive with rest and in-person connection.
We don’t need more time ‘plugged in’ and constantly responding to our phones.
In reality what we need more of as humans is:
- Connection to self and others.
- Quality rest.
- Time to BE without expectation.
- To experience joy.
And the irony is the more of these things 👆🏾 we fit into our lives, the more abundance and success we invite into our businesses.
Marketing outside of social media is more important than ever.
Never before have we been ‘busier’ as a society with sky-high levels of stress, anxiety and burnout. As a collective we are craving time off our screens to ground ourselves. Our minds and bodies are desperate to enjoy activities simply for the sake of them and to have a good old-fashioned conversation and belly laugh with a friend.
Where to start in planning your marketing outside of social media.
It’s tough because there’s so much unravelling to do to start blazing our own trail in this space. It can feel uncomfortable and stretchy to do things in a different way and to lean into trusting ourselves and our intuition.
I advocate for taking small steps in the right direction, instead of trying to burn the whole place down and start again, perfectly.
There are so many other ways to market your business outside of social media. Start by focusing on one other marketing channel that would work for your business, evaluate, then build from there.
You could plan to host an in-person meetup, workshop or social event to encourage connection.
Or perhaps you start to make use of your email marketing program, and start to engage more with your list and build relationships in that space.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Have a think back to events, emails, collaborations or marketing activities that have worked for you in the past then rinse and repeat!
I know that my feelings around social media use for business are shared. I see so many clients feeling burnt out and ready to throw their phones under the nearest bus. In order to break the cycle we need to try something different, which is hard. But in the words of Glennon Doyle “we can do hard things”.
So the only question I have for you now is… when will you begin?
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