Two easy questions for small business owners to ask themselves when choosing which social media channels to use

In my role as a business mentor and marketing consultant, I have to know what the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ answers are to my clients’ questions.

Is it better to write a blog post or an email newsletter?

Is it important I have business cards, or just a website?

How often do I need to post on social media?

What are the best networking events for me to go to?

… and the list goes on.

The secret of marketing it this: there is no right answer. There’s only the answer that’s going to work for you and your customers – which will be different for nearly everyone.

One subject I get a lot of questions about is social media. Being active on social media is often seen as a ‘right or wrong’ process.

If you’re working creatively like my clients (either in your own business or pursuing an interest you want to tell people about), it’s likely you think:

  • “I have to use social media for anyone to know what I’m doing”
  • “I have to use it all the time and always be talking to people, commenting, etc.”
  • “Without using social media I’ll never be successful”
  • “There are right ways to use social media – and I don’t seem to be doing them”

… and it’s likely you feel that way because someone, somewhere gave you the impression that those things were true.

But here’s a little secret: marketing or social media commentators are paid to be experts. That means they are always going to say there are newer, shinier things about the online world which you don’t know about (but they do). And they’re always going to say the things they’re invested in, like social media, are super important (because that’s their job).

So here’s another secret. Those things above that you’re likely to think, about having to use social media all the time and never seeming to get it right? Not actually true. At all.

Those commentators have great ideas – but you don’t have to listen to everything they say. Because if you listen to everything they say, you’re likely to get overwhelmed, which leads to inactivity, which leads to feeling overwhelmed, which leads to inactivity … etc.

Instead, I like to tell my clients about two very simple criteria when it comes to thinking about using social media to share your creative interests.

  1. Is this type of social media used by the people you want to share your work with (a community or customers)? and

  2. Can you find a way to use it that feels good and creative to you?

Think of it like this. If the people who you want to see your work don’t use a certain type of social media, why spend your energy on something which they’re not going to see?

And if you can’t find a way to use a certain type of social media that feels good, why spend your energy on something which stifles your creativity, rather than helping it flow?

You can work out whether it’s worthwhile spending your time on certain types of social media by asking yourself these two questions:

Do my community or customers use it?

Does it feel good and creative when I use it?

 

As a creative person, you want to keep the best of your energy for your creative output, whether that’s writing, painting, making or designing.

The second-best of your energy is well spent when it’s directed towards sharing your creative output with others.

If that sharing is through a type of social media which doesn’t feel good or creative, and your community or customers aren’t present, it’s not going to have long-term positive effects on your work or life.

So use something you really enjoy instead – and your community will enjoy it too.


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