Hey folks! Welcome back to Short and Sweet Newbie Week!
Yesterday, we tackled how big your list needs to be before things start getting good. If you haven’t seen that, you can check out my answer with that pretty little link right there.
Do you have to be on social media to build your business?
Now! Isn’t THAT a great question to be asking so early in the journey! (How many of us wish we’d asked this earlier?)
Given that my last public stance on social media was “I hate it with the fire of 10,000 suns”, you might be surprised by my answer. 😉
As we did yesterday, I’ll give the short answer, and then the details.
No. you do not have to be on social media. At all. Ever.
And it is a really big “but”…
Social media meets very real business needs. You don’t need social, but you do need to get those needs met.
Now that All The Social Media Things have become ubiquitous in so many circles, it’s easy to forget that before the advent of social, we achieved each of those needs another way. Your grandmother who came over on a boat from Poland had a deli and, weirdly enough, she held her own, even without a Facebook group.
So, no… you don’t need to be on social media, but social media has meaningful benefits. If you’re going to go my route and avoid it like the mall on Black Friday, you’re going to want to get those benefits through some other means.
This brings us to the obvious question – which benefits?
Social media provides social proof. When you’re interacting with people on social media, you’re proving that there are people who find you worth interacting with. We humans are pack animals, and few of us like going first. We want to know other people don’t think you’re a weirdo. It makes us more comfortable.
(This is double true if we’re talking about your products or services. If Tiffany says, “OMG Naomi, I loved your template pack! I used it for my services page and it made things so much easier”, you now know that Tiffany liked my template pack. Who’s Tiffany? Who cares? That’s not how brains work. Knowing Tiffany from Phoenix liked it is good enough for most of us.)
It provides actual proof. If Wendy asks me a question on social and I answer it, and you see that answer? You just saw me prove expertise. Look! I actually DO know what I’m talking about. If Sophie asks a question about her login details and you see me help her out, you just saw me prove customer service. And so on.
It provides visibility. While there are a lot of exceptions to the “out of sight, out of mind” rule, it does have some merit. Particularly when you’re first starting out, having people see your face and experience your brand over and over reinforces their connection with you. Especially if you don’t plan to make a lot of contact in other ways, social media facilitates getting your face in their face.
It provides low commitment, low-stakes interactions. In a capitalist society, most communications from businesses are actively – even exclusively – commercial in nature. There’s nothing wrong with that, but prospects keep their guards up when consuming communications. They have to, otherwise the world would bleed them dry. Social media provides an opportunity for repeated low commitment, low stakes, non-commercial communication. It lets business owners communicate or broadcast in a less transactional way. I can crack a joke and you’re not all guarded thinking I’m after your wallet all the time.
(Note: I am ABSOLUTELY after your wallet. That’s what business is. I’m just not after it all the time, and I try to make sure you enjoy the process.)
These are real, meaningful, non-trivial benefits.
Now, do you need social media to get these benefits? You absolutely, definitely, positively do not. I am not on social, and neither are many of my colleagues. It is not required. But it is a good idea to consider how you might achieve social media’s benefits in other ways, ones that are better suited to you.
I achieve social proof with testimonials and client stories, and horsing around with regulars and veterans on live calls.
I achieve actual proof, as well as visibility, through series’ like these, and a backlist of meaty content in both written and audio form.
I achieve low stakes interactions with my ridiculous podcast and its ridiculous doorbell.
You can achieve these things through hosting an annual seminar series or summit. You can be a guest on podcasts, or make your own. You can give samples of your work. You can have a fun little newsletter.
There are TONS of ways to achieve what social media achieves, without the downsides many of us choose to avoid.
You just gotta be thoughtful about it.
Now, what’s next in our series?
Tomorrow, we address a very interesting question I don’t think I’ve seen anyone tackle before, and that’s… how long is all this going to take? As in, how many hours do you have to put in per day to make this baby business of yours work? How many hours till you hit escape velocity?
In the meantime:
Special note! In honor of Short and Sweet Newbie Week – and newbies! – for this week, you can get a sweet deal on my beginners’ course, Zero to Hero. It’s designed to take you from “hi, I’m new” to “this is starting to look suspiciously like a business” in 21 short and simple lessons.
Check it out here: