Why you don’t ‘have to’ use social media as a business owner
Of course you can use social media in your business, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. Please don’t use it because everyone else is doing it, and it just seems like part of the deal. If you do it, have a damn good reason you are really excited about. For years, I didn’t use social media in my business, even though it’s related to my profession of branding.
Let me explain why:
1. Social media takes time
I have different priorities. I just want to do my job. Client work is always on top of my list. Always.
2. I don’t need it
My clients find me through word of mouth and sometimes via my website. I have a large network and from happy clients come new ones. I think this is the best marketing tool you could ever have. I’m never without work, so I don’t feel the need to do something about (online) marketing.
3. It can be hard
It’s difficult for me to think about what I should write. Creating good content takes time and brain power. I’d rather avoid that; I’d rather design.
4. It’s pretty scary
If it’s not necessary (see point 1 to 3), why should I? Also, I’m pretty scared to show myself and my work. People can have an opinion about it, by which I mean me. And apparently, I do care about what other people think of me, even though I would love to deny this.
5. I want less social media instead of more
I try to live a conscious life and create less (digital) noise around me. From the perspective of my mindfulness practice, it also doesn’t seem like a good idea to spend more time on social media.
Besides that, I have quite the social media critics around me like Tamara Witsche, Ritzo ten Cate and Sandra de Jong. They’ve taught me the downsides of social media and smartphone use in general. So, it is not appealing to use social media more, quite the opposite actually.
Many successful business owners don’t use social media
Since 2011, I have been a self-employed designer who almost never used social media untill this year. I am living proof it’s totally doable to have a business without social media, and I’m not the only one. Lots of my clients do nothing with social media or update maybe twice a year. I see and believe that it’s true that you can run a business without social media. Do you remember there was a time before social media where businesses existed? I know times have changed, but also right now, with a big network in the right place and good word of mouth, you can come really far.
If that is the case for you too and you are happy with your current situation, keep it that way, I would say.
I do want to use social media now. What changed?
Even though I’ve not been that active for years, I always thought I should be active.
Some day. When the time is right.
And since this year, I do see a good reason I didn’t see before. Before, it would be beacuse I thought I had to or to stroke my ego by showing my design work to the world and hoping to get lots of likes. These were never good reasons, so I never did it.
Lately, I’ve had more focus and insight in my business, and it comes down to really wanting to inspire my audience, to make a difference through design and words. I ultimately want to inspire conscious entrepreneurs with brand strategy and empower them to present themselves and their message to the world. This way they can make a greater impact. And I want to contribute to that. I want to grow my business, so I can serve them better, and they can find me easier if they’re outside my immediate circle.
Do you have a good reason to use social media?
If you cannot find a good enough reason to use social media, and you just don’t like it, don’t do it. Just doing it because you think you’re supposed to is bullshit. But don’t confuse that with fear. Being honest to yourself is key.
It is totally fine not to use social media, and you can let go of the idea that one day you should do it. It’s fine if you do, and it’s fine if you don’t.
Using social media should be something you want to do, not something you have to do in your business, like taxes.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t use social media, we are all aware here of the opportunties it can bring. My aim is to make you think about why you want or do not want to use social media and to encourage you to drop the idea that you should. Feel what drives you and decide if you want to put your time and energy into it. Do you feel it is useful to reach your goals? Does it help you grow personally? Is it worth your time? All answers are ok.
To sell more is not a good enough reason
If you have a conscious business that’s doing fine and you are not using social media, I don’t think you’re going to use it if you just want to attract more clients. I believe you have to feel a deeper drive, like connecting with your audience, getting to know them and how you can best serve them. Or maybe you’re like me, who sees her current clients struggle with certain topics (like this one) and wants to empower others who feel the same way. For me, it is also to express my soul. Right now I just want to connect, empower and express. And very important, build my brand. And I want to feel joy doing it, even if I also feel fear.
If you do want to use social media, talk about what matters
If you’ve figured out a good reason for yourself that you are excited about, use social media strategically and talk about what matters. A post of your cat or your coffee might seem awesome to you, but it does not have any value for your audience. Think about the people you want to serve, which channels they use and how you can write valuable content for them. If you really want to make an impact, know who you would love to work for and imagine what tips and inspiration you can share with them. Talk to them like you’d talk to a client in real life.
Or just choose to do nothing and stop judging yourself for it. You’re totally allowed to not use social media and still be a badass business owner.
Wishing you well with everything you choose! And let me know in the comments how your relationship is with social media and if you can relate to this blog.
If you are on social media, do you follow my experimental journey?
That was a very interesting article, Hanneke! Social media has become such a big part of our lives and I’m sure that a lot of people wouldn’t even think that they shouldn’t have to use it if it’s not necessary. Maintaining it will definitely take a lot of precious time that could be used elsewhere.
Yes so true! It’s a choice. You don’t have to and it does cost a lot of time. If you spend your time on it, do it because you want to, not because you have to.