• Adam Whittaker

A Necessary Evil

Facebook changes it's name to Meta, they quite rightly decide to 'pause' the idea of Instagram for kids, Prince Harry allegedly warned Twitter about the Capitol Hill riots... the list goes on and on. Every day it seems there is some negative publicity regarding at least one of the social media platforms.

These top level criticisms and developments don't seem to inflict a huge amount of damage on the popularity and indeed reputation of the owners and founders although Zuckerberg never seems to do himself any favours. The relentless dominance of a handful of outlets seems to continue unabated, yet on a more personal and individual level, the negative impact can't be dismissed quite so easily.

A great deal of my work involves 1-2-1s with freelancers, self employed folk and business owners. Naturally, social media features significantly in our chats and whilst the practicalities and technical side (such as hashtags and so on) all come into play, the emotional effect of Facebook et al often comes into the discussion. Often our chats are born of a frustration with algorithm changes, rejected Facebook Ads or a general disgruntlement with one thing or another. New businesses may be unsure of what platforms will suit their enterprise best. However for others it is a resentment.

I know I have talked about this before but it is well worth revisiting. We are always being told we SHOULD be on Facebook, we SHOULD have a website or are greeted with pitiful amazement when we confess we haven't looked at TikTok at all yet. This kind of pressure can be overwhelming, discouraging and frustrating. It's tough enough trying to establish your own business, turn your idea into a reality, or realise that dream, without the extra pressure of some telling you that their mate gets 'all their business from Instagram'. Well, I'll let you into a little secret...if it wasn't my job, I wouldn't be on all the social media platforms I am. I feel I HAVE to be because of my job. If maintaining a presence on numerous platforms wasn't necessitated by my chosen career path, I would certainly ditch Facebook. Apart from the group I have established I don't get on with it at all. Their constant tinkering, the aforementioned scandals and their continued strive for world domination doesn't sit particularly well with me. For those of you that have heard me wittering on at a workshop, you know my cynicism towards it. I take a lot of what Facebook does and represents with a Salt Bae inspired pinch of salt. For me however, it is more of a mild irritation. For others it can feel totally different.

In the last few weeks alone, I have spoken to people who really are struggling, not just with Facebook but with social media as a whole. That sense of overwhelm is far from positive for your mental health when you just want to be making jewellery, baking cakes or just generally helping people. Forcing yourself to sit in front of a screen and scroll Twitter takes away any sense of enjoyment for many and guarantees that the majority of posts you may put out will lack authenticity.

You don't need to be on every platform. If you ARE the business, you simply don't have time, it's nigh on impossible to maintain them all befitting to their audience etc. If you know social media is going to be a key marketing tool for you then pick one, maybe two and utilise them fully. If one of the platforms people recommend you should use, you really do not get on with, then don't use it. It's a waste of time and energy. For some, believe it or not, you may not need social media at all. Using websites like NextDoor with some business cards and flyers (yes - those 'old fashioned' things) may be enough. Alternatively you could network, develop a mailing list and have a decent website to showcase you, your passion for what you do and what you can do for people/businesses. It may sound ridiculous for me to dismiss social media in such a way but on occasion it can be best to ignore it all together. Ridicule me as you may, I know of many people who have heaved a huge sigh relief when this pressure is relieved,

Many people love social media, enjoy trying to outplay the algorithms and get a kick out of posting and seeing how well posts do. For others, the total opposite is the case. This 'necessary evil' has become the elephant in the room, the monkey on their back and any other animal related restriction you can think of. It really doesn't have to be. This is your business but more importantly, this is about YOU. What is the point of going self employed when you are going to inflict daily torture on yourself? You may as well suffer whilst being paid by someone else, with less responsibility, guaranteed holidays and sick pay etc etc.

If you want a 1-2-1 to discuss your marketing strategy, with or without social media, get in touch