One of the things I enjoy the most when we go on a holiday is the fact that I don’t have access to the Internet and social media. I don’t schlepp around my laptop on holidays and my phone is a very basic pay-as-you-go LG, which is not very internet- friendly. We are usually away for a week and because we are not connected it frees up an enormous amount of time to do stuff and experience things in the real world. So I decided that what’s good for me on a holiday is also good for me at home and for this week I shall turn all social media off. When this blog post gets published it still will be distributed via HootSuite and my FB page, after that I won’t be using HootSuite, but rely solely on my email/phone for communication with friends, family and customers, and on readers following my blog to simply spread the word.
Time is one reason I am doing this, but there’s more I want to find out during this week. As a small business owner we are constantly told how important it is to stay connected with your (potential) customer base via social media. Having a neat looking website and a blog apparently isn’t enough. So we have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, are LinkedIn and even getting used to Google+. Oh, and throw in other social media such as Pinterest. How effective your online presence is should be measurable simply in the sales you get out of your activities. Unfortunately, it isn’t as straight forward as that. It takes a colossal amount of time to keep up with it all. And, to me, there is always the danger that you simply overdo your marketing efforts.
Personally I don’t mind seeing the odd page trying to flog me their latest product – I can either ignore it or make an informed purchase decision. However, I get bored if the same page or Twitterer constantly just flogs their products or boasts a lot. Both things I try to avoid – only to get told my own designs need to be more visible. Thing is, if I don’t like it with other people, I don’t want to appear to be doing exactly the same thing. I am not a pushy kind of a gal and a firm believer in “less is more”.
Facebook has been the social media I have been using the most, but in the last 12 months I have noticed that Facebook fatigue has set in. People have closed or abandoned their accounts and are worried about privacy issues. Facebook is constantly tinkering with the website, especially the newsfeed, which means that I only see and communicate with a small number of the FB friends that I have. I also have noticed that my page simply doesn’t get much attention, because most of my “fans” are not customers, some have liked the page for reasons unclear to me, others because they wanted me to like their page and only a tiny fraction seem to be interested in my work.
I haven’t used Twitter much and in terms of communication always have preferred FB – I guess it’s because posts are not limited to 140 characters and the pace isn’t as fast. I haven’t made that much use of LinkedIn either; I’m on Flickr but not on Pinterest and am still new to Google+.
So during this week I won’t be using any of these social media platforms – including HootSuite.
With all the extra free time available to me I can already think of a lot of things I want to do:
- Meet up with a friend in town and buy eye pins from the local bead shop.
- Write a few blog entries in advance so I can keep up with my goal of publishing at least two posts a week.
- Prepare two interviews for UK Handmade
- Read even more books (I have plenty of non-fiction books on my Kindle)
- Get back to exercising
- Get back to the bench (if the weather finally gets warmer, but I have a heater) and create new signature canes and design new pieces of jewellery
- try my hand at sculpting with polymer clay
- Buy a new pair of jeans that actually fit.
- Tidy my inbox
- Sort out some general admin (prepare the dreaded tax return)
- Meet up with friends to go for a walk with their cute dog and a pub lunch after or before.
- Go for a walk with Bobby in the local forest (weather permitting – if it’s too cold she won’t like it and freezes very quickly)
This to me is already quite a long list of things I want to get done, so come Monday the 25th of March I will let you know how I got on with it all and how I coped without the distracting noise of FB and Twitter.
I also want to find out if keeping a low profile is affecting the business in any way. Currently my Facebook page has 438 likes and I have 175 Twitter followers. So I wonder if my absence will result in more, less or the same amount of likes and followers and if I can make a sale this week.
Have you ever been offline for a longer period of time? Let me know how managed by by leaving a comment below.
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