So that Social Media thing. It’s not just for “the kids” anymore. Pretty safe to say that these days, everyone knows that.

I’m also guessing that a lot of us have some pretty strong opinions about it all…..whether we’re entrepreneurs or not (yet).

But the truth is that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and whatever the latest, fastest, and most fashionable substitute for communication there is right now, ARE here. And they don’t look to be going anywhere.

There are plenty of laments to this, too. Nobody communicates anymore, everyone is always looking at their phone and not at each other, nobody wants to be in the “real world” anymore. So much for knowing and interacting with people “IRL”, right?

Lord knows I get that. Sometimes it is all too much. And it’s on 24/7/365. No pausing for station identification.

And it’s not only coming from those of us who remember a time before it all ever existed, either. There are people of ALL ages who cringe at the notion of being on Twitter, hopping on Periscope, or sharing too much on “Insta”.

In fact, it might even seem like “I’m not on Social Media” has become the new “I don’t watch TV.” A bit of a refrain for the righteous. And sometimes, truth to tell, I don’t blame anyone who’d feel that way.

Honestly, it is rather a poor substitute for a real conversation. It can bog you down with all kinds of things that you probably don’t need to know. And If you spend too much time there, it can take on a life of its own and become an energy vampire like nobody’s business.

So why even bother with it at all? Well….the general wisdom is that nowadays it is a MUST for business…and you’re missing out on golden opportunities without it. You’d be crazy not to. It’s the only way to go. And all the cool kids are doing it, right?

Uh…yeah. So is that reason enough to endure something that you kind of can’t stand?

Well, here’s the thing: I’m not going to say that you MUST use Social Media for your business. (Heck, I’m the one who said a while back that you don’t “gotta” do anything, right??)Β  And I am definitely not going to show you the most successful strategies for making it work. There are plenty of talented people who could do that much better than me. (Ask me for referrals if you want!) πŸ˜‰

What I AM going to do is show you ways that you can actually make some PEACE with it all..ways to not only stop hating it but also just see it for what it is, no more, no less. And share what has worked for me in terms of making it a part of my business and my life….but NOT my business and my life itself.

So here’s the my number one reason to use Social Media for your business (or your budding idea):

It’s here, it’s free (for the most part), and just about everyone is on it, one way or another. You can reach a LOT of people that way.

But here’s the second reason to use Social Media for your business (or your budding idea):

It can help you get started sharing your message quickly—and it can help you get more comfortable with exposure and get a LOT of practice with it, too. (I can’t emphasize how important this is, especially in the beginning.) What’s more, you can get started in a matter of minutes. Even seconds. You could even get started right NOW.

But is it even an honest representation of yourself? Is it even REAL?

Think of it this way: Social Media is nothing more than notes on a page. Yes, for all you musicians out there, think of Social Media of all kinds as notes on a page. How?

My most amazing and awesome trumpet teacher once told me that one of his teachers told him what music was and what it wasn’t. He told me (as he’d been told) that the notes on the page–the sheet music, that is–wasn’t the music itself. It’s just what gets you to the music.

Well, Social Media is just like that. It is the prelude to the song. It’s what you see before you really begin to make the music itself. The real music is the amazing good that you do for your clients, your customers, and yourself. It is the joy that you feel when you truly help someone with their struggles while doing something that you love–and getting paid for it. It is the wonders that you work while following your purpose-driven business. That, friends is the music. Not the Facebook post.

But that Facebook post, Tweet, or Pinterest Board just might help you can share your ideas, your message, and your work where the right people for you might see it…and give the music a chance to be made!

If you keep it all in its proper perspective, it might not seem so agonizing. If you view it as simply a tool, just like any other, it might not seem so pretentious. And most of all, if you don’t take it too seriously and just have a little fun with it, the results might surprise you!

NOW….how can you start to implement Social Media without losing your mind (OR your principle, for that matter?) Let’s assume that you’re ready to give it a go and see what it can do for you.

First of all, do this: Are you ready to start promoting a business that you already have, or are you simply testing the waters with a new idea that you’ve been kicking around and are looking for some feedback? Or are you looking to get comfortable with sharing yourself and your message in public forums? Determine your purpose and write it down. What result are you looking for with it? Write that down, too.

NEXT….and this is only if you’ve been on SM for a while, either for personal or business use…if you’re totally over it and just want to take a break from it all for a while, DO IT! Take a day, a week, a month, or whatever. Simply unplug and “detox”. But be clear about how long you’ll be away. Make a declaration of some kind telling your friends and followers that you’re stepping out for a while. And put on the calendar when you’ll be back. Make good on it, too–when you’re off, STAY off. Use the handy-dandy Self-Control app (or something like it) if you need to. Detox COMPLETELY.

And when it’s time to come back, come back. Put your return date on the calendar. Go do it now. I’ll wait.

NOW…Give this a try:

Step 1: If you really hate Social Media, look into that. Why do you not like it? List all of the reasons. All of them. (I hate to say it, but there can be plenty of them!). But be honest about it. And try not to get angry or judgmental about any of them, either. No need to rage against the dying of the light, here. Just state the facts, plain and simple. (This is a good exercise to do any time, but an especially good time for it is during your detox time!)

Step 2: Now…what are the bigger reasons for all of the reasons? Maybe it isn’t just about SM and it could be about other things. That’s OK too. Again, just ask yourself for information, not condemnation.

Step 3: Use this knowledge to make peace with it all. It’s OK, whatever you feel about Twitter. Or Facebook. Just remember that they’re only tools. They only have the significance that you give them. Give yourself permission to feel what you feel and let whatever it is be on its way.

NOW, The NEXT STEPS:

Step 1: Pick one platform. Just one. Add more if you like, but choose at least one and go with it for a while. I’d suggest one of the Big 3 for starters, that being Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (according to Me, that is!). If you’re ready to start looking for ideal clients, consider what might be their favorite. If it’s just for yourself and getting comfortable with self-promotion, choose your favorite. (Or the one you hate the least, perhaps?) πŸ˜‰

Step 2: Focus on it for a while. Show up every day. Just once a day, to begin. ONLY once a day, that is all. I promise. But do it.

And MOST importantly……

Step 3: BLOCK OUT YOUR SM TIME and SET A TIMER. Don’t sign on without both a timer and a plan. A clear plan. Decide what you’re going to post, what you’re going to do, and go all out with crystal clear focus while you’re there. Stick to the times, have clear focus while you’re in the SM trenches, and when the bell goes off, stop. Sign off. Immediately.

This step alone will change your Social Media life. I guarantee it.

If the dismay with the digital world is getting you down, I don’t blame you! But if you can make a few simple adjustments in perception and make a clear plan to deal with them, the SM experience doesn’t have to be a painful one. In fact, it just might get you out there, going, and closer to the “music” faster.

What do you think? Ever had any SM hangups and fallouts? (God knows I HAVE!!) Or have you always loved all things Instagram? Tell me all about it!

8 Comments on What If I Hate Social Media? (No…Seriously HATE it?) And Do I HAVE to Use It?

  1. Merri
    October 7, 2015 at 8:23 am (2 years ago)

    Great post! Good for getting the thinking going. No doubt the value of social media …. Like any tool… We all know the rest … For my business, website first– then onward! ☺️

    Reply
    • Jennifer
      October 9, 2015 at 12:51 pm (2 years ago)

      Yep, just a tool, no more no less. (What would Jules Winfield have to say about social media, I wonder?) LOL πŸ˜€

      Reply
  2. Conny
    October 7, 2015 at 5:52 pm (2 years ago)

    Sure have felt the overwhelm that comes over all of us once in a while. But I did start posting more and on a regular basis on Facebook. Still need to look into Instagram which apparantly is growing faster than the others. I don’t think SM is going away, on the contrary, it will become more and more important.

    Reply
    • Jennifer
      October 9, 2015 at 12:52 pm (2 years ago)

      I agree, Conny! And it doesn’t need to take up your entire day, either….I am a big fan of consistency with it, but also a fan of getting away from it when you need to. And most importantly, when you’re actually on it, BE there entirely. Connect and engage in a meaningful way. And when it’s time to sign out, sign out! Works wonders. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  3. Maggie
    October 8, 2015 at 7:08 pm (2 years ago)

    I love what you said about how we righteously declare that we’re done with SM in the same way we used to swear off tv. So true.

    I’ve noticed that I start to look to Facebook for my news and also for a semi-curated list of articles. There are some friends who post articles that I love reading, which keeps me coming back. Like anyone else, I periodically think, “What am I doing?! Why am I spending my time this way?” I don’t think I’ve crossed over into the realm where I’m generating business for myself through my social media use, but I haven’t given up on it yet. You’ve given me some good things to think about here. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Jennifer
      October 9, 2015 at 12:55 pm (2 years ago)

      Glad that you appreciated it, Maggie! As I said, too, it doesn’t take too much time every day to get a presence going on SM. I’d for sure stick with just one platform at first, then take it a step at a time after that when adding others. And of course, stay consistent!

      Reply
  4. Wenda
    October 19, 2015 at 12:02 am (2 years ago)

    My audience doesn’t seem to flock to Facebook. I need to focus on Twitter and LinkedIn, I think. And what’s this you say about Instagram … I need one of my teenagers to show me.

    I loved when you said that the tools could help you share your message quickly by gaining comfort with exposure and PRACTICE!! Those were the exact words I needed to hear.

    I remember (oh, yes, I do) back when answering machines were new and I would call and get one and panic and hang up! Now, of course, I can just chatter away. This post made me think that I’ll think of social media that way too in the near future!

    Reply
    • Jennifer
      October 20, 2015 at 2:54 pm (2 years ago)

      That’s great, Wenda! And there are so many options in the Social Media world that there’s one that fits just about every kind of business. Just a matter of becoming amenable to something new, of course!

      Reply

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