I already know this is going to create controversy. It may even yield some ugly comments, but in January, I stopped Facebook and Twitter and became LinkedIn only and it has been one of the best business moves I've made.
Six years ago when I started my business, marketers told me I had to be on every channel and it never felt right, putting out content every day, selling myself, while at the same time, trying to work with people to decrease their addiction or time-wasting of social media and shrink their inboxes. I'm not anti-social media (okay, maybe a little bit), but I am against using it as a way to curtail boredom because you cannot fight the system.
Social media is set up like a casino with no endpoints.
A casino has no natural light, the meals are around the clock, speaking of which, are not on the walls. I spent seven minutes (seriously, I had looked at my watch) trying to get out of the Wynn casino last year and finally asked an employee “How do I get to sunlight?”. Social media is built the same way. There are no endpoints or anything to tell you that you are finished…endless feeds that result in multiple tabs open.
It sucked the joy from my life and was my most dreaded task of the day.
I had business masterminds, clubs, and coaches that used private Facebook groups and it drove me crazy and made it hard for me to see it as serious. I had chosen to use Facebook only for business, having just thirteen friends in my personal feed (of which I rarely went to), but after the elections, became more disgusted. The news that continues to come out about the Russians manipulating our media, about the curated content we are seeing to where we don't even have an informed view, and that people will forward or like something they haven't even read just plain scared me.
In the May issue of Inc. magazine, there is an article that I read twice and then made my husband read because it was even worse than I imagined. Did you know that Twitter removed 70 million fraudulent accounts in just two months last year? Facebook removed 583 million fake accounts in the first three months of 2018. Do you know who you are following?
MIT reported that lies are 70% more likely than facts to be retweeted.
The Internet Research Agency, which is the troll farm in Russian that's being indicted for interfering in our elections has spread lies that hurt completely innocent companies, like Koch's Turkey, toxic explosions at chemical plants that didn't happen, and even a Texas t-shirt company! Intent? Get us to become even more polarized and spread that curated hate and misinformation. Please read the article. It's fascinating in a maybe-I-should-stock-up-my-compound sort of way.
In the same issue, they interview two CEOs who are pro/con social media. Beatriz Ramos of Dada.nyc is LinkedIn only. In one week in January, I heard three different CEOs and companies proudly say they were LinkedIn only and that was the direction I wanted to go in. I did a one-day intensive with my business coach in Charleston, and she agreed with my decision. I happened to get serious food poisoning that night and decided it was really me vomiting out Facebook, Twitter, and MailChimp because in the morning I felt terrific!
I had felt dirty using Hootsuite to schedule my posts.
I felt like having someone write posts for me was like telling my assistant to write my husband a love letter.
I don't care if I have 10,000, 100,000 or a million followers if they aren't really following me or just hit ‘like' one time. I want people who truly care what I have to say or do and are interested in how health and productivity go together. That might be 50 or 500 people. I decided to focus on LinkedIn because it is a business platform and that's what I use social media for. I also quit writing a twice-monthly newsletter to channel my efforts into Focus90, where I get to really engage with my community and find out on a weekly basis what they are struggling with or working on in real-time.
How did this affect me and my business?
- I pinned a post and tweet to the top of Facebook and Twitter and said it was my last post and to join me at LinkedIn. The time savings of not going to those channels has been incredible in terms of decision-fatigue due to procrastination of checking and posting.
- My LI engagement has skyrocketed because I am intentional about going there, connecting with people, and reading what they have to offer, rather than spraying and playing. I'm much more intentional about whom I connect with and don't blindly accept invites.
- I don't dread opening up the platform as a task. I enjoy it (although I still set a timer so I don't get sucked in).
- I haven't missed the newsletter at all and I like seeing the people joining Focus90 (with my eyeballs, because we are on video!), even if it is only one person that day. That's more important and engagement than a newsletter.
- In the last ninety days, my website traffic has stayed steady at one site and increased to another.
This experiment has proven successful to me in that it feels right. I can't count how many times I've had other business owners say they are only on social media because they have to be. Why do we do this to ourselves?
Now, before anyone responds back with the wonders and joys of social media and how I'm wrong, I'm not saying that you are crazy for staying on it. I own a productivity coaching and speaking company. It doesn't make sense for me, and I don't like it. I also don't like my coffee black, high-waisted pants, Halls cough drops, or companies that suck their employees productive time with meetings that start at 8:00am.
If you own a company that sells products and aren't on Instagram that would be missing an opportunity. If you are a stylist or an event planner and want to show off your client's photos, Facebook and Instagram are the right platforms. But for me, I choose LinkedIn only. I hope it stays safe(ish) and doesn't disappoint me, but for now, I have a little more joy back in my life.
This post originally published on LinkedIn on May 1, 2019