When talking about social media, many small business owners start to get nervous. It adds to their feelings of being overwhelmed and just plain tired of having an endless list of things to accomplish. With all its possibilities and endless hype, social media can keep the owners stuck on exactly how to implement it within their company. Many times, this anxiety causes them to do nothing at all.
Alternately, there are some small-business owners that are so addicted to social media that it causes them a different kind of anxiety. Technology now feeds a multitasking business culture that is based on constant interruptions. With its buzzing and flashing notifications, social media tools constantly beg for our attention.
Owners are afraid of missing that next interesting tweet or Facebook post. This can make the world wide web a “world wide waste of time.” This addiction can also paralyze some small-business owners when they get fearful of reading the next post (or someone unfollows them and they wonder why). They constantly worry about what customers will say online about their business.
Here are seven ways to calm your social media anxiety, and get more from social media tools:
1. Remember, it's promotion. Don’t be confused. Social media is one of the “4Ps” in the marketing mix. (The 4Ps are Product, Price, Promotion, Place.) Treat it like any other promotional tool in your marketing plan, such as trade shows or direct mail.
2. Stick to your company's marketing goal. Ask yourself what role you want social media to play in forming relationships and promoting your business. Set a time and cost investment limit and stick to it.
3. Pick one platform. You can’t do it all, nor would you want to. Use the social media tool that personally feels most comfortable. Do you like to talk in shorter (Twitter) or longer (Facebook) conversations? Do you like to express yourself with pictures (Facebook and Pinterest)? Do you like to be helpful and answer people's professional questions (LinkedIn)? Do you like to give or get referrals (LinkedIn)?
4. Shut off the notifications. Shut off the flashing or buzzing notifications on your computer or smartphone whenever there is a new post or tweet. For some of you, this will be very hard initially. However, it is the fastest way to relieve your anxiety and focus your time on what really needs to get done.
5. Schedule “social media” time. It is just like any other activity in your company. Choose a time frame when you will work the social media tools, and stick to it. Don't log on without a plan.
6. Separate personal vs. professional. To prevent social media from getting too personal, have a separate ID for your personal posts and one strictly for business. This will prevent you from doing personal things when using the business ID.
7. Practice moderation. Just like everything else, use social media in moderation. It will be a giant step forward.