I’m not on Facebook. I don’t have a personal account and I don’t have a business account.
I used to have Facebook. In fact, I’m one of those people who were the very first to get Facebook back when you had to have a college email address in order to join (am I showing my age?). I remember when you logged in it would take you directly to your profile. Your photo was small and you only had a wall where people could write to you. MySpace was still at large, but facebook was slowly gaining traction.
I got rid of my personal Facebook account on March 23, 2013…yes, I still remember the exact date. I had reached a breaking point where I had invited some people to a party, and they gave me last minute excuses on why they couldn’t come, but then their Facebook revealed they had, in fact, not been doing what their excuse claimed they were doing. I also realized that the more time I spent on Facebook, the more I would leave it unhappy. On March 23 I asked myself why I was investing so much time on something that made me unhappy and I deleted my account. I thought I would want the urge to go back, but I never did. Not once.
Many people claim they can’t shut it down due to family being all over and let me tell you – all of my extended family is in Australia and the UK and I still get by fine.
But when I opened DependableVA, I had to decide whether or not I was going to put my business on Facebook. I did a lot of research on other, more established Virtual Assistants in my field to see where they got many of their clients. Some of them definitely had success on Facebook but it also sounded like quite a few VA’s Facebook business pages had fallen dead or had become mainly a place to discuss topics with other VA’s.
I didn’t want to stretch myself too thin and I also still didn’t want to set up a business account on Facebook because of how wonderful I felt being Facebook-free. Further, I was going to advertise that I could help clients with social media. How would they feel if I said I could help with Facebook but didn’t use it regularly? Facebook does change quite often and if you are not on it every day, sometimes it can jolt you when you login after a while and see lots of new updates.
After quite a bit of research, I decided to focus heavily on Twitter and LinkedIn. I had to completely teach myself Twitter and read a lot of articles on how to get clients via LinkedIn as well. I told myself that if I didn’t gain any clients through this route, I would give Facebook a shot.
If you are starting a business and want to be on social media, my advice would be:
- Research what has worked for companies similar to yours. Not all companies are the same, but it helps to see what worked and what didn’t for other companies before you spend too much time on one platform and discover it’s not working.
- Find out where your audience hangs out. If you have a broad business like Virtual Assistance, the target market could be different for each VA. My audience prefers LinkedIn and Twitter, but for prospective clients that love to engage a lot, maybe Facebook is better. Is your company visual? Perhaps Pinterest or Instagram would work best.
- Focus on only a few platforms. It’s not good to have a Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, G+, Periscope, Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn account for your business unless you’re a HUGE corporation or you can afford to pay someone to maintain all of them. Instead, focus on a few platforms that you know you can put time and effort into.
- Invest time into the platforms daily to get clients. The great and horrible thing about social media is that it’s like an ongoing conversation. It’s hard to only spend time once or twice week in the platform because it would be like jumping in and out of a conversation, especially for platforms like Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter.
Thankfully, I never did have to open a Facebook account for my business. And clients completely trusted me with their Facebook page despite not being on it regularly. Perhaps it’s because I used to be on it or because I’m a millennial, either way, they don’t have any worries about me handling their business pages.
Social media can work for you and if you really don’t like one of the platforms, you most likely won’t like using it for your business either. There are plenty to choose from, but you have to make it work for you.
What social media platforms are your favorites? Are there some you have personally but not for your business?