When I started a business Facebook page, and joined Linkedin, and started tweeting for my business, I was surprised at the way things changed from personal to professional. When I was using social media as… well… myself, I was just sharing snippets of my life that were interesting or important, as well as sharing in other people’s lives.
The Four BIG changes that I experienced:
The first big change was the pressure. All of a sudden, I have to post good stuff AND it has to be “professional.” Instead of “this is great, I’m gonna share it with my friends” it is “what interesting things have I recently done that have to do with business and/or photography?” Compared to the rest of my life… business is usually boring. I spend most of my “business” time thinking about what I’m gonna do next and sitting behind the computer doing research. A very small slice of my time is actually used doing exciting things like taking photos.
The second big change was the comparison game. I’m not talking about comparing high school friends lives with mine, I’m talking about comparing the success of my different posts. On my personal profile, I don’t care how many people saw or liked the article I shared last week. In fact, I don’t even remember what the article that I posted last week was about. On the business page, it surprises me which post do better than others (hopefully, I’ll be able to analyze my mass of posts in a month or so to see what kind of posts do the best). Until then, I occasionally second-guess myself and wonder “this Instagram post has only 12 likes, so should I delete it?”
The third big change was from personality to branding. On social media as myself, I’m not concerned about shaping my posts to my personality because my personality comes out in the posts naturally. So on social media, I have to fit my automatic personality into my business’s brand. For example, I can be fairly sarcastic in a way that could come across as rude (my parents sometimes called this “talking back”), and that sarcastic rudeness is not a character trait that I want my business to take on. Sometimes, this feels like an identity crisis, but it’s actually just called branding.
- I think that this is exceptionally hard for artists as their work is intimately tied into THEIR identity.
The fourth and biggest change was something like walking from the capitol into the hunger games where you’re a gladiator who has to fight and win… or die. Thankfully for businesses “death” is just failure and possibly bankruptcy. All of a sudden, social media is something that you can NOT do wistfully, it’s something where you are strategizing every single thing that you do. Social media becomes a game with consequences rooted in the “real” world. Businesses have to be interesting and engaging to get your attention, which is obvious, but what is not obvious is how much more difficult that social media analytics make it for businesses to be seen. There are certain windows of time in which to post. There is priority given to certain types of media to certain types of audiences. There are trending topics and even unspoken and avoided topics. It can be so complicated that if you don’t treat it like a game, you might start to take it too personally.
So how, as a business person who is in charge of social media, do you cope with these unexpected challenges?
This is where I could give you really cheesy advice like “make a plan, stick to it for a period of time, and then improve based on your results.” But instead I’m going to tell you not to let it drain your brain juice. Social media is something that your are supposed to do on the side of greatness. So, your social media page should never BE greater than your business. Instead, it should be a mere representation of how great (fun, useful, personable, ect.) that your business is in real life.
For those of you who have the luxury of just being yourself on social media, enjoy it. Start trying to notice how different brands are trying to catch your attention on social media.
For you businesses who are trying to get adjusted to the enormous change, there’s a lot of advice out there. However, most of it is very general so you have to dig through a lot of mush to get to the good stuff. After you find the good stuff, you have to figure out how to apply it. What I’m going to do with my upcoming subscription service is skip to the chase and translate all of the the good stuff that I’ve found into a specific guide and schedule that’s customized to your business. Then, I’m going to keep digging and learning so that we can stay caught up with the rapidly changing world of social media. Check out my "It's Almost Here!" page for more information.