Do Entrepreneurs Really Need Social Media?

Business.com / Sales / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Don't get trapped by the lure of social media with cat facts or interesting videos. Do you even really need social media as an entrepreneur?

A new year has begun. Chances are, you've probably got a slew of productivity goals in mind, and perhaps some of them are included on your list of resolutions. However, have you also factored in how much time in 2015 you'll spend on social media? While some of this time might be spend promoting your brand, there's no shying away from the immense time-suck that social media can become.

In "Reclaiming Our (Real) Lives from Social Media," New York Times tech columnist Nick Bilton says, "Like a virus slowly invading its victim, social media has methodically started to consume every hour of my day." He points out statistics that reveal how younger generations spend "as much as 3.8 hours a day on social media."

Yikes. Entrepreneurs, what could you do with all that extra time each day? It seems all too easy to take a look at follower and engagement numbers and feel accomplished. But are these metrics really helping you accomplish your goals, or do they just seem to be helping? At the end of the day, could the time spend you spend on social media be hurting your productivity?

Related Article: Is Facebook Marketing Still Worthwhile for Small Businesses?

Hire Out Marketing Tasks

Now some businesses rely immensely on social media for marketing and community building reasons. There is no denying that. However, it's important to recognize when you're pouring too much of your own personal resources into a single channel. "Marketing" can quickly become a social media browsing excuse for entrepreneurs, especially if you don't know where to draw the line.

Avoid getting caught up in these time traps by hiring a social media consultant to take the reigns of your marketing campaigns. They can offer a certain level of professional distance, so that you don't get personally and emotionally invested in your own company's social media performance and feedback.

Build (and Maintain) Your Credibility

Since social media has become so incredibly ubiquitous, people without it seem downright suspicious. It's almost shocking these days to find a well-rounded professional who doesn't have LinkedIn, Google+ or Facebook. But obviously, there were ways to establish credibility in the days before these networks existed. Think about how you'd like to be known outside of the confines of your Twitter feed.

Do you want to have a reputation that is so powerful that people talk about your accomplishments during face-to-face conversations? Would your business thrive better through word-of-mouth referrals at small community events? If so, think about building your credibility through other channels before you spruce up that Facebook cover image.

Don't Multitask, Focus on the Task at Hand

Social media has the power to split attention. For example, you have probably had this experience where you sign onto Facebook for professional reasons, but get caught up reading the latest sensationalize click-bait article about amazing cat facts. While social media can be a great tool for reaching people, it can wreak havoc on productivity by interrupting workflows and concentration.

According to Time Magazine, studies show that heavy social media multitaskers don't perform as well on cognitive tests than their less-distracted counterparts. The issue can become even worse if you receive instant notifications every time someone mentions you in a post or when several friends follow the same account on Twitter.

Related Article: How to Balance Your Personal and Professional Identity on Social Media

Set Realistic Limits

Quitting social media cold turkey these days doesn't seem feasible for most entrepreneurs. However, you can regain control over these systems and make them work for you by setting a few simple limits.

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Removing social media accounts from personal mobile devices, so that you aren't tempted to browse during time that could be spent better
  • Switching off notification alerts, so that you can check all updates at the beginning or end of the day
  • Encouraging more personalized forms of communication between friends, clients, and family members by relying on email or phone calls more
  • Blocking websites like Facebook on your work computer so that you aren't tempted to procrastinate when you're busy or stressed
  • Switching off share permissions so that you aren't tempted to post every single tidbit or photo online during work hours, vacation, and days off

Social media can be a simultaneous boon and curse for entrepreneurs. While it certainly gives individuals and organizations access to immense audiences, it can also take away precious hours. Setting boundaries can help entrepreneurs reclaim time, build stronger interpersonal relationships, focus on other goals and avoid the passive scroll through newsfeeds.

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