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Social Media Is A Double-Edged Sword

Social Media is a double-edged sword. On one side, it provides community and friends who might never have met in real life, people who “get you” even if they live on the other side of the world.

On the other side, it can be a toxic environment and a huge time-sucking black hole engulfing hours and hours from our day.

Love it or hate it, social media is a powerful tool to build your brand and organically grow your business.

Yesterday I wrote an article Should Social Media Be A Part of Your Authorpreneur Strategy. which evoked an interesting question from Dr. Preeti Singh. She asked, “Thank you for writing this wonderful post on social media and how it is useful to use for business. So you suggest that we should be socially active always.”

Since the response is not just a one-liner, I decided to write a post about it.

When telephones started going mainstream in the 1950s, some people wouldn’t use them. There were all kinds of stories associated with them, from ghosts to health hazards.

Then came TVs in the sixties, and people wouldn’t have them in their homes because they might be harmful to the eyes. They were called the ‘idiot box.’ My own father refused to buy one because he said it would interfere with my studies. My brother and I would go to neighbors’ houses to watch whenever they were showing good movies or serials like Star Trek or Six Million Dollar Man. We bought our TV only after I passed our matriculation exams in flying colors.

In the late eighties, microwaves came, and as a pregnant mother, I was advised to avoid them because waves generated by them could be harmful to the unborn baby.

In the nineties, when everyone was into mobile phones, the big scare was that too much use would cause brain cancer. Then they were associate with traffic accidents, sleep loss and child predators.

Yet all these technologies are here and have blended with our lives.

Social Media is going through the same early push-back phase. But one thing is for sure — it is here to stay.

We need to learn how to use it well and how not to let it take over our lives.

How should you use social media well?

Like a ballerina, I would say.

Walk lightly but leave your mark.

A ballerina performs on a vast but mostly bare stage, with a simple costume, balances herself on the tips of her toes as if walking on air, and yet she makes an everlasting mark on the hearts of her viewers.

This is how I want you to be on social media.

How can you do that?

Let’s have a look.

Limit the time to be on social media

If you are thinking of using ‘growing your brand’ as an excuse to be on social media all the time reading and responding to all the rubbish people put out there, you are missing the point.

Savvy businesspeople are not the consumers on social media; they are the creators.

I only go on social media for fifteen minutes towards the end of the day, and I wouldn’t recommend you being on it for any longer. At the most, make it 15 minutes twice a day. But no more than that. Quickly scan if there is anything worth your time, leave a few comments, and get out of it within the time limit.

Don’t forget social media apps are designed to be addictive. They are based on endless scrolling. It will take you hours to be up to date with the amount of content published on them each day.

And they are strewn with advertisements.

When you feel you are trapped in the cycle of endless scrolling, think about what your end goal is.

It is to tread lightly like a ballerina and make your mark.

Spend more time on developing content.

As an authorpreneur (or entrepreneur), keep in mind, your job is to provide value to your readers. That is the only reason they will remember you and follow you because you are either solving their problems or entertaining them.

When you are on social media to build your brand, you are a creator, not a consumer.

Concentrate on creating value with your content, and you will people will recognize you and want to engage with you.

Engage with other people.

Another reason people will recognize you when you either respond to their comments or leave them a comment. In both cases, you are engaging, which is the whole point of social media — engagement.

Not only the recipients like it but social media apps like it too. They will send more connections your way and circulate your post to more people with similar interests helping you grow your network.

Know what your ultimate goal is when you are on social media.

Your ultimate goal is not just building your brand but building your mailing list.

All those contacts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram are no good if one day those platforms decide that they don’t like the kind of content you produce and kick you out of it.

Like Facebook did in Australia just a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t able to send the link to my newsletter to my social media followers because it had the word “news.”

Your mailing list is your ultimate tool to grow your business. Fifty subscribers on your mailing list are better than 5000 on any of the social media platforms. Because you can write to them directly and offer them your products and services.

PS: I am concentrating all my efforts on LinkedIn. At the moment, its algorithm is allowing organic growth. However, it won’t last forever, and surely, in not so distant future, it will start urging users to advertise like Facebook and Google,

I think there is a small window of time to use it to build a healthy network. I am running a live webinar course to help develop a LinkedIn strategy for writers. Find the details here.

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Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash

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