What role do social media play in my marketing mix? I have been asking myself this question for quite a long time. That’s why this April I decided to take a break from them for a whole month. If you’re wondering what I found out, I have two pieces of news for you: one good and one bad. But I’m not entirely sure which is which…

There were two reasons why I got into exploring social media in the first place. Firstly, I wanted to somehow see if social networks were actually bringing me any clients. The second was my growing frustration with the declining reach of sales posts in particular, and the impact that social networks have on me.

So I turned them off completely for the whole month of April. Both privately and professionally. I didn’t add any new posts, didn’t respond to messages on Messenger or Instagram, and didn’t go on the networks. In addition, I uninstalled Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn from my phone and removed their shortcuts from my browser bar.

The only place I allowed myself to look and post was the FB group for my paid club. Only Whatsapp remained on my mobile, but I see it more as a communication tool than a social network.

The promised two messages

On the one hand, April without nets brought me almost divine peace. I rested and concentrated better. I easily found time to do deep work, read books, and rebranding that I had planned for April. I stopped worrying about who else was entering the mentoring business, and what my “competition” was up to. And even my husband told me I seemed a little calmer to him…

On the other hand, I haven’t had any new inquiries all month. And I sent out three newsletters during April (one full moon newsletter, one new moon service offer in Czech and one LinkedIn newsletter in English), and attended a couple of networking events as a participant. I only had existing clients signing up for consultations and there were fewer overall. Both compared to other Aprils and to previous months.

It may seem like a month is a short time to evaluate. But right on May 2, when I posted the first post on the networks after a break, two orders and two inquiries came in. Within the first couple of days, my entire May was filled. So the connection definitely seems more than coincidental to me.

It also made me realize how thoughtlessly I’ve approaching social media. I open them whenever I feel like procrastinating or need a break during work. Or I plan to do one specific thing on them, like post to a group… and an hour later I find myself scrolling through my feed and reading completely random posts. This is definitely a habit I don’t want in my professional or personal life any more.

What I got out of it

  • Social networks help me both to attract new clients and to be seen by existing ones. As a result, my marketing currently works better with them than without them.
  • But I definitely want to spend less time on the networks, both preparing content and consuming it. I’m trying to take a more conscious approach to social media. Getting clear on why I’m going there, how much time I have, and what my strategy is.
  • When I feel tired, I’m learning to get up from the computer and do something else. Maybe go for a walk or unload the dishwasher. I stretch and it doesn’t tempt me so much to mindlessly flip through the screen.
  • It makes sense to me to experiment more and find new ways to post on social media that are useful to readers, reach the widest audience, and don’t cost me as much time.

Regarding each network, I decided to:

  • continue to post on Facebook in Czech with a similar frequency as before
  • start using LinkedIn more to reach an international audience. From January, I´ve been already publishin an English newsletter. Now I am slowly adding posts in English and eventually switch the entire LinkedIn to English.
  • devote less energy to Instagram. I don’t enjoy creating reels or making short videos, and my content is more text-based than visual. Thus, I’m not tapping into the potential this network has at all, and I don’t even have the capacity to do so. On the other hand, I enjoy watching especially Czech creators. So I’m more likely to keep it private and contribute only occasionally.

How am I doing now

Almost two months after I returned to social media, I’m still observing and evaluating. I have LinkedIn and Instagram back on my phone, but I haven’t installed Facebook or Messenger anymore – I just have them on my computer. I set a limit of 15 minutes a day on Instagram and I mostly manage to stick to it.

Completely unexpectedly, during my month off social media, I cancelled my RSS reader. I found that it was just piling up articles that I couldn’t keep up with reading. A lot of them were more about things I’m interested in (minimalism) than things I need for work (marketing and business). So it seemed pointless to stress about it.

Instead, I´ve put my Kindle reader back on my phone. Whenever I have “plonk” time, like on the tram or in the dentist’s waiting room, I read books instead of scrolling through the nets.

I have cleared the sites and people I follow on the social networks. I’ve signed up for some newsletters instead. That´s how Mark Schaefer, Theresa Reed, or Danielle LaPorte got back to my inbox.

For now, I only go on the social media twice a day at most. I get all the messages out, reply to comments, briefly look at my favorite groups… and then turn it off again. I set up my own posts once a week through the Buffer scheduling tool.

Is it possible to do business without social media?

Despite my experience in April, I still think so. And it seems to be becoming a topic.

I used to associate marketing without social media mainly with Alexandra Franzen, who deleted her accounts 10 years ago. Now it seems to me that other people are going down the same path. I can judge by the many articles this year that either describe how to get off social media (like Paige Brunton) or offer various alternative marketing tools instead of socials.

“Social media is not good or bad. It’s simply a tool. It depends on how you use it. They can be helpful, harmful, or a combination of both. There are plenty of good reasons to use social media. And also plenty of good reasons to avoid them.” Alexandra Franzen

If you’re deciding whether to stay or go, I would ask two questions first:

  • Are my ideal clients on social media?
  • Do I have other marketing channels built up enough to allow me to do without social media (for example, web and SEO, emailing, or referrals)?

Only then would I make any decisions. But I definitely recommend trying out marketing without social media for a few weeks or months. See if the flood of new clients takes off or stops, and more importantly, how you feel about it.

Photo: Kaboompics