Whew, this should be a fun topic huh? 🙂
As a small business owner, the role of things like Facebook and Twitter in promoting my business is something that I need to pay attention to quite a bit. And of course the same more or less applies for my own music-making as well, we all need the FB page for our friends and fans to Like, right?
I have to admit, after two years of putting more time into this side of my online persona than I might have liked to otherwise, I’m struggling with if it’s all been worth it or not. The downside of working this way, is that in order for it to be effective, you need to be checking it constantly. Doesn’t do me any good to have that outlet for clients to contact me if I’m not available to respond to them quickly. So as a result I’ve had to spend a lot of time each day just checking in on Facebook and trying to stay on top of what my friends are doing.
On one hand it’s been a good thing, as I’ve gotten some opportunities to do things I never would have heard about otherwise (i.e. Orcas Island Audio Conference, which was amazing). On the other hand, the more I use something like Facebook, the more friends I get, and the longer it takes me to just check for updates. Or worse, updates I really cared about from close friends and family would get buried in the mix as it were.
Of course, FB has tools to help you manage this, but more and more I started to realize that there was too much overlap with my close friends in real life, and the business side of things that led me to start using Facebook in the first place. So I thought I would try an experiment and use Facebook the way it was intended (gasp!). My personal Facebook page would be just for family, close friends, and other people I interact with regularly, while my Inner Portal Studio page would be dedicated to general music talk and all my own music related announcements.
After giving my “Friends” a couple weeks notice about this change, I sat down last week for a few hours and deleted all the people from my friends list that didn’t fit the criteria above. They had fair warning, multiple times! 🙂 Started with people who never post in the same language I speak, followed by those who invite me to events on other continents, and then the people who endlessly invite me to like their latest band pages over and over. These were the easy ones, they needed to go.
Not quite as easy were some of the friendly people I’ve met online, or perhaps clients who had Friended me over the years. Still, I had warned people to like the Inner Portal page in advance, so in the end it wasn’t too hard for me to trim down 500+ friends down to a more manageable 120.
At first this was great, my feed was now relevant me again, it made sense, and took much less time to check in on what people I knew were doing. It seemed that many people had switched to the Inner Portal page for my music news, so all would be well, right?
Unfortunately then I started getting new Friend requests from the people I just deleted, and trying to follow up with them each to explain the other Page they should be following. Or worse, people got downright offended that I unfriended them, or thought this was some ploy to get my page Likes up (I really could give a shit about how many Likes I have, this isn’t a contest to me).
So now I find myself in the position of spending MORE time dealing with social media when I’m trying to spend less time doing it. Or perhaps spending my time on Facebook more efficiently would be a better way of putting it. Sigh, sometimes you just can’t win…
At least Twitter is easier for me to manage, and honestly something I prefer more anyway. Short and to the point, and much less time-consuming to stay on top of. In fact, I’m giving serious thought to just focusing on that going forward, since I do find it personally a more appealing way of sharing news and information with people.
Google+ is always an option as well, and I post there sometimes, but to be honest it’s never really generated the interactions with people that Facebook and Twitter have. So for now at least it’s something I only find marginally useful.
Instagram is another option I explored, since it seemed a little more artistic in terms of content. While it’s fun to see cool pictures of gear and club nights from people I know, the fact that there’s a 9 to 1 ratio with that stuff compared to pictures of what people ate for lunch, and well…. you get the idea. 🙂
All in all I’m starting to feel like a little more like a luddite every day thanks to all of this. I find it hard to get that balance of useful information versus just wasting time trying to leverage these services to be useful. Honestly I’ve been giving serious thought to just stopping the social media altogether. GASP!
But before I do something drastic like that (err… and is it really that drastic anyway?), I thought I’d throw this back to people I know. On social media. 🙂 So, how do you deal with sort of thing? If you use sites like these for promoting your music or business, has it really been a useful way to spend your time? Is it something you’d be using anyway so who cares?
Would love to hear how other people feel on the topic, or get some ideas for approaching all this in a way that’s not only easier to manage, but generates useful returns that make the time spent worth it.
Share your thoughts in the comments, or on the particular social media site where you read this 😉