Friday, March 7, 2014

The Flipside of Social Media: How Facebook Could Be Stunting Your Soap Business Growth



What if I told you that quite possibly you’re spending around five or six weeks annually on Facebook? Would you think I’m crazy? Are you like me, and in denial about the time you spend on Facebook? You’re not alone – there are many of us soapmakers who need an intervention.

Let’s have a heart-to-heart about the time we spend on Facebook.  Does this sound familiar: You check into Facebook on any given time of the day only to be drawn into a friends’s post, which leads you to another soapmaking page, which then leads you to a soapmaking group. After all, it was just a pretty picture of a soap swirl that caught your eye. You innocently click on the photo and then begin to read the comments. Oh, and look! Under the comments is a question about how much salt to add to a soap recipe. You were wondering that too. Oh, and look! Another pretty photo. One group even has a challenge that you’re considering participating in. Next thing you know, you’ve been on Facebook for 30 minutes and haven’t even posted to your own business page. So much for productivity!
My 19 year old daughter walks by and call me out on it. “Mom, why are you still on Facebook?!” At first I resisted with “Umm, I’m not. I’m just posting to my business page.” But I knew I was in denial. I was checking catching up on comments in soapmaking groups and drooling over soap pictures - things that aren’t adding to my business growth. Sometimes I disappear into what seems like a vortex and then reappear 30 minutes later feeling guilty about what I could have accomplished in that timeframe.
Without a doubt, Facebook can bring in sales to your business. I generate business through my personal and business Facebook accounts. I track my ROI (return on investment) and I know the postings which account for purchases. But I know I spend too much time just browsing, being social and quite frankly, getting sidetracked. Looking in soapmaking groups and at other soapmakers business pages can be inspiring. But falling prey to the “pretty shiny object”  syndrome where you bounce from one post on Facebook to another is a problem. In fact, I would say that for some it could quite possibly be an addiction. Can you survive a day or two without logging into Facebook?
I need to cut back, and I was certain that many of you feel the same way. So I recently posted an informal poll on my Facebook business page and one in a popular Facebook soapers group to see how much time others are spending. Here’s what I found:

1.       Many soapmakers admitted to being signed into Facebook all day long. They would check multiple times per day ranging from “a few minutes” to “30 minutes per session.”

2.       One soapmaker admitted, “I’m logged in 24/7 with my phone. I have no discipline.” While another said plainly, “Too many!”

3.       “I need an intervention,” begged another soaper, who said she even has her home page set to Facebook and that she also stays logged in daily.

4.       Fewer respondents were disciplined. One said, “Two times a day for 15 minutes each.”

5.       A handful of respondents said that they just spend time on Facebook to promote their business.

A 15 minute stint on Facebook is not going to stunt your business growth. But what if you spend 30-minute stints four or five times a day?
Let’s pause for some math:
  • You spend 30 minutes on Facebook by logging in five time per day = 2.5 hours per day (Based on conversations and posts, I believe this to be very common)
  • 2.5 hours on Facebook 7 days/week = 17.5 hours per week
  • 17.5 hours week x 52 weeks/year = 910 hours or a total of 5.4 weeks per year

Think about it. On average we could be spending a whopping total of 910 hours per year on Facebook! That’s five and a half weeks gone. Adios Au Revoir. And we haven’t even begun to discuss time spent on other social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. I don’t know about you, but when I look at it that way there are other ways I would rather be spending that time: with family, with friends, taking care of my health and growing my business.
By decreasing the amount of time you spend on Facebook from 2.5 hours a day to 30 minutes, you will gain: 2 hours a day or 728 hours per year. Imagine adding a month to your life annually!
Now let’s take a look at some areas of your business that are commonly overlooked. What if you applied some of “Facebook time” to these often overlooked business projects: writing your monthly newsletter, writing blog posts, adding search engine optimization to your website, targeting wholesale accounts and building inventory.

Changing Your Facebook Habits

For five days, keep track of how many times you log in to Facebook, and how much time you spend per session. If you stay logged in all day, I suggest that you log out after each session. Keep a notebook and be honest with yourself. Better yet, install a free application called Rescue Time that will track time that you spend weekly on social media. Rescue Time will email a report of your weekly computer-time productivity.
Check out pre-scheduling updates to your Facebook business page using Facebook tools or free tools such as Hootsuite can save time as well. Spend some time scheduling a month’s worth of business posts. It’s much more effective and productive to organize your posts in advance rather than post them “on-the-fly” daily.
Need Facebook for soapmaking community support? We all have our favorite groups that support us – and I’m no exception. Believe me, you won’t be missing anything if you check in with your friends twice a day versus five times or more.
If you spending hours per day on Facebook, I recommend you try cutting down to one hour a day for the first week. Log on in the morning for your 15 minute fix. Log out and check back at noon for 15 minutes and then again in the evening for 30 minutes. The second week cut back to 30 minutes a day by logging in twice daily for 15 minutes. If you’re old-fashioned, set an egg timer to help keep track of time. If you’ve got a smart phone use the alarm on it or simply watch the clock.
Hold yourself accountable for Facebook time. If it helps, write down the accomplishments you were able to achieve and the memories you were able to make by spending more time with your kids, family and friends. I’m with you on the journey!
I'd love to hear about the ways you limit your time online and any tips you have to share.

 

6 comments:

angela said...

Great tips! I think we should start a Facebook Anonymous group also!

marla bosworth said...

Sounds good, Angela! We can be the first two members. Anyone else want to join us?

Mossy Creek Soap said...

Great Post Marla!! This so true! You got me :D FACEBOOK the missing VORTEX-- I WANT my life back Group! LOL!

marla bosworth said...

Well we have three members so far - Angela, you and me!

Claire T Weinberg said...

For awhile I was paying a company for FB- what a wast of money. Now we schedule an entire month in one session. It's not a money maker for us but it seems like it is more of a foundation piece. Pinterest is more of a time suck for me. the only way I heard you can schedule post is by paying and it's not worth it.

marla bosworth said...

Claire - Glad you found a way to make it work for you. I just do a quick visit to Pinterest to post and put on my blinders to all the great photos there!