Foreword Online

Ideas, information and industry news for collegiate retailers

Avoiding the Social Media Black Hole

Posted by Jason Smallheer on 3/24/17 5:30 AM
Topics: social media, Time Saving Solutions, retail management

Today you will know how to make at least $800 more than you did yesterday and more than $300 every day thereafter — by doing less. The social media black hole is costing you money each day.

You have a smartphone within an arm’s reach of you right now. Look at it. How often will you check your social media channels today? Pretend you engage in the following networks the following ways each day:

Facebook          10x

Twitter                3x

LinkedIn             5x

Pinterest            10x

Instagram          10x

Snapchat           10x

Total                  48x/day

Assume you spend about four minutes on each network each time:

Total                   192 minutes = 3.2 hours

Scared yet? It gets better. Pretend you make your store about $500 per hour:

Total                    3.2 hours x $500 = $1,600

Your social media time, even for a few moments of disengagement, has cost your store $1,600 PER DAY or $8,000 per working week or $32,000 per month or $384,000 per year. Ouch! If we assumed you only spent two minutes per session, that’s still $800 per day going out the window.

Relax. Sit back. There is a cure.

The late Steve Jobs once said, “The most precious resource we have is time.” Your day is valuable. Marketing your store and letting others know about events, specials, extended hours for buyback, etc. are necessities, and social media is a need for today’s small business as opposed to a want. How can you accomplish what you need and not see 384 grand fly out the door?

Have a plan – Knowing whom you are going to speak to and when you’re going to have the conversation reduces the chances of you going off on a tangent. If you sit in front of your computer or grab your phone and start posting whatever comes to mind you will spend more time blabbing about who knows what. Your audience likes things short and sweet.

Who is my audience? – This is where you need to do some homework. Ask your employees what networks they use and for what. Ask your customers or even other bookstores which networks they use to connect with customers.

Think of your customers as your friends. You want to hang out with them. Do you show up at random houses asking, “Hey, are my friends here?” No way. You ask where everyone is going to be. Same rules apply. Know where your friends are and pick the top three networks your customers are using; these become your areas of focus.

This will change. The customers using Snapchat may move to another network, Facebook may engage a different group of customers and Twitter may not serve a need for you. Be flexible and keep asking questions, but limit your focus to three.

Consistency – Sticking to your plan daily, as opposed to weekly or monthly, prevents you from having a marathon session. Now that you know where your friends are, show up on a regular basis so they get to know you. You don’t need to be the person who is the life of the party or the shy person in the back of the room selling Pokémon cards. Just be present. Say hello. Ask questions. The time to sell will come. Make friends and engage daily. Offer information about extended hours, why the 8 a.m. class is good for you and how pizza for every meal builds brain cells. Your friends will remember you.

Limits – Spend a set amount of time on your channel of focus and no more. When you hit your limit, walk away. Of the three networks you identified as your areas of focus, devote 30 minutes per day to your number one, 20 minutes to your number two and 10 minutes to your number three. The 30/20/10 rule helps you to build a strategy, be consistent and focus your time. During your time on each network, you will be posting and interacting with your followers, giving them something of value and enticing them to share “you” with their friends. 

Disconnect – When you are done for the day, turn off your social media. I know. It hurts, but the pain is temporary. In fact, uninstall them from your phone completely. The day I removed Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter from my phone was the hardest, yet the most invigorating day of my life. Sure, I still interact, but on my computer. Research for social posts, taking photos and brainstorming continues. Use your phone for the photo if needed and write down your inspirations on a pad. Tomorrow is a new day and you can share all you need when you log on.

Now your social media presence is taking an hour per day. The most precious resource you have is time. Spend less time stuck in social networks and have more of an opportunity to do what matters most; engaging with customers in your store, increasing sales and discovering content for tomorrow’s posts.


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