Become a Business Magnet: What I Learned on Facebook – The Good, Bad, and Ugly
By Saralyn Collins
There is an ongoing debate in the business world about the value of certain Social Media and is it really important for you as a business person to be involved. The verdict is in: Yes, of course, if you are going to market and promote yourself and your business in today’s world, you really have no choice. You must strategically and determinedly select what, where, when and how much you can be involved – but there is simply no question. It is almost an imperative today.
Now, do I think you have to jump on every new idea that comes along? No! Some of what is happening in our tech world today is merely a trend. Its popularity will wax and wane and the typical businessperson probably does not have to learn and use each one of these. But there are some stalwarts – proven entities that you certainly should know and use to your advantage.
Understand – this is NOT an article about how to use social media to grow your business. Yes, I do use it to grow my business … and so should you!
For that information, you need to hook up with one of my colleagues – maybe Janet Slack. Sign up for her newsletter because you will learn a huge amount from that. Or connect with Dawn Chitwood Rivers at Asheville Marketing Solutions. Either of these ladies is more than qualified to teach you everything you need to know about Social Media!
For most of us, there is no question about the professional value of LinkedIn. While it is slightly harder to use than Facebook (at least it seems that way to us non-techy people) – it certainly has value to the average businessperson. I can think of many ways people use the profiles on LinkedIn to find out more about people and their businesses. There seems to be a dignity and professionalism there that is usually not found on Facebook. So I make sure all my posts or responses on LinkedIn are business oriented and have value to them.
But this article is supposed to be about what I have learned and continue to learn on Facebook. So let’s go at it!
This is just a list for today! I did not include any other day than today (as I am writing this article). I opened my Facebook account to scroll down and see what’s happening to my friends and colleagues and to their connections. Wow! It’s almost overwhelming. But here are my takeaways – the lessons I learned just today!
1. I learned there are some really angry, bitter people in this world. And a lot of them post regularly on Facebook – people who always see the worst in others – the downside of everything. During the last election, I finally banned some people and their posts from my wall. I have no problem with someone who disagrees with my take on political issues and parties … or on any topic! Hear me – I am serious about that! But I refuse to allow mean, ugly, outright lies to be posted as if they were the truth. I do not understand why people will repost pictures and articles and radio shows where the host or author spews vitriol and pure meanness.
So how does that affect me? Well, if I am considering doing business with that person, I have to question their judgment. If they can say or repost such anger and rage, how can I trust them to make good business decisions? I want to work with someone who is balanced, thoughtful, clear thinking and contemplative.
2. Thank goodness, I also learned how many thoughtful, reflective and introspective people there are on Facebook. Again, it does not matter if I totally agree with their thoughts or not. I respect anyone who thinks clearly and deeply about a subject and then is willing to take a stand and defend that position. I continue to look for more posts from those people and will eagerly do business with them as well – if and when the opportunity arises.
3. I travel quite a lot for business and as a result, have met amazing people across the US and Canada. If not for connecting on Facebook, I would never really be able to keep up with them. Many of them came through my life quickly and then, for all intents and purposes, were gone. I have met some amazing women at Tory Johnson’s Spark and Hustle conferences, and we talked briefly and there was a spark of some sort. But after the conference, we all returned home and to our daily lives.
Because of connecting on Facebook, I have been able to keep up with them and in many ways, feel so closely connected. I have gotten clients, spoken at their events, exchanged resources, and provided support and encouragement in ways never before possible. With some of these women, I will forever be connected and since I am older than many of them 🙁 I get to watch their growth and encourage their journeys.
4. Of course, it has allowed me to keep up with family and friends that live far away. My 92-year-old mom lives in Florida. Almost every day my sister posts a picture of some activity mom is doing and that allows me to feel more present and connected with her even though I can’t see her but about three times a year. I post pictures and info about my kids and grandkids and my sis shows that to mom when she visits.
I keep up with friends and acquaintances better as well. Actually, here is a perfect example. This is from a very young family friend who is turning into a beautiful and smart woman. She lives far away and so I have watched her grow through Facebook. I would have never had the chance to know her as an adult if not for this. She wrote, “Today is a new day with new vibes and new experiences … so I will step into the day with a clear, positive mind and take a conscious breath … Because every little thing, is gonna be alright… ” Ah, Julie, I am so proud of you!
5. One thing I’ve had enough of – all these fabulous recipes that suddenly everyone is posting. The pictures are always so gorgeous and the recipes are usually simple and quick. But my husband does most of the cooking for us now (thank goodness) and all these posts are making me both hungry when I don’t need to be and thinking about cooking myself. Now that would be a disruption in the natural order of things around my house and I can’t let that happen. He is too good a cook … I really do like to see these – but I have to be careful, because it is distracting when I take time to read them, salivate over the pictures and even copy and paste them into my “cookbook.”
Just today in the first few feeds, there are recipes (and pictures of course) for: Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie – Taco Pie Ring – Mocha Mint Chocolate Cupcakes – Amish Breakfast Casserole… on and on. You get the point. Here I have wasted all this time just typing about them! See what I mean!
So, here’s the point: you can easily allow yourself to be distracted on any social media and waste valuable time you should be spending on growing your business. But if used properly, what a bonus for you and your life.
6. One thing that has truly surprised me. I have seen people post about their terrible pain of losing a family member or being seriously ill. I have watched them grieve in public and watched the responses they got from friends … and surprisingly from people they probably don’t know. And what has been so amazing, is that we have all been able to watch as that person got stronger and began the process of grieving just a little less as the weeks went by. I watched these last months as one of our own – a local precious young woman, who I only knew in a business sense, lost her son and she poured out her grief on Facebook. The support and encouragement she got every day was amazing. Yes, she had friends and family close by physically but I think the amount of encouragement she received online would have never been possible a few years ago.
Some of you are more personal than that and keep things held very close. That’s OK. Not everyone would be comfortable exposing all their pain so publicly but if it helps one person, then go for it.
But what about your business and any “pain” you experience there? There are so many great business ideas for all to see and learn from. Conversations, quotations, strategies – all posted for public consumption. There for you to learn, think about and grow!
I started this article with a different end in mind. I write about business and intended this to be more about the business lessons I have learned. But you see what happened. All the other lessons came first and I have run out of room.
The final point is simply this: You have a huge assortment of tools at your disposal. It is not the number of tools – it is how you use them – that matters. You can allow Facebook or any social media to be a complete distraction and disruption … or you can be wise and take from it what you need to grow and prosper. It’s all up to you!
Saralyn can be reached at 828-649-8011 or Saralyn@SaralynCollins.com for more information on how to grow a successful business. To register for our fantastic Biz Magnet networking luncheons, go to www.wncwoman.com and register.