Facebook is a great platform for young entrepreneurs but only when it is used properly. The thing about me is I am a big fan of low input for high output techniques. Facebook is easy to use and a post only takes a few seconds to complete, plus the caveat is it’s free. If you look at social media across the board, they are all pretty much free. This is because the users are not the customers. They are the product. The advertisers are the customers who are looking to sell. So having these platforms free simply encourages more users to sign up and keep using the platform. This model is so successful that these platforms have become a way of life for many users. They can’t do without them. But what about for entrepreneurs, is this the way of the future for them?
The benefit of social media is it is a great way to gain exposure, but not necessarily always the outlet for sales immediately. Sales come through these outlets when companies (individuals) have a strong presence in traditional media (paid-for or publicity) outside of social media. Social media is the icing, not the cake. Sadly, new, young, and budget-sensitive entrepreneurs gravitate to this free means of marketing. The negative impact for these entrepreneurs take place when they spend too much time on social media; many of them having it tied to their cell phones, making them engaged with social media all day long. So let’s do the math: Let’s say you spend 16 hours a day attached to your cell phone and 8 of those hours monitoring and posting on Facebook but only get 3 sales per week, you pretty much had an input of 21 hours with an output of 3 sales. Depending on your price point, the cost of engaging in Facebook can be far greater than the benefits.
Our addiction comes from five things: 1. Free Postings. 2. The desire to be heard. 3. Easy. 4. Convenient. 5. Quick. This can cause damage to the progress of your business, especially if you (the multi-hat-wearing-CEO) are the one who manages the Facebook account. The time spent to think up something neat to say, post it and converse with your followers/friends can be a severe distraction from the major branding and growth of your business. There are 3 ways to ensure you are not “over posting”:
- Ensure the post accentuates a marketing campaign on radio, television or in print?
- Treat each post as if it is costing you money to post ($10 is a good range) and treat each “surf” like a billable timer of $.50 per minute. This will teach you restraint.
- Will the post prompt friends or followers to make a purchase, give a referral?
I know of many aspiring entrepreneurs spend enormous time on Facebook engaging in posts and comments that may make them popular. But is it making them profitable? That’s a truth many of us run from. My favorite perspective of the top 3 is to consider Facebook a cost. If you had to pay for each post you wouldn’t post as much, and definitely not make much frivolous posts or spend so much time on it. Think of it like this. Facebook wouldn’t charge you to post because it would only decrease Facebook’s activity and this is the level of activity they are able to boast to advertisers about. But what you, as an entrepreneur, must refrain from is following the masses of consumer behavior. Your behavior must be measurable. It must be that of a producer. Use social media profitably, because popularity is just a contest that you can’t take to the bank.
Devin Robinson is a former business & economics professor, author of 9 self-help books and the founder of Urban Business Institute and Beauty Supply Institute. He is regularly involved in economic activism activities that benefits black entrepreneurs and leader of the #BlackBusinessMatter movement. Visit his various websites, MyPowerMove.com, BlackBusinessesMatter.net and DevinRobinson.com.