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Anti-social media: Why an online presence is no longer a must have for business

Sam-Sloma-SketchIllustration by Dan Murrell

I joined the financial planning profession in 2010. It’s fair to say that, prior to that, I enjoyed elements of social media.

Facebook was four years old, Twitter and Instagram were just coming into the world, and LinkedIn was mainly the platform for business professionals.

Having started work in the sports niche from day one, Twitter was helpful to build connections in that world and my use of that particular platform began to grow.

I’m pretty certain we wouldn’t have had much traction on Facebook groups, although, looking back, we definitely could have done more to push Instagram and YouTube.

Platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn are becoming more of a distraction than they are a help

My personal opinion is that social media was in its prime in the 2010s. There wasn’t so much hate, there weren’t verified accounts and people seemed far more attainable and approachable.

Then, from 2015, podcasts started changing the way people can interact with whomever they like, and it’s been a brilliant resource, replacing the short format on Twitter/LinkedIn with opt-in long format content on almost any subject.

It’s fair to say there are probably a million podcasts nowadays in every subject, and it’s the listener’s prerogative as to whether or they choose to listen.

In my own world of social media, lots of the platforms have lost their shine. Everyone seems to be arguing with everyone else, about everything possible. It’s either that or self-help gurus selling you something. I find it all pretty tedious and my use across almost all platforms is way down.

There are many businesses thriving without anything online

As always, the irony of posting this on social media for people to read won’t be lost on me, but I wanted to make the point that no one has to be on social media. In the early days, it was seen as a must have – you must have an online presence, you must respond to customers online, you must have reviews, clients’ stories, a strap line for when someone asks you what you do.

I’ve gone off all these things. Yes, we have some of them and yes we’ll continue to do them but I don’t believe any of them are the be-all and end-all.

There are, of course, some advisers, some businesses, that do amazingly well from social media. When you hear about those it always seems easy. However, there are many businesses thriving without anything online. Old-school relationships, going to see people in person, going for coffees or picking up the phone are being forgotten or disregarded in favour of posting on LinkedIn and hoping you can build an audience.

There is plenty of juice left to squeeze with accountant contacts and they provide us with warm client referrals who fit our niches exactly

We have recently gone back to basics in our marketing efforts. We’re focused on building stronger relationships with the accountants who already refer us and like what we do. There is plenty of juice left to squeeze here and they provide us with warm client referrals who fit our niches exactly. They know who we are, what we do and who we like to work with, and provide us with those people accordingly.

I am becoming more and more disillusioned with what I see on Twitter and LinkedIn, and feel these things are becoming more of a distraction than they are a help. It seems we’re trying to be impressive on these platforms, as opposed to being ourselves. We’re trying to fit the narrative when in real life we don’t need to. We’re growing, we’re building real-life relationships away from the digital and it feels so much better.

I don’t know if this will resonate with people or not but I wanted to write this as an anti-social media call. Humans are social animals and hopefully always will be. Get out there and meet people, tell your stories, be authentic, be real, in real life.

Sam Sloma is managing director of Engage Financial Services

Originally Appeared Here

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