One of the “golden rules” of freelancing and anything related to contract work or entrepreneurship is that you must utilize social media to its fullest extent. A quick Google search will quickly pull up a quaint billion or so results on algorithm hacks, marketing tricks, and best practices on how to game the system, get your work out there, and reap unending rewards.
I say, nah, I’m good.
The “requirements” of business
As I said, it’s hardcore dogma to promote your work, whatever work you do, on social media. This is especially true for writers, artists, entrepreneurs, and creatives in general. Countless articles are written every second(?) about the miraculous benefits of social media marketing while showcasing the endless list of testimonials authenticating their claims.
I was no different. Years ago when the term social media marketing was new it was tough to weed-out the marketing crap from the real-life experiences of others trying to get their brands off the ground. Now it’s easy to see the overexposed and redundant information pouring out of the web. We’ve been inundated with an overflow of marketing about, well, marketing.
All in all, it was/is a “requirement” in today’s online environment to use these tools to bolster and ultimately benefit our efforts toward success.
The bandwagon of the new and shiny
Of course I, like everyone else, saw these new and shiny tools years ago as assets to get the word out about my freelance work. I was writing for several websites in the fitness industry and it only felt right to promote my work on all of my social networks. I would regularly link my articles all over Twitter, a Facebook Page I made, Google+ (when it was around), and even LinkedIn (yeah, I know, why right?)
I don’t have to tell you where that all went. Well, it went south pretty fast. At first my readers flocked to “like,” retweet, and share my posts. It began as the beginning of something big, I thought. But, very soon after organic reach started to suffer and the pay-to-play game started up.
Unwilling to play the game I quickly became sour over promoting my work on these platforms and soon let them wither. I couldn’t compete with the big boys.
Small vs large
Large companies started dolling out the big bucks to promote posts. This in-turn crowds out small guys like me as we are left with a sliver of reach. It’s a no-brainer that I all but abandoned the practice. Sure, I dabbled here and there. I would try to post something at the perfect time of day, write something witty to open up the post, and even used (gasp!) hashtags, but nothing seemed to budge. Money is what they wanted and I refused to give in.
Social media marketing is for big business. Period. I know many will argue over that stressing that I’m wrong, I’m just not doing it right, and I’m a fool for not using it more extensively, but I have my reasons and they extend well beyond metrics.
Why I Don’t Use Social Media for Freelancing
Why no more marketing on social media? Well, let me just first say this doesn’t mean I’ll never go back. Of course if something miraculous happens and something presents itself as too good to pass up I’ll try it out, but for now as things are I’ll have to pass for several reasons.
- Little to no return. As stated earlier, there’s little return on my time and effort. I came into the game when it was more open to the little guy, so I have that memory to always draw on. It’s tough for me to keep pushing for something that really won’t matter in the long run.
- Not willing to pay. I have relatively zero budget for social media marketing. Even if I did, I wouldn’t waste it on marketing. Large businesses have entire sections of budgets dedicated to this stuff.
- Time consuming. To be honest, I can find many more important things to spend my time on. With a family, work, and writing at the end of the day social media is the last thing I have any motivation for.
- Obsessive metrics. I admit that I obsess over metrics way too much. Always checking back to see how my posts are performing is an Achille’s heel of mine. In the big picture, it all doesn’t really matter all that much to me. In reality, it has very little value.
- Feels shallow. Personally, social media all feels a little too shallow for me. Now, I’m not trying to bash those who use it to stay in touch with family or utilize others for support, but for promoting my work it just lacks any real depth.
- Ephemeral. Now I know not all social media platforms are ephemeral in a literal sense, but for the consumer posts are seen for only a few seconds and then never seem to have any relevance after. In others words, it doesn’t act like a library of sorts where viewers will ever revisit a post.
- Part of the problem. With all of the above said, I have a growing feeling that, at this point, I would be more a part of the problem than anything of positive significance. There’s enough out there being shoved down people’s throats and I don’t want to be a willing participant.
What do I do now?
For now, I’ll just write for other outlets and let them worry about promotion. The sites I work with have the budgets to spend and teams to tend to these things. In the mean time I’ll just keep writing on my blog and stay in my lane.
How about you? What are your experiences with social media personally and with business?
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