• Stephanie Wilson

Eyes Wide Open: Starting to Take Back Some of Your Personal Power on Social Media

Last week, I wrote about ads, and mentioned that not all ads seen are on social media, but those that are on social media can be a bit “stickier” than others. This week, in our journey through the digital divide, I wanted to come back and discuss this a bit more because in the land of social media, these things take on new life.


Ads can be just about anywhere, and today, many of us choose to pay a little extra so we don’t have to watch or listen to them. The shear fact that over a relatively short period of time, we’ve gone from doing things during commercial breaks to paying for less commercial breaks tells me that we are so inundated with ads, we’re exhausted by them.


A Land of Light and Sound With No One Seeing or Listening


For a small business owner, the thought of creating something that can compete in this landscape is daunting to say the least. It looks downright bleak. Desolate.


So, we attack the devil we know – social media. And try to learn how to work the algorithm while finding our own voice. Which is rarely a smooth or easy process.


And for those who are uncomfortable in this setting, it’s often written off for other avenues – such as print or radio rather than working in collaboration with. This then, leaves a distinct disconnect in conversational traffic and often a disruption in the business functions – i.e. the shear act of doing business can be exponentially more difficult simply due to a lack of digital presence- website or otherwise.


Stuck in a Scarcity Mindset


This time of year is a particularly difficult time for many small businesses as we struggle for a small piece of the holiday spending pie.


This time of year may very well set the business for success or failure in the New Year as spending drops significantly in the first few months of every new year.


Every sale, matters. Every interaction, matters. Every person who walks through the door, matters more than any of us fully realize. And after the last year plus, these things matter even more.


Adding fuel to this fire is the shear fact that to advertise in any capacity during this time of year, inherently means a higher cost – not only financially but energetically too.


Discounting Ourselves


We’ve been trained as individuals to be on the “lookout” for the best deals this time of year. From Black Friday to Cyber Monday, and all the pop-up events that happen through December 24th are meant to do one thing – drive spending, typically through the “art of the deal.”


Now this is not all together a bad thing if your spending is going back into someone or something you feel passionate about. I’ve spent some serious dough on something that I have wanted without blinking an eye.


But as a business owner, I can tell you that I have fallen into the discount trap more often than I’d care to remember. Discounting in the business owner’s mind means discounting our goods or services but at the end of the day, what we’re really doing is discounting our VALUE.


From skimping out on business necessities, discounting merchandise, to discounting our own time – we are DISCOUNTING our own value.


Which stinks and makes us feel like shit.


Small Businesses ARE the Backbone to Every Community


While those of you who read this blog may be wondering what kind of tangent I have gone off on, I want you to know the realities of the battle for your attention every small business owner faces.


Things like billboards, radio ads, and even some digital and print marketing ad campaigns are simply outside of the budget. That is why we are almost relegated to a website and social media presence, and even then, these are not always easy to attain or maintain.


This is why you will inherently see less ads from small businesses and when you do, they appear to be of lower quality or mass produced – because at times, this is what can be afforded.


Now that doesn’t make the ad spend right – I’m looking directly at you small business owners. Spend your money wisely and intentionally. Treat it as the investment it is.


So, what we have when we’re online, especially on social media, is a great mixture of corporate (like Wal-Mart/Wish/Amazon) and large to medium-sized, fairly well-known local entities (like WellSpan/Orrstown Bank/Martin’s Potato Rolls) popping up either as Low Hanging Fruit or Sticky ads, depending on your usage.


Stand Out Against the Noise


Now, here we have the small business owner. Trying to find their footing in what could be a most precarious time no matter how you slice it. With as much knowledge of how to use social media, or really any form of digital media, as you, my dear reader.


To say that we don’t know what we’re doing is an understatement. Because as you will learn through our journey into the digital world, unraveling one string leads to another knot. This journey, however, is very similar to other journeys many others have taken.


There’s a reason why so many small business owners compare their business to their child. Because to a very real extent, it is. We’re literally following along by the seat of our pants and hoping that the decisions we’ve made are wise. And if not, our child/business will tell us by shitting the bed (not always metaphorically speaking) in and around the age of 3. We, like most parents, hope to have that shit under control by age 5.


Rely on Your Tribe


I tell you all this, dear reader, because YOU have a very important and integral role in not only what you see, but also in how well you can help these businesses achieve truly free advertising on their end, that builds and extends the local community experience as a whole.


That’s some pretty cool shit right there. Especially when you can do this by doing something you’re already doing any way.


Feel those feels because that’s some powerful shit right there.


Think BIG


There’s a reason behind all this local growth. The capacity for a Page to hit over 100K in Franklin County alone is not difficult. The capacity for that Page to then speak to a greater, larger overall audience is then that much easier to accomplish when proper steps are in place.


Think about what that could mean for the small local, non-profit organizations who’s mission it is to raise funds to support our community.


Think about what it could mean for voter turnout in our local elections.


Think about what it could mean to the small business owners in our community if more people knew about their goods and services.


That’s some pretty big shit.


And You, you as an individual, have the power to start making these changes happen. All by scrolling on social media and doing what you do.


It Really IS That Simple


Two weeks ago, I asked you to start looking at your Newsfeed for your Top 10. [I’d love to hear how that’s going for you btw – hit me up on socials and let me know] This week, I want you to do the same for local organizations and businesses that are important to you.


Search their social feeds and see what they’ve posted recently. Throw a like, a comment, or a share up there - just be sure to not share too much – no one wants a Spammy Cathy. And even though these things are weighted differently, you can do a lot with just a few likes and reactions. Trust your gut.


Now, here’s the sweet part for you – the more you do this, the more you will see from these organizations and businesses.


Ever miss out on hearing about an event until it was too late? Not. No. Mor’.


And that’s not only powerful shit, but some pretty sweet shit too.


Now go out there and help the local guy out. We need it and a few likes and hearts can show our Pages to others who may not know about us that need us.


It’s all about those connections. And my dears, that is what social media is all about. Creating and maintaining those sweet, sweet connections that you love to see.

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I contemplated not writing this week, because lord – you guys have had me BUSY this week. Glory be! But then, as I sat sending out end of day emails and making my list for shit to do tomorrow, a song