The Social Media Experiment – Taking Two Months off Social Media

Sometimes it’s a pain keeping up with social media obligations. The period before Christmas 2019 was one of those times. Faced with a shortage of time and lots to do, something had to give. I decided to drop LinkedIn completely for a couple of months and see what happened. As it turned out, it wasn’t a particularly interesting ride, which means this isn’t a particularly interesting post!  

What happens when you stop doing social media for business?

Setting the social media scene… 
I only have the time and inclination to handle one social network at a time and as a rule, most of my new business flows from the social media network I’m using at the time. I focused on Twitter for many years, then got bored of it and moved to LinkedIn. LinkedIn has driven most of my new business ever since, with the remainder originating from natural search and word of mouth. Twitter is fast, furious and exciting. LinkedIn is slow, earnest and mostly dull. But they both deliver much the same kind of copywriting projects: mainly blog posts, articles and web pages.
Expecting the worst 
I was kind of expecting the worst to happen. A week after going off LinkedIn I was holding my breath, waiting for the flow of enquiries to suddenly stop or at least slow down. I also felt I’d probably lose a few existing followers and see a drop in new followers, too.
Did the flow of work and invitations to connect slow down or stop?
When I stopped using LinkedIn during November 2019, did the flow of new copywriting work stop or slow down? Oddly, it didn’t. Perhaps I wasn’t away for long enough. In fact the flow of new contacts actually sped up, with more people sending invitations to connect than ever before.
Why? I have no clue. Maybe because they were intrigued by me rejecting the network for two months – which I mentioned at the top of my profile – or maybe because I have quite a few followers these days so look like a reasonable bet.
On the other hand I might have seen a dramatic drop in new business enquiries if I’d stayed away from LinkedIn for longer. But that’s something I can’t know without trying it.
What about existential loneliness?
While it’s nice to spend time every day interacting with my fellow humans, I’ve found it isn’t essential. I get a lot more done when not continually interrupting myself to post on social media or comment on other people’s posts. I don’t have to rack my brains to dream up useful and entertaining things to say or write things to share. And that means I have more time to myself once I’ve finished work for the day.
Why go back to social media?
I could happily carry on business without social media. Life is pretty good without it. I don’t miss it… much. On the other hand as a freelancer working at home it does connect you with the outside world, and I have ‘met’ some great people on it. It’s also such a wonderfully simple way of marketing a business, being cheap, easy and powerful. A lot cheaper and easier than trying to drum up business via email marketing, for sure. And easier than trying to win great search results in today’s super-crowded natural SEO landscape, too.
So, LinkedIn it is. I’m back. If we’re not connected yet, I’ll see you there!

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