Social Media Vacations: Good For You, Bad For Business?

March 3, 2015

Social Media VacationEaster is this weekend and a lot of my Catholic friends have given up social media for Lent.  I have other friends who, throughout the year, have taken time off to decompress and regain some control of their lives.  Some do it for a weekend; some others a month. Personally, I cannot imagine being off of Facebook for an entire day, let alone 40.

One friend who is in the middle of her Facebook fast, described life sans social media as “less stressful, less distracted and more zen.”

Social media breaks can be good for the soul.  It takes us away from the constant rat race of pretending that our lives are fabulous. The pressure of having to be witty and interesting and always adding value.  Social media detoxes give us more time to spend on important work projects, developing new ideas and connecting with friends and family in the physical world. It gives our eyes and necks a break from staring at tiny brightly lit screens. Social media vacations can remind us what’s important and what’s not.

The downside is that you can become disconnected.  For me, I often learn about breaking news on social media.  I know which friends had babies and who got engaged and who is traveling near me.  I chat with colleagues about business and, of course, I introduce people.  Social media is an invisible cable that ties me to people and make those relationships stronger.  It helps me learn about people and what they need in their lives.  And while it can add unintentional pressure to life, in general, I find benefit in it. However, even with all of the benefits, I can see the need to unwind and get a fresh perspective on life. A chance to be introspective. A chance to live one’s life privately and without voyeurism.  As I type this I understand how refreshing this sounds. I get it.  But let’s think about it from a business perspective.

What happens to businesses that rely on social media to communicate with their customers and prospects?
  • How do people like myself, who use social media as a business development too, keep the momentum going without our virtual networks? I have a lot of people in my circles whose phone numbers and email address I don’t have.  If I lost access to Facebook and Linkedin, I could lose contact with them very easily.
  • How do marketing strategies need to plan for more privacy and less sharing.  Facebook knows more about you than your own family does. They use this information to sell ads and customize news feeds.  What if this all went away tomorrow? Do you know what marketing channels you would shift to? What are you supplementing and complementing social media with?
  • What are you doing today to get face-to-face connections/relationship with the people who are interacting with you and your brand?  Even if social media is here to stay, this is a good practice for strengthening loyalty and for identifying news opportunities to help your customers.

Have you ever thought about taking a social media vacation?

If you are in a communications role, how are you planning for your customers to be offline?