For someone whose business is run 100% through the internet and marketing through social media, I have to be plugged in the majority of the time.
It’s uncommon for me not to respond to a Facebook or Instagram message almost immediately, because those two apps are open on my phone and laptop continuously. I’m always getting messages from customers about sizes, shipping time, etc. Plus on top of that, I have writing deadlines to meet for my clients, and collaborations in the works.
My business life revolves around social media, and 99% of the time, I love it!
But lately, I haven’t been feeling it (social media, that is). It gets to be a little disheartening after awhile when you feel like most of the interactions you come across on social media are just superficial.
So many people utilize social media to sell their products, which I obviously completely understand, because that’s also my main outlet for my businesses, as well. However, what made me fall in love with social media for both personal and business use has been the daily interactions.
It’s one of my favorite things getting to know people. I love to know what types of books you’re reading, or where your family went on vacation. I love sharing what my family is up to, and all of the sports pictures that comes with being a soccer and baseball mom. That’s the cool thing about social media; it allows human connection where you can literally become friends with anyone, anywhere in the world.
But so often lately, the only comments I’m seeing all too often on social media, barely break the surface. If it’s not about where you can find an outfit, it’s someone trying to sell something to someone. And that’s it. If you don’t buy the product, they’re out of there. I’ve been unfollowed and blocked more times than I can count, and then re-followed by the same account, just to be unfollowed again a couple days later. (Follow/Unfollow. It’s a method. Don’t worry, I’ll talk about it in my next Blogging for Business post. It’s a strategy to grow your social media following, and in my opinion, it stinks).
I recently joined a women’s group on Facebook with the description that the group’s purpose was to connect and empower women. This was just what I needed; true, authentic conversations with real people who weren’t just trying to sell me something (and vice versa).
I’ve been in this group for a couple of weeks now, and I’m honestly about to leave. I have seen some people really bare their souls in this group. Comments from women going through divorce, or issues with their children. Women talking about their histories of domestic abuse or assault, and wanting to find someone who maybe understands their pain. And there are some really amazing women in this group that offer encouragement and support.
But then these posts get pushed down the feed because there are so many more comments from people trying to sell their products.
Let’s pause for a moment, because I feel it’s important for me to say.. Please, please, PLEASE do not get me wrong. I do not find anything wrong with Direct Sales or MLM. I happen to be a consultant for a direct sales company, so I get it. I also own and operate an online business that I built from the ground up. I understand the meaning of hustling and working hard as a female business owner and wanting to grow that business and share all the things I love about what I do. And I FULLY support other women who are owning their own hustle.
But I also think there’s a time and a place for all of that.
So tonight, I posted in this group that I just mentioned. I thought this would be the perfect channel for me to get some advice – turning to thousands of women. I asked this group if they could do me a favor. I explained that I’m a writer and a blogger, and that I’m working on a project for an upcoming post.
I explained that every holiday season, my family and I try and help a family locally by “adopting” this family for Christmas. We usually buy the family presents, and things they need; whether it be food, or warm coats, or boots. You name it. As parents, we feel it’s so important to teach our son to give back. To show him how blessed he is, and how there’s always room in our hearts to help others.
So I asked this group of 53,000 women to comment with an organization or charity that they love, because I wanted to compile a list of some of these recommendations that people could give back to this holiday season, should they feel inclined to do so.
I received ONE comment with a recommendation, from a friend of mine that I know personally who happens to also be in this group.
So I thought.. okay. Well it IS Saturday night. Maybe the rest of these 53,000 women are out and about, not on their phones. Maybe they’re not like me, already in my PJs and settled in for the night.
So I made a second post, same group.
“Best under eye cream, and GO!”
I have had to turn off notifications. I so far have over 200 comments, multiple friend requests, and multiple messages waiting for me in my inbox from women who are trying to sell me their latest products.
Maybe it shouldn’t, but this breaks my heart.
What has happened to human connection? Of truly caring about another individual? When did Facebook and Instagram become a rotating, cutthroat marketplace?
I’m not mad at any of these women for responding with their best tips and tricks and products for under eye creams. I did ask the question, after all. But why were hundreds of women compelled to help me find my best skin care product but only one woman was compelled to recommend a charity that helps others?
I don’t get it.
Is this the message that we are subconsciously teaching our children? To only look out for themselves? Or to only care about the superficial things in life?
And then there are the women on this eye cream post that are actually getting into heated debates over this! There are those who are pushing their direct sales business with everything in them! And those who are fighting back “don’t purchase from direct sales!” There are those who are arguing over which products have the safest ingredients, and which big brands pay commissions. It’s truly fascinating.
Still.. one lonely comment on my charity post.
I, for one, know that I’m not okay with that. Our son will grow up knowing that it is admirable to build a business, and to work hard to get far in life. But he will also learn not to take that for granted. He will not let success cloud his vision of seeing or knowing right from wrong. He will not turn a blind eye when someone else is in need. He will not get so hung up on making another buck that he turns his back on someone who has close to nothing.
Maybe I’m making too much of this, but I honestly feel like someone needs to. And I so badly want to say to these women that I understand! Take that side hustle and make it your empire. But don’t let it consume you. Don’t let it become so much of your main focus that you lose sight of the important things in life. I also know that with the Facebook algorithms, it’s natural that this post is getting more attention. The more people that comment, means this post goes to the top of the group page, and my other post get pushed even further down. But why should an eye cream get more attention than a call to action to help others?
My eyes have definitely been opened a little wider (no thanks to the hundreds of recommended creams that I haven’t yet tried). I don’t know what the solution is; although I wish I did. What I can promise is this: I’m going to make that list. I’m going to find some amazing places and people that could use our help this season. I’m also going to be a little more self-aware of how I’m acting (and selling) on social media. You have my permission to call me out if you feel I’m being too superficial. I want to be able to connect with people, and if that’s not possible anymore.. then this girl will be logging off.
Natasha Funderburk is a wife, #boymom, NASM-Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Consultant, and ACE-Behavior Change Specialist. When not watching her son play baseball, she can be found on various writing platforms, coaching her clients to live their best lives, drinking all the coffee, and conducting living-room dance parties.