You can’t avoid social media in the beauty business. And you can’t avoid the big four platforms – Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. All of them are used by brands to communicate their offerings, and consumers to find and react to those offerings. You also need to use them to promote yourself if you offer a service. I have a business so that is obvious, but I’d argue that if you have a job you need to promote your services as well.
But that doesn’t mean that all the platforms are of equal value. For a long time the one that was clearly most important was Facebook. It is the one that people spend most time on, engage with most fully and which – to be frank – generates the most referrals. The other three are all very good at what they do, but they don’t quite have the hold that Facebook has.
One of the reasons for this is that it hosts numerous forums where people with common interests can exchange information and opinions. And Facebook forums have become very important to beauty professionals. I have a feeling that there are several businesses whose whole existence is due to their activity on these forums. I have picked up business from them too.
So why am I fed up. The main reason is that the forums no longer seem to me to be as useful as they used to be. For a start, you now find that the impact of a particular post no longer fully reflects how popular it is. Instead you get the opportunity to pay Facebook to promote it. This isn’t much fun. Not only do I much prefer free stuff, it also means that you don’t get the feedback on what people are interested in.
The other problem is that there are now simply so many forums it is hard to work out which are the good ones. Many are run by people who have only the faintest idea of what they are talking about. And there is of course no quality control on the comments. So anyone can turn up and write anything. And a great many people do exactly that.
And my final grouse is that I find the interface is increasingly fussy and confusing. I often miss messages. But despite that it always manages to successfully hector me about not writing enough content, not putting images up with the content and nag me about how many of my long suffering followers haven’t heard from me for a long time. Yes I know I ignore friends, family and colleagues. I’m a very bad man. Can I just get on with it please?
Having the time to spend a bit more time with my social media accounts over Christmas I decided I had to do something about it. So I have set up my own forum on this blog. This will probably never get a fraction of the attention that doing the same on Facebook would. And I obviously can’t compete in the sophistication of the interface. But at least I will be able to ensure the content is up to the standard I’d like to see it. And I won’t be subverting democracy either, which is another benefit.
At time of writing this post I have just about got the software working. It doesn’t look very elegant but it seems to do the job. I’d love to see you participating, and if you have any ideas for what it should be covering I’d be very happy to hear them.