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Joanna Michaels, Beyond Social Buzz, Social media well-being expert

Minal meets… Joanna Michaels, Beyond Social Buzz

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Joanna Michaels, Beyond Social Buzz, social media well-being

How many social media networks do you use? How much time do you spend online, scrolling through your newsfeed?

If 2020 achieved one thing, it was getting us spending an inordinate amount of time online. But, what effect does that have on us?

One person who really focuses on social media well-being is Joanna Michaels of Beyond Social Buzz. So, I decided to quiz Joanna about what she knows about how we can achieve a better balance.

Business background

Minal: Tell me a bit about your business. What do you specialise in?

Joanna: I’m a social media coach, trainer and founder of Beyond Social Buzz, a North London based consultancy that helps start-ups and SMEs to get better results from social media.

I specialise in developing social media strategies, clarifying the positioning of the business, the why, the key message and values. This process helps with building a consistent and meaningful social media presence that establishes trust, breeds engagement and tangible business results.

Apart from my consultancy work I also deliver regular social media training to organisations, charities, tech schools and universities.

Finally, I’m currently developing my business in the area of digital well-being. I’m looking for another layer in what I do if you wish 😉

Minal: When and why did you start your business?

Joanna: I was finishing a management and business degree when social media marketing just started making waves and I saw the potential of it for small and medium businesses. I set up my consultancy in 2012 when most of the SMEs I spoke to associated social media marketing with their personal social media presence and saw little value from  “posting on Facebook”. This, however, changed dramatically over the last few years with social media marketing becoming an essential part of marketing a business of any size.

Let’s talk about the psychology of social media!

Minal: One of the things I’ve seen you talk about a lot is the psychology of social media. Can you tell us a bit more about what you mean?

Joanna: Since I can remember I have always been fascinated by our social media behaviours and reactions, the secrets behind social media engagement, why some marketing messages became viral while others fall flat and finally, and how understanding those behaviours can help grown business. Part of my interest has always been connected to the well-being side of things.

Psychology of human behaviour is an incredible field and trying to understand our online behaviours both in terms of business and in terms of our overall wellbeing it’s something that I find incredibly rewarding.

Minal: I know many people fall into the trap of aimlessly scrolling through social media. What would you say is the reason for that?

Joanna: I would encourage creating more awareness around our digital habits, as very often we engage online unconsciously, or in other words out of habit, or even out of boredom. Creating that awareness around our social media use can help us to engage with more intention – we know why we are going there and how it can serve us.

Create more awareness around your digital habits and engage with more attention. Read more of Joanna's tips. #MinalMeets Click To Tweet

Minal: As small business owners, we feel we should be “on” all the time. How would you advise people balance their time on social media for their business?

Joanna: Similarly to what I said above, have a clear intention or in other words, social media strategy, with clearly outlined objectives makes a huge difference.

It helps us to focus our attention on the activity that matters most and ensures the best ROI. It also helps us to save time. With a clear plan in place, each action serves our overall goals and objectives. If we can save time, we can save money.

Surprisingly many small businesses still run their social media activity without such plan in place.

Joanna Michaels, Beyond Social Buzz, social media well-being
Follow Joanna on Instagram: Beyond Social Buzz

Minal: I saw an Instagram post of yours that talked about free services where in fact the price is our attention. How can small businesses get some of the attention you talked about?

Joanna: Definitely and there are so many ways to do that. On a practical level, things that come to mind are video, stories and reels. They attract more attention than static content and make users engaged for longer than intended.

On a deeper level, we look at building that stronger connection with our target audience: showing them appreciation through a high level of responsiveness; supporting values and causes that matter to them (an increasingly important part, especially for brands serving a younger audience); building a supportive community around your brand; creating a feeling of belonging, and making that community a part of your brand story.

So many more examples that I could mention here!

Minal: Something I did a couple of years ago was to get a new battery fitted in my watch. I’ve found it decreased how many times I touch my phone. What do you think makes our phones so addictive?

Joanna: It all links back to how we are wired as human beings. Our need of survival and belonging (we are social creatures); our need to respond to initial threats and opportunities.

So while we have evolved hugely over time (there are no dinosaurs trying to eat us 😀) our responses and our relationship with social media/digital devices is still linked to our primitive impulses.

We now know that receiving notifications on our phones for example is linked closely to boosts of dopamine. This is a chemical made in the brain which is released when we expect a reward/associate certain activity with pleasure.

Our brain releases dopamine when we exercise, take a bite of delicious food, when we have sex and when we receive phone notifications.

Every notification, whether a text message a like on Instagram or a Facebook notification has the potential to give us that dopamine boost. And that’s what makes it so irresistible as we want to go back for more.

Dopamine is released when we exercise, take a bite of delicious food, when we have sex and when we receive phone notifications. 😯 Learn how you can control the urge to keep checking your phone! #MinalMeets Click To Tweet

Minal: There’s such pressure to post on social media all the time. What are your thoughts on how often businesses should post?

Joanna: There are lots of statistics available, but to give you an example, most sources will recommend posting 1-2 times a day on a Facebook page. BUT I would say that’s something that will depend on the business.

We definitely want to aim for a consistent presence. With such an abundance of choice, users can easily forget about us and move to another, similar business if they see social media accounts being inactive and when their messages are not being responded to.

So consistency of presence and responsiveness are both very important.

Minal: Small business owners spend so much time online. What is your advice for our digital well-being?

Joanna: There are a number of things that small business owners can do. My top three tips are:

  • Do not compare yourself/your business to others. We are all prone to self-presentation on social media: showing ourselves in the best light and talking about successes, yet we rarely talk about the process that took us there ‘its good to remember that. 
  • Login with an intention to keep yourself in check and away from the temptation to scroll mindlessly.
  • Remember that there is enough to go around. Focus on your strengths (everyone has unique potential) and serving your customers/potential customers on social media (and offline) in the best possible way. You will be rewarded with an engaged community that is ready to recommend you further.

It can be hard to balance the time we spend on social media. These tips from Joanna will help you to find a way that works for you.

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