The Results of the Experiment: Taking Legacy Greens Off of Social Media for the month of February
On February 1st, 2020, I started an experiment at Legacy Greens: Take a one month break and see what happens financially. Read on to find out what happened (or scroll to the end to see the numbers. This is a longer blog post!)
The most interesting observation that I made on Day 1: More people are off social media than I had originally thought. I was working the Saturday shift at the store, and was telling people that I had taken Legacy Greens off of social media, and to my surprise, a good handful of my regular Saturday customers let me know that they aren't socials anymore either! This was inspiring to know that a good chunk of my community had already gone in the direction I was curious about.
It's the first Monday of February, and our Newfoundland Chocolate Company order arrived (a day early!). It's times like this where I instinctively share content to social media to communicate we're re-stocked! So on Day 3, I just wrote "Newfoundland Chocolate" on the sign board outside, and that's it.
I had a semi-regular customer come in and tell me that they heard about my break from social media and had some mixed feelings about it. I wanted to learn more! She said that social media has been incredibly effective in getting her in to the store. That being said, she also appreciated my comment about creating community around food, and told me that made her want to come in more frequently, as a habit, rather than a reaction to a post. I am so appreciative to have these types of customers in my life! It is truly the customers who habitually come every week or multiple times a week, that form the basis of our sales. I am extremely grateful for a long list of people who have been shopping with us since the early days. Thank you, thank you!
Day 14: Valentine's Day
At the end of Day 13, I ran a sales report. We were $500 ahead from the year before (woo hoo!); however, that all took a little drop once Valentine's Day hit. Normally that's a big day for us, but it definitely felt slow. We didn't sell as many flowers or chocolate covered strawberries, and in general there just seemed to be fewer people coming in to the store.
Day 17: Family Day
People showed up on Family Day! We were open from 12-4, and saw a decent amount of traffic. We even had some new customers find us online after realizing most other grocery stores were closed. That being said, sales weren't that great. I would be interesting in seeing what Family Day sales would be like if we promoted being open on social media.
Just a note to say that I love not being on social media. I feel relaxed and it's nice not knowing what's going on in other people lives, businesses, etc. But the weird thing is, my screen time is still around the same. I find myself gravitating toward longer form content: news articles, recipes, the Weather Network, sales data, banking info, etc. I would have thought my screen time would have been significantly reduced, and unfortunately, it looks like I'm just diverting my attention elsewhere on my phone.
Lots of customers have been asking about this experiment! Mostly curious conversations, but today I did have someone tell me that they miss seeing our posts on Instagram. We've heard that feedback from one other person this month. So that makes 2 people total (out of our 5800 followers ;)) + my mom.
It's the last week of this experiment and I'm feeling a bit of dread in knowing I'll be back in the social media world next week. Side note, my screen time is starting to come down a bit, so that's encouraging!
It's the last day! And I'm ready to share the overall results on this challenge from a financial perspective (since that's mostly what the experiment was about!). I should premise with the fact that sales at Legacy Greens have plateaued in the last 2 years. We had significant growth, year over year in the first 2 years of business; however, our data shows predictable sales (i.e. in theory, 2019 February sales should be similar to 2020 February sales, assuming we are still on the plateau curve)
|In-Store Sales||Online Sales||Total Sales|
Result: Removing social media did not negatively affect in-store sales, but did negatively affect online sales, thus affecting total sales. The sales in February 2020 were down 4.5% from 2019
- To be fully transparent, I wasn't paying any attention to online sales during this whole experiment; so while I was monitoring sales, I totally thought we were on track and not going to see a significant difference from last year.
- It's encouraging that online sales have a direct relationship with social media. Most of our online sales are for our produce box subscriptions, pre-orders for special features (ex. baked goods, holiday boxes), and occasional events. Although our online sales are only a small fraction of our overall sales, they are still important to us, and often involve pre-orders which means we can do better planning when it comes to ordering product.
- There was one more sales day in 2020 in comparison to 2019 (Leap Year, Feb 29), so this would have contributed to healthier in-store sales this year.
- I got A LOT of work done on other projects, specifically a store procedure manual, weekly financial accounting, my 2019 year end is complete, and I've been working on this blog post all month.
March 1st: Back on Social Media
This morning, I downloaded Instagram and Twitter back on to my phone. I don't feel great about it to be honest. I do realize that's a bit of negative energy to be sending out into the world, but I also think this feeling will help me make better decisions going forward. So what are these decisions?
1) I used to worry that I wasn't generating content frequently enough (which now I think is crazy, because Legacy Greens was active almost every day). Going forward, I think I can do 25-30% of the content that I was doing before, but really focusing on higher quality posts: new products, holiday hours, events, recipes, and promoting the interesting things our neighbourhood businesses are doing.
2) I am a person who loves boundaries. Not having the app on my phone was a super clear boundary. I'm leaning toward only installing the Instagram app on my phone for specific days (Monday, Wednesday, Friday?), and not worrying if it takes 48-72 hours to respond to a DM/comment. I used to feel bad if I wasn't able to get back to someone's inquiry within a few hours, but I'm putting that on myself. We have a bricks and mortar store, with an actual person working there, and maybe that's old fashioned, but we would love to respond to any inquiry you have in-person or by phone, during our store hours :) And we'll totally respond to you online too, it just may not be immediately. And I hope you're okay with that, because it really makes me feel great.
3) I think I want to do a month off of social media every year, and I think February might be the perfect time to do it! If you'd like to participate in any way next year, please reach out! And if you want to talk more about this, I'm here to chat more: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for following this adventure :) And if you missed my first post about this experiment, check it out at: https://legacygreens.com/blogs/news/an-experiment-taking-a-month-off-of-instagram