I really enjoy social media, which is why I've made it part of my career, both in the services I provide to clients and in how I market my business. That's why it's so important to be able to turn the ship around when I feel myself starting to grow compulsive or impatient or resentful of social media -- or if I find myself unable to disengage from it and maintain balance and perspective between life online and off.
Today I want to start a conversation about how we can create and maintain healthy relationships with our social media activity. Life should be lived with our faces raised toward the sun, so let's take our noses out of our phones -- without losing any progress toward our digital marketing goals.
Here are some of the ways I'm challenging myself to reenvision my relationship with social media:
Take your time back. Rather than posting willy-nilly, plan and create your social media posts in batches, and use scheduling tools to automate their delivery. You'll end up feeling so productive when you whip out a week's or a month's worth of content all at once. Plus, this will force you to think more strategically about the flow of your content and how it funnels your audience towards conversion.
Then think about how often you really need to be social media to post, reply to comments, provide customer service, and monitor your stats. Will once a day do it, or once in the morning and once near the end of your workday? Schedule that time into your calendar, and then focus the rest of your time on the nuts and bolts of your work, knowing you'll attend to social media when the time comes.
USE NOTIFICATIONS SPARINGLY
Push notifications can be great for alerting us items that need our immediate attention, but how often is that what they're actually doing? Pretty rarely, in my experience. Mostly, push notifications serve to lure us back onto a platform, where we will waste a nice chunk of time. That's just what the platform wants, but detrimental to our productivity.
Think carefully -- and be real with yourself -- about what you need to be aware of in your accounts at any given moment. Turn off notifications on whatever platforms can wait until your scheduled social media hour (ahem, that's probably most of them).
UNFOLLOW THOSE WHO DON'T ADD VALUE
Have you ever done an unsubscribe sweep of your inbox? Doesn't it feel great? It's time to do that to your social media accounts, too. Stop exposing yourself to Negative Nellies, Downer Debbies, and Boring Brendas. They're such an energy suck. And unless and Skeezy Susan is your mom, she's probably not going to notice that you left the building, so don't feel guilty saying bye-bye. (If Skeezy Susan is your mom...well, I'm afraid that's above my pay grade.)
Set aside some time to go through your friends, following, and group lists and ask yourself the Mari Kondo question: "Does this [account] spark joy?" If an account doesn't add positive value to your life and jive with your goals and values, it's time to set it free. Not only are you decluttering your feeds, you're making room for the platforms' algorithms to start showing you more of what you want to see.
LOG ON WITH INTENTION (AND DON'T FORGET WHAT THAT WAS)
This one trips me up all the time, especially with Facebook. I log on with a very specific objective in mind -- to post to a group or look someone up -- and as soon as my feed loads, I get sucked into a headline or an acquaintance's post about their terrific/terrorizing toddler and I completely forget why I logged on in the first place.
So this is one of my big goals, to maintain focus when I engage with social media. To productively do what I intended to do without distraction. Easier said than done, but by just jotting down a note about my intention before I pull up the site, I help keep my brain on task.
DO MORE ENRICHING THINGS
What did we used to do before we spent so much time on social media? I seem to recall something about reading, writing, exercising, playing, having face-to-face conversations... I jest, but only a little. Because social media is a text-heavy medium, it's easy to convince ourselves that we're doing a lot of reading, while forgetting to consider the quality of what we're consuming. We took care of that to some extent by unfollowing those who didn't add value, but the point here is to give your eyes a rest from screens and engage in tactile activities that will better our well-being in whatever way we crave most.
For instance, last week I heard about this new book, and because I know and respect DailyWorth and have been looking for something new to read, I quickly ordered a copy and have been devouring it since it arrived. It's going to put me through my paces when it comes to my money story and financial planning. Who doesn't need that? Bring it!
What areas of your life do you want to build up? In what ways will that require disentangling your time from your online habits? What can you do to take a step in that direction? Do one thing now.
If you're still spending more time than you'd like online, or these steps don't help you enjoy your social media tasks any more than you did before, it could be time to delegate some of that work. Seek out a freelance social media manager who can help you create content and handle the back end admin of your accounts. Not sure where to turn? I currently have availability to take on a few new projects.
LET'S DO THIS
Are you willing to give a more rational, in-control relationship with social media a try? My bet is, you'll feel more alert and show up more fully in the rest of your life. And you'll have a healthier, more peaceful relationship with your social accounts when you do log on.
This isn't about going cold turkey on valuable marketing channels (plus, think of all of those baby animal videos you'd miss!). It's about bringing balance and sanity to the ways in which you engage with them. It's about using them intentionally, with clarity and purpose. It's about shedding your tendencies to compare and self-criticise, which social media is so good at fostering in us. It's about remembering who's in the driver's seat, shifting out of autopilot, and steering ourselves towards our goals.
NOW TELL ME...
Have you found a key to maintaining a healthy relationship with your social media? Please share it in the comments below so everyone can benefit.
If you want to hear more about my own journey to maintain a healthy relationship with social media (while providing social media marketing services to my clients and growing my own business online), you're going to want to be on my email list. I get chatty and personal in my bi-weekly emails to my inside crew, and I have a sneaking suspicion you'll enjoy it.