I’ve felt the effects of using social media for business for the past 8 years to share and promote my businesses deeply.
It’s no secret that over the last year social media and I have had a tumultuous relationship to say the least.
It’s been totally love hate at times and at other times it’s felt like a secret affair.
And for someone who used spend hours a day marketing on social media it still surprises me today how out of favour I feel about it at times.
Yet I’ve personally – emotionally and mentally felt as though it’s been so beneficial taking breaks from using it.
The truth of how that’s affected my taking breaks from using social media for business is varied too.
At times it’s had no effect at all, at other times it’s seen my profits nose dive but the worst part of it all was wondering and worrying about what could possibly happen and as we all know – worst case scenario often runs on loops, skipping and jumping through our minds regardless of what’s happening in reality.
One thing that hadn’t been obvious to me before now though is the seasonality of my feelings about using social media and by seasonality I don’t just mean the time of year – although that has some bearing – but also the time of the month.
Our energy does fluctuate at different times of the month (for men and women but lets face it ladies our hormonal cycles mean’s we’re facing something on a weekly basis whether it’s damn obvious or not) and so if we’re using social media for business it’s crucial to work with our natural energy cycles so protect our well-being.
It’s been at times incredibly complicated too – juggling a small human whilst attempting to figure out what to do in business in an ever changing landscape of marketing and social media whilst also dealing with a touch of burn out, imbalanced hormones and varying degrees of health because of all of that can take its toll.
One thing that’s really helped me is scheduling my work around my energy so I don’t resent being on social media, feel deeply affected by it or have to keep carrying so much pressure. And doing this is quite simple – just keep a diary of your cycle and how you feel and use social media at those times of the month, you’ll soon see a pattern in your sensitivities both physically and emotionally and your social media use so adjust accordingly.
So over the past year of taking breaks from using social media for business here’s what I’ve learnt
Social media algorythms change consistently
We all know this right? It’s no secret that there are consistent changes happening on all of the major platforms we use to share or promote yet we still get really upset when things do change even though we know the name of the game for the puppet masters is to make money and keeping us on our toes helps them do that.
Consistency on social media is no longer a must-do
For reals. I’m not saying that being consistent is completely unnecessary – because being online means creating connections, community and sharing life – and work – with the people you’re connected with and consistency builds relationships.
However – I’ve received more viewers on my Instagram stories when I DON’T post consistently. In fact I’ve regularly seen a 400% increase in viewers to my story when I don’t.
Posting on your feed vs posting on stories
Posting on your Instagram feed gets way less viewers, likers or attention unless you’re consistent.
I know – it’s a total contradiction to the way stories are working currently and the way I see it is that it’s because stories is meant for someone looking for something different than people who love the scroll.
The scroll is slower, it’s intentional, it’s more time consuming and so people are using the scroll more than stories for different purposes. It’s for relationships, connections and aesthetic inspiration.
Where as stories is a quick fix – it’s a blast of relatability and reality – it’s informal, sometimes more personal and a little chaotic.
The truth is we need both of those elements to connect with people on a deeper level so in this respect – although it may not feel it – the duality of Instagram works really well for business owners because it gives us the functionality to show people ‘behind the scene’s’ or our real lives and to showcase our creativity or talk about what is present or matters to us on the grid.
It’s best not to keep your eggs in one basket
I learnt this the hard way. For 7 whole years I did all of my marketing on social media for my businesses. Possibly part of the reason I now love being off of it so often!
The obvious go to’s for alternative marketing routes that are extremely effective are your mailing list, SEO and Pinterest.
All of which I love passionately because they’re schedulable, can be done in bulk and doing so doesn’t see you falling down a black hole for a long period of time.
It just makes falling down that Pinterest rabbit hole a choice instead helping us stay conscious of the way we’re spending our time.
It’s hard not to take social media marketing way too seriously
It’s true isn’t it?
We can pressure ourselves so much to keep up with other people, to be consistent daily, hourly, monthly with social media and when we bring our heads out of the water to breathe we can often forget how taking a full breath feels.
Ok that’s not the world’s clearest analogy BUT there is some truth in it.
Next time you use social media take note of your breathing – it’s more than likely shallow, fast and not benefitting your nervous system, supporting your emotional state or making you feel great.
And that’s the problem. Using social media too often can affect our mental, emotional and physical well-being (you can read more about that here).
So if you find yourself taking it too seriously, being absolutely to the rule religious about things and getting stressed over it – its time to change strategy because keeping up that energy, running on cortisol, is not consistent and it will lead to burn out.
Making social media work for me and my business
I’m going to put my truth out there – right now I am still not back in love with social media.
I barely use Facebook although I used to use it all the time for everything – but I do use Instagram.
I’ve used Instagram mostly for stories for the past year because it’s fast, I enjoy posting pictures in an informal way and I like the temporality of it because there’s a lot less pressure involved.
Noticing that was key to noticing that something bigger was at work for me here, that something else was lingering and holding me back from wanting to post regularly or use social media more.
If you can relate to that feeling here are some questions to ask yourself about it:
- What makes me feel pressured?
- What do I feel I have to do and why isn’t it in integrity for me – i.e why don’t I want to do it? (yes it doesn’t feel good is a more than adequate answer!)
- How can I use social media in a way that feels liberating, creative and inspiring again?
- What feels good to me about using social media?
From asking these simple questions we can reveal what’s underlying for us and for me the pressure was coming from not wanting to say the wrong thing – not seeming good enough and not being able to portray my message well enough.
An insecurity I’m sure you’ve experienced at times too.
So what to do about it?
Allow yourself to take a break
I know it’s infuriating people telling you that they took a social media break and that it was good – but that in itself tells us a ton about how you’re using social media for business use and personal use and how you feel about it.
If you feel like you can’t afford to take a break but don’t feel good using social media – it’s time to take a break.
If you feel like you don’t want to hear another person telling you how good it was taking a break from social media – it’s time to take a break.
If you feel like you’ll miss out on something if you take a break from social media – it’s time to take a break.
You get the gist.
Release the pressure
If you are feeling as though you can’t afford not to use social media so much perhaps it’s time to take a look at how else to market your business (see point above about eggs all being in one basket) that feels good to you.
And that’s the point.
We don’t want our businesses to feel like must do’s.
We want to enjoy them to get the most out of them, to attract people to our work and to create sales so we can live better lives.
That doesn’t come from the energy of reluctantly doing something we don’t really want to do. That’s both experience and physics speaking.
Set your intentions
Decide how you want to use the platform or platforms that appeal to you.
Ask why you like using them, what it is that keeps you feeling good or inspired whilst using them and make sure you are using them rather than letting them use you.
If you want to be on social media less then be intentional about setting up your mailing list, your Pinterest account, your SEO so that you don’t have to be worried or concerned if you miss a few days, a few posts and get more deeply involved in something that makes you feel great.
We’ve all done the still posting on our holidays, weekends, childrens birthdays and although we do want to share, lets be honest, it doesn’t feel amazing.
Newsflash though – it’s ok to post POST the event. It’s something I do often after a weekend and yes as I mentioned earlier, I’ve still seen a massive jump in story viewers each time I do it.
Set your clocks
Literally. Set yourself a timer – get into social media, post, story post, get out.
We all know social media can make us feel more pressured, decreasing our experience of joy, pulling us out of the present, taking us away from our real lives and placing us into a space of insecurity, worry, anxiety, self doubt.
Allow yourself to be the keeper of your time by setting short strict intervals for social media use.
Social media can also be inspiring and creative so – an obvious one – be sure your following people who help you feel that.
The most beneficial way I’ve found of reframing my relationship with social media, releasing pressure and creating space to help myself feel like enough, feel like sharing, feel good about being on social media more again has been through self connection.
It’s given me a way to know what it is that gives me my own personal creative voice or aesthetic, it’s shown me how to infuse that not only aesthetically but in my captions, my messages, my blog posts and other content.
It’s helped me feel more confident, grow my self esteem and connections with other people because I can see myself more clearly and have a channel to express myself through in a way that I know is unique to who I am.
If you’re interested in feeling the same you can grab my creative expression freebie right here that will give you an insight into effectively connecting with who you are and using your experience to inform your self expression helping you feel so much better about using social media for business and giving you a way to elevate your connections with others, your brand and business that will combat the side effects of being on social media.
I hope this has helped.