As of this writing, I am in day three of an extended social media break. Why? I simply couldn’t breathe. I was losing it, and losing perspective, something I value and require as a creative small biz coach and empowerer.
As a leader, perspective is so incredibly important for you to have. It’s defined as “the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance”. And OMG how easy it is to lose in the era of social media.
“In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.” Bertrand Russell
Let’s begin at the beginning. If you know me, you know I LOVE social media for it’s ability to empower creative humans; to build relationships, deepen understanding, create connections, and grow businesses. But, and this is a big BUT, it can also be exhausting, anxiety producing and one of the best ways to lose perspective if you are too deeply engaged.
The last few months have been heavy, with what seems to be gut wrenching suffering, pain and bad news. For some of you, like me, it’s become too much to process. There plenty of proof on the internet today that show the effects of social media on mental health. Check out this article.
Self awareness is key here. If you feel yourself getting more anxious than normal, angry, resentful or out of fucking control, it may be a sign that it’s time to take a break.
So what do we do? If you have an online business like me, how in the world do you disconnect? If you rely on social to build and grow your business, like most of you do, how can you take a break? Here’s how.
1. Decide on how long your break will be and what it looks like
This past week, I chose to take an extended break (at least 5 days), and with that, came the question… how will I care for my clients and be offline? Well, it’s been quite simple.
With two Facebook groups and hundreds of clients on Instagram, logging in does not mean I have to dwell in the news feeds, if fact, I have not even looked at them. Instead, I just log on and go straight to my A School and Social Beauty Intelligence Facebook groups, and it’s business as usual.
For Instagram, I simply log in and search my hashtag and then am able to engage with those who are choosing to use it, a good reminder of why a branded hashtag matters #passionsquared It’s a listening tool. And on my break I am able to still “listen” a bit and engage with my clients.
So this social media break was not 100% off the internet, this break was about removing myself from public dialogue, news feeds and content creation. Lastly, be sure you post that you are taking a break and how to get in touch during your break. No drama needed, just simple and direct. Here is an example of my post on Instagram, made with the GIFx app. Here is the Facebook post.
2. Create a system for unplugging, unfollowing, unsubscribing
This is what I see as maintenance mode. If we maintain a plan to unplug, we are less likely to be at a breaking point and need an extended break. The last year I have done a weekly “24 hours” off the social media. This is a full 24, sometimes 48 hours, in a row. This has helped immensely with perspective and has allowed me to simply take a rest. Try it. Start with 24, then see how you feel. Next thing to do is remember you have a choice on what and who you listen to and follow. Schedule time to unsubscribe from emails you no longer want, from people who are toxic, or simply from noise that doesn’t serve you.
3. Listen to your body and mind
This is the key and sometimes you are moving so fast, you do not even realize what is causing your agitation. In order to listen to your body and mind, you gotta slow down. And you have to take your power back. Drop the phone and pick up a book, have lunch with a friend, go on a Netflix binge, take a long walk, whatever.
4. Remember why you are on social platforms to begin with
Now this may be one of the most important aspects of maintaining perspective. If you have tapped into the power of social media for business, then your primary purpose for being on any given platform is to build relationships and solve problems with and for your target audience, your “people”. And I know how much time you spend watching and listening to people that are not your audience. This is a big problem as your energy becomes focused on what others are doing, then the comparison game begins, and we know where that leads. Most importantly, it is distracting you from your current and future clients. So STOP it. Just stop. You will find so much more joy and value when you refocus your energy where it belongs, on your tribe.
When you put these four steps into practice, there is no doubt you will be able to keep a better perspective on your biz and more importantly, on your life. You will be able to be more present for your clients, team, family and community. You will be able to breathe again.
Before we go, I wanted to share a few others insights from this break;
I miss my community.
Going back to the beginning of this blog, I LOVE social for all the good it brings, and a big part of that is community. And I love mine. And I miss you.
I miss listening.
Social listening is one of the most awesome benefits for an owner and leader. Why? When we listen, really listen, we learn. How do you know how to solve problems if you don’t even know what the problems are? How do you celebrate your clients in between visits when you have no clue what they are up to? This is one of my favorite things about social, listening.
Instagram engagement is WAY down
Over 80% drop in engagement in fact, and that’s the risk we take. But I also know that it will not take long to build it back up when I return. And since social is not my ONLY way of engaging clients (email marketing still matters!) this break has given me some time to be more thoughtful about my overall content strategy and how I engage with current and future clients. During this break I am also running a Facebook ad for a NEW class, and thus, Facebook engagement is actually up as is traffic to my website from Facebook.
As a leader, I have a responsibility, as do you, to maintain perspective, stay present and be the best I can be in order to serve you. And if that means a little social media break, so be it.
Thank you for all your love and support of this break, I see you, I hear you, I feel you and I love you. Now go schedule yours.
Love + Gratitude-
PS: As of this blog, I will be sharing some BTS info into how this blog was created. I hope you find value in this as you continue to work on content creation.
BTS for this blog post
Total Time: 3 hours
Writing, Editing, Proofing
The idea came to me a few days ago. From idea, I created a simple outline, about 30 min. From that, I began writing which took about an hour. Editing about 30 min. Graphics about 15 min. Final touches (re-reading, previewing, testing, tags, SEO stuff), about 15 min.
All made with Canva.com (my go to for all blog graphics)
Embedded Facebook post in blog (for WordPress)
Click on the (…) bar at the top right of your Facebook post and select the Embed option, then paste the embed code into your post in the “text” option of your blog post.