Harsh way to start my latest article but there’s no dancing around this blood-pressure rising topic. According to an article published on INC, “studies show social media is ruining lives and careers.” Well that’s hard to believe when you’re a budding personal brand and influencer, right? I doubt that Rachel Hollis with 907k Instagram followers is complaining about her social media life when she recently sold out her 3,400 ticket event in 27 minutes FLAT. She also signed with famed talent agency CAA in November to further her reach by creating more opportunities in podcasting, television, touring, commercial endorsements, and much more.
And it’s not just our girl Rach. You have everyday people creating entire empires through their social media followings. Oh but wait… it’s not just people… Doug the Pug.
More Influence, More Opportunities.
But can you have more influence, be socially active on a daily basis, and not let it ruin your life?!
If I learned anything from a recent 10-day social media fast I completed, the answer is YES. Just like a pumpkin pie is best eaten by the slice and not the entire pan at a time, moderation is key in all things.
What I believe is the most dangerous thing about social media is how blissfully unaware you are of your addiction to it. If you don’t believe me, take a 10-day social fast and come talk to me after withdrawals.
Oh and trust me – I made the same excuses you’re making right now…
“Social media is my job.”
“This isn’t leisure, this is work.”
“I’m not addicted, it’s just for fun.”
“What else would I even be doing right now?”
“It’s how I stay connected with my family and friends.”
I kept a little journal during my fast so I could remember how I felt and why, so let me share my notes with you:
“This is hard!”
My alarm goes off, I grab my phone, look at my locked screen’s notifications, unlock the phone, and go to tap on my Instagram app but it’s not there. I had put it on my 3rd screen over the night before. My thumb instinctually went to where the app should have been but it wasn’t there. This happened literally all day. Like I couldn’t even control my fingers.
And then I started feeling anxious about all that I was missing inside the Instagram world. Had anyone messaged me? Liked my picture??? And what about the life that I couldn’t share anymore. Doesn’t everyone want to know that I had to wake up at 5:30 AM to catch my flight?? And if I can’t talk into my phone… I guess calling my husband will do 😉
I’m kind of teasing but really not at all. I ended up calling my husband instead of losing my time at the airport in social media like literally everyone around me was doing and we ended up having a really nice conversation. I felt connected to him. I mean it should go without saying, but keeping up with what people show you on their social media accounts can sometimes give you a false sense of closeness… you can definitely stay in touch with friends and family in a very general way, but nothing can replace having a real conversation with someone important in your life.
“Ok maybe I can do this”
Not too bad because it was the weekend and my little ones kept me distracted enough but still had this itchy anxiousness. FOMO (fear of missing out) is a very real thing. I know you know the feeling I’m talking about… when you’re in bed in your dark bedroom, constantly refreshing Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to stay in touch with everything you THINK you’re missing out on.
I won’t lie to you guys, staying away from that tantalizing third screen wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done. I had to consciously tell myself to put my phone on the nightstand, lay down, and relax. I mean, what was I really missing out on anyways? Maybe I didn’t get my daily dosage of dog pictures or meal updates, but I actually ended up getting some good sleep for once and was able to tackle my day with so much positivity and energy.
“Sorry conference organizer”
Back in the office now and concerns about how this fast would impact my business setting. I have speaking engagements this week. Organizers always want their speakers to engage and promote on individual social media accounts to create engagement with attendees and bring more attention to the conference. Can I really still do this while I’m fasting? Should I try and make my experiences a point that I touch on or would it just be unnecessary information?
“I can see the future!”
The dam has broken and not the dam I thought. It was a dam of held back creativity, ideas, inspiration, vision, strategy – you name it! I was like a mad woman. I have page after page of illustrations, ideas, agenda, frameworks, processes that has finally come into total focus of where LoSoMo (my 4.5-year-old branding and marketing agency) needs to go to help as many people as possible get their message out so they can be seen, understood, and ultimately hired! The perfect words in an elevator pitch of sorts just came:
Most brands struggle to have their marketing connect. We offer services that bridge the gap between their brand and their ideal customers so their businesses are seen, understood, and hired.
That’s what matters regardless if you are a company or a personal brand. The universal pain of marketing not working because of an underdeveloped brand message affects everyone – big or small. It’s not enough to do the services each month and put a check-mark next to them. It’s not enough to go “RA RA GOOOOO YOU” because that’s not backed by tangible action.
The magic is the bridge in between. It’s the right kind of bridge with the right type of marketing lanes that transport you to them and them to you. All of the white-noise we fill those lanes with every day keep us from being the creative, productive individuals we all are meant to be.
Here are all the things I accomplished in 10 days:
- A new brand manual
- New LoSoMo marketing bridge formula
- All new homepage design + copy
- New articles
- New operations plan
- 2019 MyModernBrand resolutions for our branding family
- And much more I can’t share yet ;)…
My fast technically ended 12/12/18 but I haven’t broken it yet. I will by the time you see this article but I’m almost sad about it. I’m sad to think the free highway of creativity will start to get filled again. So if I could leave you with my top 3 pieces of advice, it would be this:
- We need to set healthy boundaries – If social media really is a form of marketing for you as it is for most personal brands, then treat it as such. When I deploy an email, post a blog, announce a new virtual class… I’m not checking the stats every second. I usually check the next day or two. So why am I not doing the same when I post a new picture on social media?
- Make your phone work for you – Replace your social media apps with productivity apps (for example my Asana app, my Fitbit app ;), and my ToDoist app). Place your social media apps off your home screen. It doesn’t come to you with little notifications numbers, you go to it when you want to. Turn off the push notifications to all of your social media apps (this is actually the best thing you can do) and you’ll find yourself wondering what’s going on in there less and less. I actually haven’t turned a few of mine back on since I broke the fast and I find myself less stressed out on a daily basis. Knowing you have something waiting there for you creates an automatic response of some kind. If it’s between ignoring the notification or not knowing its there altogether, believe me, the latter is the easier choice.
- Set social media hours – Block off times so you don’t let it cloud your creativity. It’s kind of how my husband and I have times where no-work-talk allowed ;). Have a no-social-media-talk allowed times too. I know for a fact there are three different things you can think of that you’ve been putting off doing, so be productive! Maybe you haven’t finished updating your resume? Have you been “finishing” the book on your nightstand for a while now? Or maybe it’s something simple like reorganizing your home workspace… it doesn’t matter what you do, but spend your new free time doing SOMETHING!
Social media is only just a platform… it can be used for so many good things. I have made so many wonderful, close relationships from it – truly some of the best of friends. But I understand that adding more friends won’t take away the sting of growing far from others and losing relationships with the ones that matter.
The best thing about social media is… it’s always there. We truly don’t have to be checking up on our likes, our stats, or our notifications throughout the day because they’ll be there, those attractive little red numbers, waiting for you when you’re good and ready. If it really is a tool for your business… for you to be able to connect with your tribe, then treat it like one. Disconnect for a while and come back with a clear mind, and believe me, the difference is all too real.
Excited to share with you all that is to come in 2019. Time to make you the hero of your own story!
Happiest of Holidays to you my beloved branding family.