Social Media Boundaries
I regularly teach on the topic of creating and consistently sharing content on social media in order to grow an audience, earn market share, generate more qualified leads, and draw in great partnership opportunities. Today, we're talking about consumption and setting clear, well-established boundaries about what you let "feed" that perfect brain of yours.
First let me say this: Social media has no power in your life. Nada. It hasn't wronged you in anyway, done anything to you, nor does have any control in your life. Social media doesn't have the power to make you feel good or bad. Only you have the power to do that.
Social media are apps used to share experiences, perspectives, opinions, points of view, recipes, and so much more. That's all. It's a tool. It's easier, cheaper, and more effective than taking out a (nearly obsolete) newspaper ad but essentially, they're the same thing.
When we start to feel FOMO, resentment, anxiety, shame, depression, or other negative feelings after scrolling through our feeds, it's a signal that it's time to ruthlessly edit what you're consuming.
What you see on social media is completely up to you and it can absolutely influence your mental state.
The good news is that you have the power to decide what you allow and don't allow.
"But what about the algorithm?" The algorithm is the system that shows you accounts and posts that you may like based on what you're currently consuming. Consume "junk food for the soul," it will offer you more. Consume posts of nature photos, it will offer you more. Consume political arguments and discord, it will show you more.
Take ownership of what you let your mind become aware of and give energy to. Let me teach you how to intentionally "enjoy the scroll" while using it effectively & efficiently to grow your business and keep your peace of mind.
I teach my clients and audience that social media is a very effective tool for business owners to use to spread awareness of their message, products, and mission to people who need & want to consume that kind of information (for free). I'll go so far as to say that in this digital age, if growth is one of your business goals, social media is necessary. If your goal is any of these listed below, an active & consistent social media presence is necessary:
more opportunities to collaborate with like-minded brands,
elevate the perception of your brand,
more market share,
partnerships with other businesses that align with your mission & values,
establish your credibility & authority on a subject matter
Think about it: If we're deciding whether or not to move forward working with a company, what jeans to buy, or what type of plant to put in the garden, we want as much helpful, accurate information as possible. We don't want to pay for that education. This is the place where social media shines. We want to know that that brand, company, person, place, or thing isn't going to take our money then disappear. We want to read testimonials from people who've had good (or bad) experiences. We want to see how the work is completed. We want confidence that we're making the right (and best) purchasing decision.
Social media is a wonderful tool to do this. Before social media we relied on newspapers, tv ads, magazine articles & reviews, word of mouth, and physically going to the place to check it out, among other things. Now we can take a look at the Instagram account, the Facebook page, the LinkedIn articles and get a sense of whether or not this "insert-noun-here" is for us or not.
I'm well aware of the negative feelings that social media can bring up. I've coached clients (and myself) on how use social media effectively while keeping peace of mind. Priya Parker writes that "purpose informs everything else," and when we have a clear sense of purpose in using social media we can establish and keep boundaries in place.
Here are a few ways to set boundaries around your social media consumption and output so that you'll enjoy the benefits without the negative repercussions associated with social media:
Separate your personal account from your business account: Twitter and Instagram make this very easy. Facebook, not so much, but you can have a business Facebook page but it's likely still tied to your personal profile. Still, you are a grown up and you can be disciplined enough to use Facebook for business purposes only. Now, there is loads of evidence that professional social media accounts that show people's personal lives garner more engagement than those that don't. This is for the same reason why people gobble up gossip, paparazzi's photos, and tell-alls. People crave reality. But if you feel uncomfortable putting your personal life on the internet, don't. Your business will still grow. Your audience will still appreciate your content. You will still have more opportunities presented to you than if you didn't take the time to share your business related content. You have permission to keep your personal life private, however I'd encourage you to share your professional expertise often and generously.
My recommendation: Do You: share what you're comfortable with. Share strictly business related content, or throw in a couple personal posts. You're in control. There's no right or wrong way. Personally, I have an IG business account which is open to the public @willowandoaksolutions and a personal (private) account, which is basically a shrine to my family where I share about our lives every now and then.
Share your professional expertise often and generously, and decide if sharing pieces of your personal life feel right for you. There's no right or wrong way.
Define what you don't enjoy about social media: Stop scrolling for a second and really be honest with yourself. For those of you who just "hate social media," I'd ask you to be more specific. Actually define what is is that you don't like, and when you do you can mitigate that issue. Does social media bring up a comparison trap for you? Does FOMO creep in? Do you scroll mindlessly looking at content that doesn't serve you? Does it feel like a waste of time? Does it feel fake? Define what feelings come up for you.
My recommendation: Unfollow, Unfriend, or Mute. You are in charge of what you see on social media and if something doesn't serve you or the person you're trying to grow in to, get rid of it. When you open up social media, you have total control over the content that you consume. Maybe you feel obligated to follow certain people on social media but their content stirs something negative for you, or their values don't align with yours: unfollow, unfriend, or mute so that you don't see their posts.
Your peace of mind is more important than disappointing other people.
Use it social media for educational purposes only: We can also use social media to educate on specific topics of interest, topics of interest to our clients, things that make us happy and inspire, and self development accounts that broaden our perspective. I love the accessibility of this education by people who generously pour their heart and soul into teaching people like me who literally want to "learn more." For me, the scrolling experience is a positive one that usually teaches me something each time I do it which is due to being very intentional with what I'll allow to show up in my feed.
My recommendation: Mindlessly scrolling without intention or purpose is the equivalent to watching Desperate Housewives. It's "junk food for the soul" as Julia Cameron would say. Sure, we all need to zone out sometimes and social media can be just the ticket. But just like consuming junk food on a regular basis will make you feel like shit, so will mindlessly scrolling social media after time.
Ruthlessly edit & curate the content you consume so that it supports you where you're at in your life right now and helps you in the best of ways.
Be intentional & specific about the amount of time you spend consuming: Just like I teach people how to block out time to create and share content efficiently and effectively, I teach people how to be intentional when consuming content also. If you have to set a timer, do it. If you have to time-block your social media consumption on your calendar, do it. Just like you wouldn't pop in to to watch a TV show every free moment of your day, don't jump into social media when there is a precious moment of downtime.
My recommendation: When we know that we have certain times blocked out throughout the day to scroll, it makes it much less tempting to grab the phone when it "isn't time."
Intentionally decide how much time you want to spend scrolling social media and engaging with other people's content.
Use social media to grow and level up your business. Use it to learn new things and to become inspired. Remove the noise and that which makes you feel like crap. The people who need you will find you and and the content you consume can improve your life if you want it to.
I hope this is helpful to you. If you'd like to go further on this topic, reach out to me for a free consultation here, or sign up for my newsletter here. I'd be honored to be one of the social media who adds value to your life. You can find me on Instagram here: @willowandoaksolutions
Thanks for being here,
*"Junk food for the soul" is a great quote that I read in The Artists Way. (Highly recommend!)