Whether we love it or hate it, we all use social media – whether for personal interest or as part of our personal brand.

As a founder of three major companies, I see social media as a way to share our own message with our audience, answer questions and provide education.

However, as I develop my own personal brand alongside our company accounts – and I specialise in helping entrepreneurs reclaiming their time in their marketing efforts – so I do realise social can feel overwhelming – a topic that, in light of Mental Health Awareness month, feels like needs to be addressed.

The negative effects of social media have been well documented, with even Facebook admitting that the platform may pose a risk to users’ emotional well-being.

A number of studies have found an association between social media use and depression, anxietysleep problemseating issues, and increased suicide risk, warn researchers from the University of Melbourne’s National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, in an article on The Conversation.

Is there any way we can take our power back?

While some of these studies have linked prolonged social media and mobile phone use with symptoms of depression, anxiety and low self-esteem (especially in a younger audience) others suggest it can also provide significant benefits.

At the end of the day, it’s essential to be honest with ourselves and ask WHY we are choosing to be on a social account.

What can we do to make our own experience on social media more enjoyable, positive and uplifting?

If you are a CEO, marketing manager or simply looking to grow a personal brand, here are my top four tips.

As much as we tell ourselves that the life we see through that little square on our phones is only what someone has chosen share and not the whole picture, sometimes it’s hard for us to fully understand that

Automating for less screen time

Whilst I do believe in the power of true social engagement that comes from a genuine and authentic space, I am also aware of how much time we spend crafting updates – and pouring anxious thoughts over the last time we shared something on Twitter, or whether we should post on Instagram at 9am or 7pm.

Most of my clients (and members of our community alike) find that scheduling content helps them reclaiming time off and spend more time engaging with people, rather than worrying about what to post.

There are many ways to automate your updates, but ultimately getting started by realising how to make social work for you starts with a great host of tools.

Find out how social media agencies run their accounts efficiently

Switch up your screens

Using social media on your desktop instead of the phone may decrease the amount of time you spend lost in social and give you some control over the way you engage with your audience.

Most of my clients simply switch from using iPhone apps to the native desktop versions of their favourite social accounts.

Booking in your social time means you can treat social media as a conscious task, and not subconsciously consuming everything that comes your way – awareness is the first step to reclaim power over your mental health.

Go on a detox

Some people go on a seven-day detox. Having a complete social media detox might not be the answer for you, it may just be one or two platforms that you choose to take a break from.

Maybe it’s just one platform that you find yourself addictively scrolling through.

Think about when you feel the most anxious or affected by social media, and if you can’t put your finger on when that is, perhaps then a complete social media blackout is the way to go. Whether you cut out one, or every social platform there is, it’s your own choice and there is no right or wrong answer.

Remember, the world won’t end if you take a break

Learn what happens when you delete social apps for seven days

Clean up your accounts

How can you clean up your accounts? It’s all in the followers, believe it or not. Just like Marie Kondo would say “does this spark joy?”

Truth is, sometimes following some people can truly affect our self-esteem and how we see ourselves. In cases like this, a good clean up is in order.

Set aside a good hour to go through your feed, and scout any post that triggers uncomfortable feelings for you.

Remember, if something does not longer serve you, just let it go.

Here are some of my favourite ways to take power back on social.

If you are looking to optimise the time on social media, whilst making sure it is not taking over your life, learn how to run your accounts like a social media agency.