I had no idea when a friend of mine gifted me a two-day ticket to her online retreat in March that it would change the course of my business. You see, I’ve worked in marketing for several years. I know the ins and outs of social media like the back of my hand. I told myself for years that I had to be signed in to all the social media accounts all the time because I had to keep track of everything that was going on for my clients and their social media accounts. It became what so much of my life was about. So how do these two things relate?
I Needed A Break
The two-day retreat took place on a Thursday and Friday. The focus was on owning our strengths and doing business a different way – a more feminine way that eschews deadlines and the eternal hustle of the 9-5 mentality that, for some reason, has become even more demanding over the past year. We explored things like Human Design, talked about our cycles of energy and how they relate to our menstrual cycles and the moon’s cycles. We talked about embracing creativity and taking naps.
For someone who owns her own business and has worked in and out of Corporate America for a couple of decades, it was a lot to process. I knew I needed a break of some sort to figure some things out for myself.
I decided that I would not log onto social media starting that Friday evening until Monday morning in a spur-of-the-moment decision that changed everything! It seemed like the break I needed – to move away from the endless stimulation of it all.
Wow, was that hard! I didn’t realize how much time I was wasting, mindlessly scrolling through my Instagram feed, pulling up my Facebook app, or getting lost in a sea of Tweets that I really didn’t have an emotional attachment to. But I still craved information.
Honestly, I had no clue how addictive social media and our phones really can be. I mean, I’d read studies, but I never understood it from a personal perspective until now. I can’t tell you how many times I absentmindedly tapped on that cute little pink and orange square camera icon before I realized what I was doing. With a ton of compassion for myself – and because quitting cold turkey is hard no matter what – anytime I felt the urge to check on something, I pulled up one of my news apps and read a story. It might be a human-interest story in the Times or an update on President Biden’s work in the Post. I was still getting the info I craved, but it was more enriching. It felt like a more productive use of my time.
Logging Back On
By the time Monday rolled around, I was eager to log back into everything. But what I found was not what I expected. I no longer felt the need to scroll endlessly. Things had gone on as usual without my presence. I hadn’t announced my absence, so there was no “I’m back!” post to make. It was all…lackluster.
Once an avid Instagram Story poster, I did the unthinkable and allowed my Stories to go empty for a few days after that little break. I didn’t post on my personal Facebook account for a week. I almost completely forgot about Twitter.
Now, don’t get me wrong, my team and I absolutely made sure that my clients’ social media accounts and marketing plans were attended to, and no one felt the disruption that I experienced. In fact, I haven’t really told anyone how much I dislike social media now. Sure, I still post, but I’m less concerned with the number of posts or the number of followers I have on this or that platform. I’m posting what feels right for my business and feels good for me personally. And would you believe it if I told you my followers and engagement have gone up? Amazing!
A Shift In Perspective
For years, I’ve taught my clients that social media is just one part of their marketing strategy. Other forms I advocate for are podcasts – either your own or as a guest on other people’s – blogging, email newsletters, and a great SEO researched website. Networking with other people in and out of your line of work is an invaluable resource for my clients as well. It’s just that none of these seem as satisfying as the good ol’ Instagram scroll.
I admit that I didn’t really get that until this break. And now, less than a month later, I’m shifting everything in my business. Because I fell out of love with social media. It never loved me back. So it’s time to move on and do more of what I love: connecting with others, building great business relationships, and having amazing conversations that only two people will see because it’s not publicized.
That’s a big change, and I’m excited to see where it leads.