A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I had decided to take an entire MONTH off from social media. As a new-ish blogger working to build an audience and a brand, this might have seemed kinda crazy. Actually, you probably thought I had lost my mind!
And maybe it was a little nuts. As a matter of fact, most if not all of my traffic was coming from social media. That's the main way people have found my blog since the beginning. But to do that, I was spending an inordinate amount of time posting, sharing, and scrolling on social media. I felt like I had to constantly be promoting my blog on social media in order to drive even nominal traffic to my site.
What happened a month ago was an exchange with God that led me to realize I needed a break. A break from social media that would allow me to reconnect and refocus on His plans for me. So if you're wondering how it went, today I'm sharing what I gained from a 30-day social media break (and what I lost, too).
I gained clarity + confidence.
Spending time focusing on my own business rather than the progress of others on social media helped me to see more clearly the direction God was leading me. And it wasn't the way I thought! In fact, this month has given me a whole new perspective and purpose for Cultivate Grace that I can't wait to share with you!
I gained more time with God.
This was my favorite part. I used to spend my morning quiet time anxious to hop on social media to check my likes, comments, follows, or messages. So obviously, my heart wasn't 100% focused on God. And trust me, it's really hard to admit that! But I honestly didn't even realize it until I logged out of my social media accounts. It was really incredible how God began using those morning moments to encourage my heart.
I lost the comparison game.
You guys. The comparison game is a REAL THING. The feeling that I needed to keep up consumed me at times. But not in the most obvious ways. Mostly, it was simply scrolling through social media feeds & profile. Sometimes hours and hours would pass, and by the time I put my phone down, it was with a sigh of sadness and anxiety that I would never be good enough.
Something changed over the past month. I've learned that the way to stay positive and confident in God's calling for me is to keep my eyes on my own paper, so to speak. And when I do check in with the incredible community of women online, I can celebrate their successes instead of worrying that I'm getting behind. I've lost the comparison game, and wow, is that a freeing feeling!
I lost an addiction.
Social media used to give me so much anxiety. I always felt like I needed to post just the right thing, at just the right time, and connect with the right people, in just the right places. There's so much pressure! It caused me to check my phone constantly. I had just about every app possible, with all the little red number notifications turned on.
During my social media retreat, I lost the ability to check my notifications constantly. And in turn, I lost an addiction too. And yet again, it was something I didn't realize affected me until I let it go. Now, I start my days with God instead of my phone.
Setting an intentional strategy
Coming back from time off social media, I knew I wanted to do things differently. I HAD TO. The past month completely changed the direction of my blog & turned it into a potential business! God is working in this with me! So I wanted to be faithful to Him by being more intentional with my social media strategy.
Choose just one or two platforms. In order to be more fully present in your social media, pick your favorite platforms. Is there a social media style you dislike? Ditch it! For me, that was Twitter. While it may be a great way to drive traffic to my site, I don't enjoy it, so it really won't serve me well at this point in my business. So I've chosen Facebook and Instagram for the time being.
Pinterest is a search engine, not social media! Think about it. What do you use Pinterest for? Generally, you're looking for ideas on a specific topic. So you type it in the search box! There are many great resources on using Pinterest for blogging and business, because it truly is an excellent source of organic traffic.
Participate in just 2-3 Facebook groups. Once you start joining groups and realizing the value in them, it's so tempting to join ALL of them! But try to restrain yourself. Spend about 30 days like I did observing and getting to know the group's atmosphere. This part is vital, because it will help you decide where to promote your own stuff. I recommend choosing 2-3 at the most!
Have a plan! Being intentional with social media means utilizing a strategy. Where will you be present? What time of day will you check social media? How long will you spend posting, commenting, and reading other posts? What will your posts be about? Spend some time thoughtfully answering each of these questions.
Every week, I like to share a quick action step that is designed to help you simplify various aspects of your life or business. Today's action step really is simple: choose one tip above and implement it! What will have the greatest impact in simplifying your social media strategy? How can you use one of these ideas to lighten your load? The idea here is to create a social media strategy that makes the most of your time, so you can focus more on what matters most beyond social media!
I can't wait to hear what steps you're taking to simplify social media this week. I hope my time away from social media will help you in your own journey. Praying for you, sisters! Share your action step with us below!