Social Media has been getting more and more of a bad reputation lately, and rightly so… Surveys say we are addicted to our phones and that being on social media can negatively affect our wellbeing and mental health. Social media platforms, particularly Facebook Inc. are finally coming under scrutiny for the part they play in this and they are now in response to the data, starting to take ‘some’ responsibility, by releasing new tools to monitor our time online.
In my work as a social media consultant and coach I work with a lot of people who come to me feeling anxious, overwhelmed and burnt out by social media. They feel that they have to be on it for their business and their careers but they don’t want to be online 24/7.
I believe and know that social media and our digitally connected communities can have a beneficial impact on our lives and businesses when we create a better and more conscious relationship with it.
I show people how to work with the more positive aspects of social media such as connecting to their community and help them avoid what I call in my book the ‘social media vortex of doom.’ I share lots of examples of how social media has connected me (and others) to the right people at the right time, through creating a space for grace and authenticity in our social media content, digital conversations and activity.
I talk about Grace because this word for me is important, as it means coming at things from a place of love… And I use a strategy of Love for all my social media. When we are in state of Grace and Love we don’t compare, we trust in what we have to share and who we have to share it with. It is simple, it is kind and it is where things can happen more easily.
When we find that state of grace; things do tend to slot into place.
When you think of Grace and Social Media you would probably be fooled into thinking that the two don’t marry. Because our human-ness, means we can caught up in what I call our ‘Social Media Ego’, which is where we move away from that space of Grace, the place where our ‘Social Media Soul’ resides.
It doesn’t take much to slip into our social media ego! Our ego wants all the likes, the follows, the clicks and the comments…. Our ego looks at what everyone else is up to and experiences FOMO on a daily basis. Our social media ego also tends to get caught up in thinking that we have to be on social media in a certain way to be successful. Often it is a bit shouty, a bit showy offy and a bit salesy.
Social media can be a very noisy and busy place with people trying to get their opinion across or trying to sell you something and this has a certain energetic signature which we are reacting to every time we pick up our phones and scrolling those timelines.
So I am on a mission to flip this script. I recently saw a piece in a newspaper recently poking fun at how we post on social media - asking the question; if we interacted with others in the same way offline as some of us do online, what would happen? We do have a tendency to push, to broadcast… To show off… Which is not graceful. And we are ALL guilty of this, me included. Ask yourself if it is something that attracts you to people, to their work or their businesses?
I often ask myself this question before I post something;
‘Am I sharing this to impress or impact?’
When we are online, we are often being triggered by the shadow aspects of our human nature, where we compare ourselves to others and their highlight reels and marketing sequences. This can have a tendency for us to then engage from a place of ego to ego and make us feel bad, and we get sucked into that social media vortex of doom…
We get very wound up by social media; whether it's how much there is to do or how much we think there is to do. There are so many platforms, so many content types, so many ways to be, and there's so many people showing up in all these different ways – that’s often where the overwhelm and anxiety comes from.
So, how do we be in joy? How do we make social media simple? How do we create a state of Grace on social media?
What is the simplest and most joyful thing for me to create (writing, video, audio etc.) that can help me share what it is that I have to share?
Where is the easiest place/ platform for me to do/ share that?
The idea is you move away from the vastness of what you can do online to feel this simple shift, a shift which will create some room for you to grow from…
Second; Remember that everyone is on their own journey so what's happening for another person online (and offline) isn't relevant to what's happening for you. (And may not even be true!) When we start comparing ourselves to what everyone else is doing that is where we get into trouble, remind yourself that they are on a completely different life path to you.
Third; Start with only creating the right kind of content that you enjoy creating. And posting it on one platform. the one that you hang out on the most. This will help you to feel safe to share the things that you want to share. Trust that ease and grace.
Fourth; Know that it doesn't matter if you've got 10,000 likes or 100 or 10 because you never know who you are informing or inspiring with each and every post. What you create and share could have shifted their day, or given them an idea or something to think about. It could be that they are going to mention this to a friend who then has an opportunity for you.
A good example of this is my podcast where I get on average around 100 listens per episode, now my ego could (and tries not to) be dented by this, as I am a social media person, and there is a perception that maybe I should have more listeners… However a few months ago it turned out that one of those listeners happened to be the editor of a magazine I pitched an article idea to, who then offered me a double page spread as she knew me and my work through my podcast. You never know who is watching, reading or listening.
We attach so much to how many likes and how many followers people have got and what that means… When it doesn't necessarily mean anything. A lot of people buy likes and follows through ads and click farms or gain popularity paying influencers.
It isn't the be all and end all of it and that is not the right social media journey for everyone. Not everyone is meant to be an award winning author or a person with 10,000 people listening to a podcast. That really isn't meant for everybody, but actually maybe having a small creative, engaged outlet that connects to 30, 40, 50, 100 people is it really a successful way for you to use social media to support what it is that you have to do in the world.
We've been sold this idea of what success looks like on social media and so we're striving for a thing that isn't necessarily the right thing for us.
Fifth, stay away from the band wagon and avoid the buzzwords! I remember when Instagram Stories first came out, I felt under pressure to be on it because it's new, everyone was doing it and I’m a social media person. Yet at the time I had a real resistance and so I had to really sit with my resistance and decide not to it until I was ready to, and not because I think I ‘should’ be doing it. Now I love it.
When clients come to me for help - I always ask them what feels really good for them to do?
Then we break things down into creating something that can be shared, even if its just one thing a week, or a fortnight - trusting that that’s enough to speak to the people that you want to speak to and to create the right kind of audience for their work.
Bottom line, if you're not feeling that joy and that love for what you're doing, if you're doing it from that place of push or must do that, take a step back, ask what would it feel like to be in a state of Grace around it and then find that flow. Find that joy. Find that love for it.
Because people aren't going to enjoy what you are sharing, if you aren’t enjoying sharing it.
When you are sharing from a place of grace and truth, it connects with people in a different way. So ask yourself these questions the next time you are creating content or choosing to share something on social media….
· How am I feeling about social media in this moment?
· Am in my social media soul or my social media ego?
· Am I trying to impress or am I trying to impact?
· Am I posting this from/in a place of grace and love or anxiety and fear?
Once you start to bring this conscious awareness to the process, to your social media strategy, you will start to see gentle shifts in your relationship to the content your create, the posts you share, to your connected community and more importantly your overall well being online.