Social media is a phenomenal tool. It allows small business owners to share their mission with thousands of users. For the first time in history, small businesses can reach an almost limitless audience.
Yet with its limitless potential, social media carries an unparalleled risk for distraction and comparison.
Social media activates our brain’s reward center. The feeds can hook us into scrolling for hours for the next “hit.” It’s addictive in nature, and scientists are increasingly warning about the dangers of excessive use. One study from the University of Pennsylvania even found that limiting your time on social media apps decreases feelings of loneliness and depression.
But what should small business owners do when they manage social media themselves? Is it possible to balance your mental health and your business?
Yes, yes it is.
With over a decade of experience in managing social media, I’ve found a few foolproof strategies for protecting your mental health when you manage social media for your own business. With Mental Health Month in full swing, now is the time to take care of your business—and yourself.
Create a manageable, effective social media strategy.
One of the common causes of social media burnout is following an impractical strategy.
Often, small business owners think they need to be on all the platforms, posting all the time, and that’s just not true. You need to post consistently. But you don’t need to be on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter before you’re ready. If you’re trying to do too much, your mental health will suffer (and so will your engagement).
Develop a foolproof, achievable social media plan that’s good for your bottom line and your mental health.
Need some help? Consider joining my No BS Social Media Blueprint workshop. In one week, you’ll have a clear, actionable plan to reach your best audience without sacrificing your mental health.
Eliminate the newsfeed.
The newsfeed is the most addictive part of social media. Limit your interaction with it. Facebook Business Manager allows you to manage your presence without logging in through the news feed. A third-party scheduler can help you plan, post, and even engage without touching the apps. If you have to log onto Facebook directly, consider an app like Newsfeed Eradicator. They’ll replace your feed with a motivational quote, so you can use just the parts of the platforms you need.
Designate tech-free times.
Set boundaries around when you engage with your tech. Many successful business owners don’t check social media after 5 pm on Fridays, for example. Consider designating your morning hours as “no tech times.”
Be prepared to experience some anxiety and discomfort when you first disconnect. It’s common for us to feel anxious, bored, or even panicky when we’re forced to be away from our phones. If you can prepare for feelings of discomfort, you’ll be able to weather them. Don’t worry, they do pass.
Time-block your social media work.
Consider designating specific times for social media work. For example, commit to responding to all comments and DMs from 10:00 am until 11:00 am each day. During this block of time, stay focused on working through all engagement. When you’re done, commit to staying off the apps. Create a checklist of all the things you need to do and work your way through it to keep yourself focused.
Turn off social media notifications.
No business needs to be available 24/7. There’s a high cost to notifications: they interrupt otherwise precious moments. Playing with the kids, taking a walk, or eating dinner can all be shattered by a notification about a negative review or a stressed customer.
Do yourself a favor and shut off all notifications and update your notifications from the platforms so you’re not getting an email or buzz for every little thing that happens on your profile. Protect your downtime. Your mental health will thank you.
And consider taking digital detox time away from your social media altogether. It’s hard to do when you’re managing social media for your own business, but it can be done. A simple post on your profiles is a quick and easy way to let people know you won’t be responding until detox time is over…and they’ll probably applaud you for the move, too!
Use apps to help you focus.
Sure, apps are the source of our distraction. They might also be the cure.
Consider downloading Headspace or Balance to learn the basics of meditation. Moment will help you track your time off your phone. Forest is a fun way to encourage you not to pick up your smartphone. Extensions like Cold Turkey can block unwanted websites on your browser. One of my personal favourites is Focus @ Will (Aff) which will put specialized focus-encouraging music in your ears. It’s best used with these noise-cancelling headphones.
Cleanse your feed.
We don’t invite high-stress people into our homes, so why do we allow them into our feed? If an account’s content doesn’t spark joy, delete them.
If you’re struggling with content from a friend or family member on Facebook, consider unfollowing them. They won’t know you’re opting out of their posts. You can even snooze an account, so you’ll see fewer of their posts for a month.
Outsource Your Social Media
Still struggling with social media? Let someone else do it.
Outsourcing is the secret superpower of successful business owners. Consider hiring a virtual assistant (VA) to post your content. You might even task a VA with those distraction-ridden tasks, such as finding content ideas or developing lists of competitors’ accounts. If you need more help than simple scheduling of content, consider hiring a social media strategist to help you develop a plan and processes for making the work easier.
You don’t need to sacrifice your mental health to stay on social media. It is possible to grow your following and protect your mental health. These strategies are a few of my favorite ways to do both.
What are your favorite ways to protect your mental health when you manage social media for your own business? Let me know in the comments.