The battle rages on. The powerful, curated, beautiful Instagram vs. the raw, sensitive me.
No matter how many years of entrepreneurship I have under my belt, no matter how many clients I coach through these tricky waters, I still need to take a step back every so often and refine my ideas about and intentions for social media. I still need to let myself be raw and sensitive, as neither of those traits are negative, if I use them for good.
It’s inevitable. I’m going to scroll past things on social media that have the potential to make me feel less than or not good enough.
Someone else is pregnant (and I still don’t have my baby). Someone else went to Cinque Terre (and I haven’t left the country in years). Someone else is a best seller (and I just finished my book proposal). Someone else bought a new house (and I’m 35! I should be buying a new house).
And so, in those potentially crushing moments, I avoid social media altogether. I boycott. I march through hours and days, feeling strong, like I conquered my nemesis.
Then a few days go by and I think to myself, “Hmm. But, Instagram helps us reach and encourage people. Hmm. Instagram helps us connect with potential coaching clients who are looking for what we offer.”
I’ve learned that if I’m hiding under a rock, protecting myself from potentially crushing realities of other people’s lives, I’m going to miss out.
There is a better way to use social media as a tool to share your message, build legitimate, genuine relationships, and grow your business without falling into comparison. Did you hear me? There is a way!
Over the years, especially as we’ve dealt with infertility and our long adoption journey, and as I’ve worked through things like perfectionism, jealousy, and being an overachiever (you know, lighthearted issues like that!), I’ve had to create some rules for myself for social media.
Have realistic expectations.
What you see isn’t always what you get. I now open Instagram expecting to see grand and beautiful things, knowing most people are posting about their life highlights. Guess what?! That’s okay! Instagram is mostly curated and beautiful. Expect it.
Use social media to further relationships, not to measure your worth.
I now think about why I’m using specific platforms in the first place. Is it to stay in the loop with my friends? Sweet! Then, I go to my friends’ accounts and send them some love and encouragement. Is it to make new friends and build new relationships? Awesome, then I need to get in there and say, “Hey, So-And-So! Been loving what you’re up to. Keep up the incredible work and keep on rockin’ that lipstick! #rockstarstatus” Do not… I repeat, do not go on social media to solidify your suspicions that everyone else is happier, more successful and gets to have way more fun in life than you. Skip it. Call your girlfriend instead.
Create rules that work for you and stick to them.
For me, this means I know what my purpose is before I open up Facebook. Am I going to encourage clients today? Great! Get in, go to their pages, show them some love, quickly check notifications and get out! Another thing that works well for me is taking photos on the fly, but posting later in the day when I have some time.
This helps me stay present in the day-to-day, but not to the point that our business presence suffers.
Take short social media fasts.
Instead of nearing the brink of exhaustion and breakdowns, try not logging into Facebook, Instagram, or whatever your nemesis is just one day a week. Sunday is a “no social media day” for me. Or, try not logging in until after noon every day. Planning these mini fasts gives me freedom to do life without thinking about how it applies to our business or social media around the clock.
Give yourself some grace.
There are going to be days when you fall into the trap of scrolling and comparing, no matter how purposeful your intentions or strategic your rules. There are going to be weeks when you really do need to take a more serious break from social media to tend to your life and/or protect your heart. No, permanently living under a rock won’t do you much good, but you know your needs best. Don’t beat yourself up for doing what you need to, when you need to.
What have you found that works best for you? How do you set yourself up for success on social media? I would love to hear your creative tips and tricks for keeping social media in its place and comparison far from your mind and heart.
Photos by: Marlena Pearl Photography