There’s enough evidence to prove that social media can be damaging to your mental health. But as a small business owner, social media is an essential part of your marketing strategy. So how do you take care of your mental health while marketing yourself on social media?
I’ve seen social media shift from being an online space to keep in touch with friends and family, to a marketing behemoth. It’s now a space where manipulation of minds is encouraged and where many people fall victim to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
Over the years, I’ve developed a strategy that allows me to take care of my mental health while making the most of social media. By following these 5 ‘rules of engagement’ I’ve managed to avoid the social media mental health pitfalls. I hope they help you too.
How to take care of your mental health on social media
Be selective and intentional
Every successful social media marketing strategy begins with market research. To be effective, you need to know where your target market hangs out online. Most people have a platform they love. Your job is to find which platform your people love and focus your marketing there.
Being selective helps to take care of your mental health by limiting your exposure and allowing you to be focussed. Each social media platform has its own set of rules and algorithm. A sure-fire way to become overwhelmed and anxious on social media is to try and keep up with every platform do’s and don’ts.
If you feel tempted to spread your social media marketing across as many platforms as possible, ask yourself this: How many social media platforms are you on regularly? Chances are it’s only 1 or 2 at the most.
Keep the chaos organised
I’m an introvert, so I understand the importance of taking care of my energy. One way that I do this is to make full use of schedulers. Schedulers help me to take care of my mental health and my energy by keeping everything on brand, on message and organised.
Planning ahead allows you to minimise your exposure to the social media feed that is designed to draw you in and keep you scrolling for as long as possible. Remember, social media apps are designed like slot machines; everything is working to keep your attention on your screen. As a small business owner, you don’t have time to be locked in the endless scroll of your Facebook or Instagram feed.
Use social media schedulers
Schedulers allow you to take time to craft your message. You can be clear about what you want to say to your people. You can choose your visuals, write your captions, and schedule your posts without ever opening a social media app.
Many schedulers even have detailed analytics so you can keep up to date with what is working and what needs tweaking. I use Later, which has the functionality to allow me to respond to my followers’ questions and comments directly from Later, thereby limiting my exposure further.
Set personal ‘social time’ limits
And while we’re talking about scheduling, set limits on how long you’re on social media. Unfortunately, many platforms reward you for being online, scrolling and leaving comments on other people’s posts. They like to call it ‘being part of the community’. The truth is, if you want interaction on your account, then it makes sense to show other people love too. But to take care of your mental health, you need to limit the amount of time you spend exposed to your feed.
The best way to do this is to schedule a regular time every day to look through your feed and leave intentional, useful comments on other people’s quality content. If possible, do this at your desktop rather than your mobile device. Your mobile device social media app is like a slot machine, with all the bells and whistles designed to keep you scrolling. Using your desktop is not nearly as addictive and therefore makes it easier to stick to your self-imposed time limits.
Allow yourself to be seen in a way that’s comfortable to you
Don’t listen to the gurus who tell you ‘to be successful at marketing yourself on social media, you need to be live on Instagram every day’. Stick to what feels comfortable for you.
While it’s true that you need to show your face regularly, so people know who they’re buying from, you can do it in a way that makes you feel good. You don’t need to pour your heart and soul out on your Instagram stories if that feels intrusive and inauthentic. And you don’t need to share selfies all the time either.
Show yourself doing your work, going through your process, participating in your passion. If you feel uncomfortable in the limelight, then let your work be the main focus while you appear alongside it.
And if things begin to feel overwhelming, schedule your posts and then take care of your mental health by stepping away for a while.
Detachment is a yoga principle that works beautifully when you are trying to take care of your mental health while marketing yourself on social media. It means to let go of the outcome and to understand that you are not your last post.
I like to look at my social media marketing like this:
I produce excellent content that will hopefully help someone. Then I post it, and then I let it go. If people can use it to make their lives better than I have succeeded. If I get five likes and one comment after posting it, then that is wonderful but not the reason why I post on social media. I post on social media to let my target market know that I can help them fix their problem.
If your latest post is wildly popular and people leave emojis and comments all over the place, then you communicated well to your target market. If your last post didn’t get much interaction, then you didn’t get the message right. It is not a reflection of you. People don’t like you more because you posted a great meme. You are still you.
Detach yourself from the outcome and focus instead on creating content that speaks to and helps your target market. A like is just a like and not crucial to your business’s success.
Find your block and delete button
Do not engage with trolls. Block and delete.
The sad truth is, people are online, finding sport in being nasty and trying to bring others down. That speaks of what’s in their heart and has absolutely nothing to do with you. I have had people leave nasty reviews on a gratitude meditation that I posted to a free meditation app. Who can listen to a gratitude meditation and then leave an offensive comment? That is all on them.
So when those trolls come trolling, do not engage! Take care of your mental health by pressing that block and delete button immediately. And then give a word of thanks that you feel good enough about yourself that you don’t need to search online looking for people to bring down.
I hope these 5 tips for taking care of your mental health while you market yourself on social media help you. I’m interested to know, do you have any strategies that help your mental health online?