Reprioritising after month off Instagram
In August, after a chance conversation, I decided to log out of Instagram for the month. I work with authors on their social media, so taking this time off felt almost like a kind of sacrilege. How can I help people with their social media if I don’t use it myself!? But it also felt needed.
Out of all of the social media apps out there, Instagram feels the most compelling, and potentially addictive, to me. The dopamine hit from people liking and commenting on your posts is real, but then so is the frustration
What I did:
I deleted the Instagram and Facebook apps from my phone and logged out of them on my phone browser.
I also used the News Feed Eradicator plugin on my laptop for both Facebook and Instagram. I do need to check individual people’s profiles for work, so didn’t want to log out of either completely. I also wanted to be able to use my Facebook groups as I get a lot of value from them.
What I did not want was to get sucked in to the newsfeed. I worked out I was spending about 60-90 minutes each day on the apps combined.
I decided to keep Twitter. I find it significantly less distracting for some reason. I had already deleted the app on my phone, so only use it on my PC, and was spending about 10-15 minutes a day on there.
What I did instead
I had visions that I would be putting my phone away and never reaching for it during the day. That didn’t happen. I still did use my phone a lot.
But I much prefer what I was using it for. I installed the Feedly and Kindle apps, and would read interesting blog posts or a page or two of my book.
I also started blogging more. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but I could never find the time to do it. As you will find quoted all over the internet, the life span of a blog post is soooooooo much longer than anything on social media. I still get traffic from Google and Pinterest on blog posts I wrote 2+ years ago. It makes strategic sense for me to channel my energy here.
I just generally felt like I had So Many Ideas.
Aside from writing more on the blog, I also created a new freebie, to help authors promote their book without social media, and planned out a new, free workshop, taking place later on this month. I came up with a (paid) workshop for January, too. So that feels very organised of me!
Promoting myself without social media
Because I am working in house, I didn’t do much promotion beyond my newsletter.
However, I pitched myself to write a guest blog (and was accepted), and did a newsletter swap with someone whose audience aligns with mine.
Guest blogging, and potentially being a podcast guest (although that triggers ALLLLL the nerves) are on my hitlist of things to do more of. If you’d like to have me on your podcast or guest, do get in touch!
I also spent a little bit more time on Pinterest. Not much, because Pinterest can be just as hungry as social media. But pins last longer, and they drive regular traffic to this site. What I’m doing now is creating a new pin, and sharing it, for any old posts that people visit on the site. It’s not a great strategy, but it’s better than nothing! Are you on Pinterest? You can follow me here (and let me know when you do, so I can follow you back!).
The result was that traffic to the site was up, and I got some new people on my mailing list. I also still booked new clients. I started working with one new client in August, and start with another in September. Both came through an agency I have worked with before, and who have had good feedback about my work. Making my client offering even better, and driving word of mouth, is definitely something I’m always working on.
The flip side
Remember the first section of this post where I said I used Twitter for 10 minutes a day? Well, that definitely increased. It probably went up to 20 minutes. Still acceptable usage, but also, not really what my intention was.
I think I just really missed people and chat. That does really bring me joy. If I thought of someone and wondered how they were doing, I “allowed” myself to check in on them specifically. Because I’m an adult and I make my own rules in this self-imposed ban.
But let’s be real friends, I AM NOSY. I definitely want to see the inside of your AirBnB and hear about what you had for lunch and meet your friend’s puppy. I like seeing that stuff. I missed the joy of coming across something cool in someone’s stories.
What taking this break has done is reprioritise what I’m doing. All roads now lead to my website and newsletter.
I did miss Instagram enough to go back to it, but I’m definitely not reintroducing my Facebook feed, or reinstalling that app on my phone.
I will share the stuff I create on social, and will share interesting or useful things I come across. I’m also definitely going to continue to nose about and talk to people in their comments and DMs. I’m still going to be chatty! But right now, I’m not going to be posting content just for the sake of it, or sharing much of the minutae of my life.
If you want to get behind-the-scenes content, the best place to get it right now is my newsletter.
So, that’s how my month off Instagram went. I missed it, but loved the amount of time it gave me back. I think I’ll do another one at some point. Have you ever done any kind of social media ban? How did it go?