How to Take Control of Your Relationship With Social Media
“Social media extends my day; I was working until 10:30 p.m. the other night on the production for this morning’s post,” admits Elaine Watson who, as executive vice president at Kupa and a working celebrity nail artist, does double-duty, promotion-wise. “Whether you’re a tech, a salon owner or run a company, that’s kind of the deal—you have to squeeze every last drop out of the day, and that includes making sure the world knows you’re in business.”
As social media becomes more ingrained in our daily lives, we may find ourselves paying the price—and not just in lost hours and minutes. Mental health experts often emphasize the psychological toll that this preoccupation can take on children and teens, but adults can also become mired in that continual impulse to communicate regularly and respond promptly. Studies point to the addictive nature of internet use; trying to curb the habit often leads to feelings of anxiety that manifest not only emotionally, but also in physiological changes, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure.
Even if you’re not “addicted” to social media, frequent exposure can place you on an emotional rollercoaster as you compare your work to that of others, oftentimes leading to depression. “If [social media] is used as a way to size up one’s own accomplishments against others, it can have a negative effect,” confirmed Margaret Duffy, professor and chair of communication at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, in her co-authored 2015 study on social media published in Computers in Human Behavior.
If you’re feeling weighed down by the pressures of social media, you’re not alone. The good news is that there are some simple things that you can do to ease your anxiety about social media, be more productive and take back your time.
Work smarter. “I fall into the time suck trap regularly,” confesses Katie Masters, nail artist and owner of Nail Thoughts in Santa Monica, California. “So, I try to plan my posts days in advance, down to the captions, tags, etc., and keep everything in my Instagram drafts folder. When morning comes, all I have to do is hit ‘share’ and I’m set. I highly recommend spending an hour a week on planning posts because it relieves so much time.” Watson suggests another efficiency tip: “If you’re seeing nail clients all day long, take advantage of that and snap a photo with your phone of every set you do. Later, you can use an app, like Facetune, to adjust the hands, skin and nails.”
Narrow your focus. Base your social media strategy on quality over quantity, advise pros. Pick only one or two platforms based on your brand and target audience, and choose the content of your posts accordingly. “Zero in on what you do,” advises Watson. If your specialty is nail art and that’s what you post, then stick with visually driven sites, like Instagram. If you’re a business pro, then Twitter may be your best bet.
Limit your screen time. Reducing the amount of time you spend on social media can make you more productive, allowing you to focus your energy on interacting with clients and loved ones and find time to address your own needs. “It’s hard not to check Instagram every 10 minutes, because it has become so key to my business, but I believe unplugging is a very smart concept,” Masters says. “I’ve stopped taking my phone out to dinner with me and, honestly, it makes me feel 100-percent more present!”
If you’re finding it hard to limit the time you spend on social media, try disabling notifications on your mobile device, or use an app like Moment or Quality Time to track and manage your screen time. Similarly, apps like Freedom and Flipd can allow you to block your access to specific apps and websites.
Stay positive. Although it’s natural to feel hurt by rude comments on your social media page, it’s important to keep things in perspective. “Those types of comments are usually opinion-based and come from people you don’t want to engage with anyway,” points out Masters. “The best thing to do is to ignore the comment.”
Watson agrees. “Within our industry, we sometimes do very unusual nails that the rest of the world doesn’t get,” she says. “When I do interviews for Nailympia’s Fantasy Nails competition, we always get a comment in the chat, ‘How do you wipe your a** with those nails?’ I’ve learned to tell myself that whenever I see something negative, I’m not going to fuel it. Besides, I’ve found that if somebody posts something negative on your wall, your people will come to your defense. And remember, you can always delete the comment because it’s your wall, your home, and you don’t have to let it in.”
- 88% of businesses use social media.
- The average social media user spends 899 minutes per month on Facebook, 242 minutes per month on Snapchat and 206 minutes per month on Instagram.
- Customers spend 20% to 40% more money on companies that engage with them on social media.
- Visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.
- More than 3 billion people around the world now use social media each month.Sources: Coschedule.com; Adweek; Verto Analytics, Sept. 2017, https://www.statista.com/chart/11265/the- most-time-consuming-social-networks/; Social Media Today; HubSpot; https://wearesocial.com/blog/2018/01/ global-digital-report-2018
–by Linda Kossoff