It was late 2017, about 1.5 years into our photography business that I realized I needed a social media cleanse. I found myself aimlessly scrolling through Instagram for hours on end. With each new post, I just found myself lost in comparison. My insecurities mounted and I wondered if we’d ever “be like them” or if we’d ever “have that many followers.” My goals became obsessed with numbers and all consumed with competition.
I needed a break. A break from all of the advice and the comparisons and the posting and the scrolling. A complete break – a cleanse.
Sounds easy, right? Just log out or delete the Instagram app off your phone.
Nope. Not the case.
I seriously felt like if I took a break from the world of social media our business would fail. How crazy is that? I mean, I love each and one of our lovely followers and clients and friends and family who double tap and comment on our posts. But aren’t those also the people who would 100% understand if I took a little time, gave myself a little space? The answer is a resounding “YES.” So then, what am I worried about? The bots? The sites that tell me I need to do this or that? Yep. That’s it!
I felt I couldn’t take a break from the app because I genuinely felt that we would fail if we weren’t consistently posting and growing our followers, which is just crazy!
I started tracking my phone usage on Moment, which is a great app that tracks how much screen time you are using on your phone and how you’re spending that time. I was so shocked to find out that I was spending upwards of 3-4 hours daily on my phone with most of that spent on Instagram. Honestly, I was so embarrassed because I have nothing to show for that time – it was most likely spent mindlessly scrolling and comparing our business to others.
I knew I needed to make some changes…and I wanted to implement them ASAP.
I didn’t set up any automated posts for Instagram or Facebook. I just deleted the apps and closed out. I didn’t have a plan for when I would get back on but I knew I needed to be able to set up healthy boundaries first. After taking some time to clear my mind of all of the anxiety that social media can cause, I started to think what I could do to be more intentional with my time – for both myself and my business.
5 Steps to be Purposeful, Intentional, and Successful on Instagram
1) Set Boundaries
I used Moment to track my phone usage and aimed to have my Instagram and other social media app time under 60 minutes per day. This may still sound like a lot, but it was a good starting point for me to not feel like I was taking on too big of a change at once. Today, I’ve upped my game a little bit by utilizing the new iPhone setting upgrade that allows me to set time restrictions for specific apps. It’s such a great tool and forces me or rather, encourages me, to put the phone down and be present. If you have an iPhone, I highly recommend following the screen shots below and setting up your own screen time boundaries!
Really think these boundaries through when setting them and be willing to be flexible. Setting realistic and intentional boundaries will help you stay focuses and purposeful while on Instagram. Giving yourself grace when you slip up from time to time will help ensure you can keep up your new initiative! If you need to spend more time on the app one day, don’t feel like you’ve failed! Give yourself grace in the moment and know that every day isn’t the same. Just remember to be intentional.
2) Be Willing to Unfollow
Okay, I know this may not be a popular thing to say but it needs to be said. If someone makes you fall into the comparison game, unfollow them. Instagram can be a great resource for inspiration, community, connecting, and so much more. Let it be that for you! Think of the app just like you would your real life. If you were in a situation or a relationship that wasn’t healthy for you or made you feel lesser every time you saw that person…you’d probably not want to be involved with them, right? Well guess what, it’s wayyyy easier to unfollow someone on Instagram than it would be to change a relationship in real life! And, you can always come back and follow that person again.
Be intentional with your time and your mind. Comparing yourself to others can easily sweep you into mindlessly scrolling and losing precious moments of your life while hurting your own mental health. Be intentional, plan out your time in advance, and if someone isn’t inspiring you anymore – unfollow!
3) Don’t judge the worth of your business based off social media numbers
Just don’t. It’s not worth your time. If you are judging your business off you’re social media following, you’re probably going to accidentally ignore your real life following. I’ve seen myself fall into this trap. Our calendar can be full of weddings and other sessions, but we don’t have as many followers as that one person or another person. It can really eat at me. I can easily decide our business is failing or we will never be good enough based off of our total number of followers…but it isn’t true!
If I take a step back, close out the app, and look at our real business, I see a very different story. I see brides trusting us to give them advice on wedding planning. I see moms and dads excited to have us capture their little babes. I see referrals and I see dedicated clients.
That’s the reality, but I can easily forget all that in just moments by getting caught up in our numbers. By no means am I saying to stop your Instagram or social media strategy! Just be more intentional, give yourself the gift of grace, and remember the people who are supporting you and filling your calendar. Also, remember that those who seem to find success overnight…they were in your shoes! They once started a business from nothing, put in the time, went through the growing pains, and are still working their but off butt are also being rewarded for all of those unseen years!
4) Be strategic about your time on social media
How much time can I really dedicate to social media? How much time do I actually want to dedicate to social media? And, how do I want to show up on social media?
These are all important pieces of my strategy.
I remember the days when I would be so frustrated because I felt that no matter how much time I put into the app, w
e’d never have success on the platform. Have you ever felt that way? Can you relate to that bummer feeling when you realize how much time you’ve spent on the app and how little you have to show for it?
Okay, yep, I get it and I have 100% felt that way – hence the cleanse!
I realized that yeah, I was spending time on the app…but I was mindlessly scrolling. I wasn’t being intentional at all. I may not have even posted or commented or liked anything! I was just there: scrolling, lurking, and feeling super crappy about myself with every passing minute.
Then I realized I needed to change my approach to the platform. I started to think more about my time strategically and intentionally. I put together a social media content strategy that pulled together our website, blogging, promotions, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
I won’t get into the nitty gritty of my strategy now but here is a little overview:
· I spend 30 minutes at the end of every month brainstorming the next month. What big things do we have coming up? Weddings? Trips? What season is it? Are there any important holidays? I limit this time to 30 minutes (I literally set a timer). If I spend less than 30 minutes, I may forget something. If I spend more than 30 minutes, I start to think of too many things and grow the scope of the strategy too big.
· Once I have my brainstorming list, I’ll start putting the pieces together. What should be showing up in blog format? How do I want to build our social platforms over the next month? I will typically tie these things together so all the content coming from us is cohesive and useful!
· Time to build! I set up time to do batch work and use that trusty timer! For example, I set up so many days and time to focus solely on writing blogs, creating visuals for the blogs, or crafting Instagram posts and Facebook posts.
5) Automate Your Social Media Workflow
Honestly, I was terrified to automate at first. I didn’t want to automate our workflow and then seem like everything we were putting out was robotic and didn’t have a human behind it. After all, our entire business is built on the idea of building relationships with our clients – whether that is for photography or education.
Let me be the first to tell you; don’t be scared. It’s all going to be okay!
Figuring out where to start with automating is challenging. It took me a bit of time and I want to save you from the research. I use 3 main tools for managing and automating Instagram and they all work seamlessly together saving me so much time. But my secret sauce comes in the form of Planoly. Planoly allows me to save specific hashtag groupings, design our feed, geo-tag, tag brands and people, write meaningful captions, schedule posts, and analyze how my strategy is working. Not to mention, it’s so easy to use that I can do most of this work in under 1 hour and get about 1 month of content prepped! No matter who you are serving and how you serve them, Planoly can help with streamlining.
You can easily set Planoly up to automatically post to your feed or you can go into the app and post manually. This also works for Instagram stories! Either way, Planoly has its own sets of perks and I use a mix of this to achieve our social media strategy. Have more questions about Planoly? Dive into my Planoly strategy!
If you’re still nervous about automating, be sure to check out my top 3 apps for managing Instagram.
Now It’s Your Turn
Let’s focus on your business and using Instagram as a platform for community, inspiration, and real growth. It’s time to leave the comparison game behind, clear your mind, and chase your goals! That’s all very easy to say but can be challenging to implement. If you find yourself feeling like I did, take a step back from the app and refresh. Think about your strategy and how you can use Instagram as a tool to get to where you want your business to be.
Need advice on that strategy or are you unsure of where to start? No worries! Grab my complete social media strategy!! I’ll dive into to how I use different apps, set timers, and determine strategies. I’ll also share a complete content planning checklist and give a peek into my monthly content planning strategy.
If you loved this blog, be sure to share it with your friends on Facebook and Pinterest!
We can’t wait to hear what you did for your social media cleanse!
What are you most excited to do while you step away from the app to reset?
When you’re back from your little break be sure to head over to our Instagram to let us in on your favorite thing from your time off AND what the hardest part in taking a step back was!