I have a confession – I accidentally took the entire summer off posting on social media. Literally, 100 days – oops!
100 days off social media might be unthinkable for you if social is a key component of your marketing strategy… but it is possible, I promise! I want to share with you what this hiatus looked like not just for my mental health and my business, but also how it impacted my lead generation and the business opportunities that I found myself with.
“okay but, why’d you do it?”
It wasn’t intentional, it kinda just happened. I had a new program starting on May 24th so I posted about that in May and by the time it began, I was tired of talking about it – so I figured I’d slow down for a week or so to recover.
Around the same time, I closed my Facebook group and in doing so, let go of the team that drafted posts for that channel. Without their regular drafts to approve, I didn’t have a prompt to brainstorm content anymore.
A week passed, then two, four, six… and suddenly it was July and I thought, “I wonder how long I can go!” and it sorta turned into an experiment.
Typically, being on Instagram or Facebook can seem like a never-ending vortex that just sucks you in. You know how it is… you log in to post something and the next thing you know, you’ve been scrolling for half an hour without writing a word! But, because I wasn’t using social media to intentionally post new content, I began to find myself spending less time on the platforms.
According to that little screen time app on my iPhone, my daily social habit dropped from 1.5 hours to about 10 minutes. I still checked my inboxes and reviewed everywhere I was tagged every day or two so I wouldn’t miss any business development opportunities, but I didn’t actually post anything to my Instagram or Facebook page.
so you just… stopped marketing?
When I share this with people they say, “So wait, you just stopped marketing for the summer? How?!”
I didn’t stop marketing – I stopped posting on social media – which is just one part of our agency-wide marketing strategy
I like to break my marketing strategy into two different pillars:
Focus on relationship building
The first is relationship building. What do I mean by this?
- getting leads from referrals and sending referrals out to other service providers
- being an affiliate for other people’s programs and allowing people to share my programs as an affiliate
- (when we’re not in COVID times), getting together for local, in-person networking events (cuz let’s face it, I really needed that human contact that you don’t get through a Zoom meeting)
The other pillar of our overall marketing strategy is content marketing. So, creating articles, videos, blog posts, and emails.
Over the 100 days that we weren’t posting on social media, we released 13 videos, 16 blog posts, and we emailed our list one or two times a week. So it’s not that we just shut down our marketing strategy, it was just that we didn’t use that particular channel.
So even though I stopped posting on social media, I was still able to continue marketing our brand in other ways.
“how did that impact your leads?”
The short answer: it didn’t.
Our contact form stayed consistent at one or two leads a week (Usually things get quieter in the summer but I was able to do more coffee chats with people, so by reallocating my time into those personal relationships instead of social, I was able to get more referral leads).
Our email list gained about the same number of subscribers as it had in the previous quarter.
AND we ran six of our VIP consulting intensives which is consistent with our usual pace of 1-3 every month.
So even though we usually do see a slowdown in our sales over the summer, we still had that consistent lead generation pipeline coming into us even without posting on social.
“how did it feel to take a break?”
People asked me, “how did it feel to not be as attached to social media?”
And I’ve got to admit, it felt kind of great.
When the summer first started, it was especially hard to not pick up my phone all the time and scroll. I decided to remove my social apps from that bar along the bottom of my screen and put them into folders so I’m not as prone to pick it up and just mindlessly scroll. I even replaced this section with the Kindle app and the podcasting app because I figured if I’m going to pick up my phone, I want to be spending my time on something that I enjoy that has long-term benefits (like listening to podcasts or reading a book).
At the beginning of 2021, I set a goal of reading 200 books this year. I’m still on course to meet this goal, and part of the reason why is because I wasn’t spending my time just scrolling on social.
Then right around mid-July or early August (probably at about the 60 or 70-day mark of my 100-day hiatus), I started to feel a little bit of FOMO. I definitely felt a lot of FOMO at the beginning of my social break but I also was feeling the burnout – so in July/August, I started to think, “Wow, I feel like I’m missing out on these relationships that are being formed in this space.”
I started to miss the relationship-building that happens on social media and those nurturing conversations I would have with people. I came to realize that it was more about missing the friendships that I developed on these platforms than the viewing, scrolling and story-watching.
“are you going back?”
I’ve also gotten asked, “Wow, after 100 days, are you going back?”
My answer: yup.
Although the break felt great, we do have some specific time-sensitive promotions coming up and I want to be able to reach people who may not be on our email list and will get the information via social media.
Coming up soon, we have the 3rd annual SEOctober challenge which you can sign up for today!
Aside from some of the more time-sensitive campaigns, we’re still creating evergreen content. The people who are only following LAFS on social without being on the email list may have missed some of the really cool content that we put out this summer, so I’m looking forward to re-engaging with that audience and getting their feedback.
Another thing I missed was being able to use social media as a place for idea generation. People often ask me questions in the comments of my videos or posts and I’m able to create more content in order to answer those specific questions. I like being able to use social as a place to have a dialogue with my audience – not just using social as a place to push content out. I’m definitely looking forward to this now that I’m back.
how you can do it, too
If you’re reading this and thinking to yourself, “Wow, that sounds great. I wish I could quit social media or take a digital detox, but I’m afraid my entire business will fall apart…” then I definitely don’t recommend going cold turkey.
It may seem like I did it cold turkey, but I actually have been building up my other marketing channels for a really long time in order to be able to step away from social and still have those channels in place to help people find us and keep those referrals coming in.
Create evergreen content
So if you’re not quite comfortable with the idea of giving up social media, but you want to step back from it a little bit, I would recommend creating some evergreen content on your website.
You don’t have to push content every day or every month, but maybe you want to create one blog post a month and then share that with your email list, pull it apart to create little excerpts for your social media, and load it into a social media scheduler as a batch edit. This way you’re able to load all your content in at once to let them feed out over time.
I like to use CoSchedule to schedule my social media content. It integrates all your social profiles and has a really straightforward calendar view so you can plan everything out.
Take a break and recharge
You also don’t need to quit social media for 100 days – you could just turn your phone off for the weekend or for a couple of days. Maybe you uninstall some social apps for a little bit and create some boundaries for yourself so you have that mental space and time off without all the overwhelming notifications.
If every time you pick up your phone you feel the need to check your notifications, you can come up with a system to help you manage that influx of stimulation.
Instead of picking up your phone whenever you feel bored, try setting a time on your calendar that you can go in and check every other day or so.
I do this as part of my daily check-in. Every morning I have a half-hour set aside to check my inbox, my team communication, my social media, and my community so I don’t feel like I’m missing anything, but it’s done at a healthy limit.
Setting aside a time on your schedule to check your social can make those inbound messages and notifications seem not quite as urgent and overwhelming.
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the constant notifications on your phone, or you just need some time to yourself, taking a break from social media can be rejuvenating – and it can also allow you to focus on other aspects of your business, like networking and content marketing.