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Friday, September 21, 2018

How To Use Social Media To Connect To Others

We're all guilty of finding ourselves stuck in social media timelines. No matter which social system is your go-to, you've likely lost track of the time you've spent on the apps. This can obviously be damaging to your productivity, as it takes time away from things you need to do. But wait, don't you need to socialize on social media to build brand awareness? Yup. You do. You need to be following people who are interested in your niche. You need to be meeting new people, making connections. So how do you use social media to connect to others, without getting lost in the timelines?

The real secret is: Limit yourself.

You may ask, how can I be productive on social media if I'm not on social media? How can I make connections? The most productive people will all say that social media can be a plague. Not only on your time and energy, but on your mental stability. Too much social media actually tends to disconnect us from one another. Limiting how often you're using any system is the best way to control how you use them. You should set aside a few minutes each day, for each social media platform that is important to your brand. A benchmark of 15-25 is good. Some people feel the need to spend more like 45 minutes, updating Instagram and liking new posts. Pinterest can take a good deal of time too, since the ideal is about 10 pins each day. More important than setting these limits for yourself is actually keeping them!

There are apps you can download that will monitor the usage of your phone, showing you exactly how long you've been on a social media app (or any other app). Of course, knowing you spend too much time on your Facebook timeline doesn't help you to decrease the time you spend. So, set yourself reminders. Use the alarm system on your phone (or download another app) and set yourself reminders to shut it down.

If you're having a hard time staying away from your phone, there's an app called "Forest: Stay Focused". The idea is that you are growing a beautiful tree, but every time you touch your phone, the tree starts back from the beginning. In order to see it fully bloom, you'll have to leave your phone alone. This is a great app for any time during the day that you should be focused on something else.

The idea of social media is that is it supposed to connect us to one another. Then, why is it so draining? There is too much focus on the media part, and less on the social. Think about your most recent post. What was it? A photo on Instagram? A pin on Pinterest? An update on Facebook or Twitter? How much time did you think about the content you were posting? You likely thought about who would see/like/favorite/share/comment on it, right? Now, ask yourself, how much time did you spend as the audience? Did you discover any new accounts today? Did you have any new conversations with people you'd never spoken to? How many posts did you like/favorite/share? Did you actually comment on any of them?

We can often get lost in the idea of social media, while letting the social side of our brain remain dormant. Newsflash: in order to be social, we have to socialize!

Here's your goal for the week:

Monitor your social media usage (with an app, or a pen and paper - whatever you feel most comfortable doing). This includes how many posts you make, how many posts you comment on, people you follow/unfollow and people who might follow you. Jot it all down somewhere! At the end of the week, take a look at the time you spent, versus the productivity you saw from that time.