I quit social media. As a former marketing director and now brand strategist for small businesses, I took the leap and deleted all my social apps, and logged out of my accounts for the rest of the year… maybe longer. It’s yet to be decided whether or not I’ll be back when the start of the new year comes.
Why on earth would someone in marketing quit the internet you might ask? Because I wasn’t seeing value in it.
My entire business is built on doing things with intention–asking questions, paying attention, and making hard decisions based on what is actually adding value (or as Marie Kondo would say, what’s sparking joy). For me, social media hasn’t added value to my life in many years, and yet I kept hustling, creating hours of content with little to no ROI.
For me, and for most small businesses, social media makes you feel productive. You don’t actually see it performing for your business but you continue to throw time and potentially money into it only to end up wondering why you aren’t having a bigger impact. As a brand strategist, I know what social media can do for your business. I’ve helped businesses grow their reach and create an impact on social, but I also know how much time, focus, and intentionality needs to go into social in order for it to benefit the business, and as a company of one, I don’t have that space to focus here.
Most importantly, I’ve wanted to get off of social media for years but never felt like I could because I’m in marketing. That’s the only way to market your business right? Wrong! There was marketing long before social and there will continue to be marketing long after social becomes a thing of the past. So I’m dedicated to letting go of what’s not serving me or sparking joy for me and instead exploring new options for marketing my business.
Setting up your Social Media Detox as a Business Owner
So, I created my own social media detox challenge as a business owner. For 4-months (the rest of this year) I will abstain from social media. All the apps have been deleted off my phone and I’ve logged out on all the accounts. For those of you who need help with your willpower, you can ask a trusted loved one to change your passwords for you so that you don’t know them but someone does if and when you’re ready to return.
I still have some prior commitments that I have to honor in which case I check into a few Facebook Groups 1x a week to engaged and add value. Otherwise, social media is turned off.
Before leaving social I created a week’s worth of value-driven content and explained that I would be off social for a while, providing all the different ways you could still stay connected with me. (Signing up for my newsletter, being the biggest one). I also set up my feed as a landing page of sorts so that people who meet me at networking events or discover my blog can still discover me on social and see all that I have to offer.
Finally, any relationships I’ve built on social that I wanted to keep up with during these 4-months I direct messaged and explained that I wouldn’t be able to connect here and how we could connect elsewhere. Then on August 22, 2021, I said my goodbyes saved them to my highlights (you can see the whole week’s worth of content in my saved highlights), and deleted everything from my phone and computer.
How long to Detox from Social Media
When I try anything new in my business I commit to at least 90-days. This gives me the chance to actually see changes in my analytics and to tell if something is working or not. We often live by doing things (especially challenges) for 30-days. But if you want to see real results, do it for 90-days. In my own social media detox, I’ve committed to 4-months simply because it will finish out the year and that felt right for me. However, you choose to remove social media from your life, whether for a short while or forever, commit first to at least 30-days but really try for 90 so that you can fully experience life without it.
Benefits of a Social Media Detox
At the time of writing this, I’m three weeks into my social media detox and I can already see how much time I spend thinking about social still. This is why having a detox that’s longer than 30-days is beneficial, I’m still not even through the withdrawal phase of this and I would’ve been halfway through the challenge.
During the first week of my detox, I went to Costa Rica with my husband where everything was new and exciting. But within the first few days, I realized how I would capture things to share online (even though I don’t do that now) but even worst, that I would experience this amazing place through the screen of my phone. I’m literally watching monkeys jump onto my patio through the screen of my phone with hopes of sharing this with friends and family. After taking photographs of these sweet moments once, I stopped. I had captured this story, we had photos to show our family when we returned, the rest needed to be for us. It needed to be personal without anything disconnecting us from the reality right in front of us.
Our phones, the things meant to connect us, have actually built walls between us and the world around us. If there was ever a wall that needed to come crashing down, it’s the screen you have up in front of you right now.
But it’s more than just reconnecting with the world around you. A social media detox will aid you in your personal and professional life.
- Get your time back to create more and consume less
- Stop the comparison game
- Inspiration for new ventures or ways of marketing
- Real genuine connections with people around you
- Reduce anxiety
- Increase privacy protection
Marketing Without Social
I’m on a journey, to go back to the way our grandparents used to do things. To fall in love with the handmade, to connect with people, and grow my reach with real relationships. I’m attending as many networking events as I can, scheduling 1:1 coffee dates multiple times a week, and providing higher quality content on my blog (here!) and my newsletter (have you signed up?).
I don’t know what new tactics or tools I’ll find, or where this will take my business, but I can already feel a release by letting go of social media. There’s less of a need to compete or to have to always be “on” for others. I now have more space to create and not consume and find healthy ways to build connections. As for social, I’ll decide if it makes sense to come back with new boundaries and a new intentional strategy in 4 months.
Katie Leigh is a brand strategist and photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. Her experience as a former graphic design and former marketing director provides a unique perspective when it comes to your brand. Whether you want ongoing brand strategy support with a 1:1 package or need to update your website with photos that tell your story, Katie Leigh will help you get clear in your marketing and create an intentional strategy to save you time and sanity! Get more tips and resources for building an intentional brand here.