Social media is as much a part of life as breathing for a large chunk of the developed world.
40 percent of the 7.5 billion people on earth are social media users. Daily social media use in 2017 was up to 135 minutes per day. In other words, the average person spends a feature-length movie’s worth of time each day just checking feeds, liking posts and creating content.
It’s no wonder some people are starting to deal with burnout. The first to feel it are social media managers, whose exposure to the always-on world is part of their job they can never turn off. They’re constantly on the front lines. But social media issues affect more than just those who are dealing with it for their job.
If you’ve been on social media for any length of time, you’ve seen the ugly side: the pile-ons with people taking quotes out of context, not seeing subtext and creating an ugly landslide of human nature.
Even without those episodes, the constant need for approval and the dopamine drip that our always-on world has created can be unhealthy for anyone. And it’s especially unhealthy for those who want to do big things—entrepreneurs, business leaders, and anyone who has strong long-term goals they want to accomplish.
That’s why some people are going on social media fasts. A social media fast is a way to break yourself free of the constant cycle of validation and hopefully remind yourself of the world beyond the screen …
But how can you do that without forcing your brand to do the same?
This is one of the easiest ways to do it. You can hire a freelancer to mock up some social media posts for you, then post them yourself. The best way to do this without getting back into constant feed checking is to get on your computer to post it, then log off immediately after.
(You have removed the apps from your phone, right?)
Of course, this removes some of the “social” part from social media. Social media doesn’t work so well when used as a billboard instead of a conversation. If you have a freelancer you trust, you could hand over ownership of your feeds to them for a little while to respond. That depends how comfortable you are with them, though.
There are a host of scheduling tools out there for social media, including Buffer, Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Crowdfire, BuzzSumo and more.
You can schedule out some general posts for your social media fast, creating a stream of content that runs even when you’re not around. This has similar drawbacks to the freelancer route, though: you can’t reply if you’re not on social media. You can’t have a conversation.
If you don’t have someone who can do social media for you, though, this is the most cost-effective and easiest way to take some time away.
Whether you’re running a company or just managing your personal brand, the time comes for everyone where you need a hand keeping up with your social media feed. Freelancers are nice, and automation helps, but someone who works for you is the best bet.
You can vet them thoroughly, and if you’ve brought them on board into your organization chances are they share the organizational values you do.
Once they have a sense of your voice or the voice of your brand, let them manage things for you. It doesn’t mean you can’t check in, but there’s a reason so many companies and even individuals have social media managers to take care of the day-to-day grunt work for them.
The last solution is a little bit of a cheat, but if you really feel like you have the willpower, you can do a partial fast. One thing many people do is disable notifications and alerts from their social media platforms on their mobile devices. This can alleviate many of the symptoms of overuse or addiction to social media.
Another thing you can do is uninstall the apps from your mobile devices and only access social media through your computer. This can help some if you’re only trying to limit your usage, but can be of limited use if most of your social use is on the computer.
More than 90 percent of the people in the world go online using a mobile device, so if this is your main method of access to social media, it can be a great way to cut back.
Or you can budget your time. Set a timer and limit yourself—sit down to the computer, go to the sites, check your feeds for a certain amount of time and reply to messages, then when the timer’s up you’re done.
No matter what method you take, you can take a fast from social media without killing your brand. If you do, you can reap the benefits in better sleep, better focus, and more attention to the things that matter.
Don’t fear the fast.