When was the last time you sat still and were simply present? In today’s fast-paced world full of schedules, chores, and obligations, it seems nearly impossible to pause, breathe, and focus on the little things. And yet we’ve all heard that mindfulness is scientifically proven to reap a whole host of benefits. By taking the time to relax and do a mental check of what really matters you can better move throughout your day with a little less stress and a little more lightness in each step.
Tomorrow, July 12th, marks National Simplicity Day. It is celebrated in the U.S. in honor of Henry David Thoreau, who was born that day in 1817. An American essayist, poet, philosopher, naturalist, and even yogi, Thoreau was perhaps best known as a transcendentalist as recorded in his masterwork, Walden (1854). He and like-minded philosophers (dating as far back as ancient Chinese and Indian scriptures) advocated for living a simpler life to better get in touch with one’s inner self-knowledge.
Now, I have a feeling that should Thoreau be a member of today’s modern society, he wouldn’t be the biggest fan of Instagram or Snapchat. However, we here at NISM are part of the 92% of marketers who view social media as a necessary tool. In celebration of National Simplicity Day, I’m here to share a few ways you can simplify your social media strategy for an increase in peace-of-mind while still staying true to our SMS roots.
Take inventory of what exactly you’re posting
A common mistake brands can make on social is spreading themselves too thin. While social media is crucial for generating awareness, a business cannot survive on awareness alone. It also needs sales. If you’re pushing content out just for the sake of posting something, you could be detracting from more urgent revenue-generating content. An unfocused and cluttered feed is almost as bad as a completely empty feed because consumers will most likely not bother trying to decipher what information will actually benefit them. By taking the time to sit back and reflect on the objectives and execution tactics of your social media marketing, you can create more focused and purposeful content that will ultimately benefit your brand in the long-run.
Create a schedule and stick to it
Working in the social media industry means being regularly logged in. However, it’s easy to slip from focused tasks like creating a business Facebook event to watching a dog dance at a wedding. Therefore it is crucial to schedule out blocks of time specifically for social media and related tasks. NISM’s Amy Jauman taught me to aim for smaller increments like 30 minutes of uninterrupted work. Set a timer and focus on the task at hand, and when the timer rings, record what you did and exactly how long it took you. You’d be surprised how much you can get done when you set an achievable goal of distraction-free work time.
Be mindful of your body
While we’re on the topic of setting timed increments, make sure to split up those blocks of time with some mobility! The Mayo Clinic recommends you take a break from sitting every 30 minutes to avoid the harmful health concerns linked with sitting behind a desk for long periods of time. Stand up, stretch, walk to the water fountain, do whatever you need to do to take the mental and physical break your body deserves.
You don’t need to be on every platform
As most of you already know, it is important to strategize and pick your channels wisely. Use tools like Google Analytics to determine what channels are bringing in the most traffic and prioritize them in order of importance to your business. Take into account the level of engagement you receive on posts as well as the number of followers you have and focus on remaining active on whichever sites best benefit you. As I mentioned before, focus on posting beneficial content to a handful of sites instead of spreading yourself too thin.
Who are you connecting with?
Take the time to look through your friends and followers. Are you really friends with all 800 of those people on Facebook? When I first got a Facebook back in middle school, I friend requested and accepted requests from every person I ever met, even if it was a brief encounter outside of a locker. Now, years later, I’m still finding and unfriending people I honestly don’t know very well. On Instagram, it’s easy to follow influencers or bloggers who share photos that make you green with envy of their seemingly picture-perfect lifestyle. Unfortunately, too much of this can sometimes lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem, making Instagram the worst social media network for mental health and wellbeing. Take the time to ask yourself why you are following each person. You may find you enjoy an influencer’s posts because they share an inside look into your dream job or you really admire their home-decor taste. Being inspired by someone is a different feeling than envying someone, so trust your gut on this one.
The 30 minute increments of social media time should be applied to your daily life outside of business as well. Give yourself 30 minutes of mindless scrolling and absorb all of the cooking videos your heart desires. But once you reach your set amount of time, put down your phone. Take a walk outside, read a book, play a game of cards, actually converse with your loved ones over dinner, just be unplugged and present. This is something I know Mr. Thoreau would advocate for and if your really want to make him happy on National Simplicity Day, try to step away from your social as much as possible on June 12th and simply be present.
What all can you accomplish by increasing your mindfulness and simplifying your relationship with social media?
Author: Celeste Russell, SMS
Hailing from Las Vegas, Celeste began working with NISM as a summer intern in 2019. Since then she has found a real home in the community, earned her SMS certification, and currently works as the Social Media Coordinator for NISM and the Social Media Manager for OMCP. Celeste graduated from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota with a B.A. in Acting & Communication for the Arts. Her passions have always included effective communication both on and off the stage and she is grateful that working remotely allows her the opportunity to pursue her acting career simultaneously. She currently lives in Los Angeles, CA with her wonderful husband and their three pets.
Feel free to connect with Celeste on LinkedIn.
Check out one of her other NISM blog posts: Battling Imposter Syndrome as a Social Media Professional