6 Ways to Rethink Your Relationship with Social Media

Group of diverse people using smartphones

Sick of social? Strategies feeling stale?

Here are three major paradigm shifts for looking at social media, followed by three subtle strategy shifts to help you reconnect with more enjoyment and engagement.

3 Major Paradigm Shifts

1. International Networking Party

People often complain that social media isn’t real. We have catfishing (fake identities), finstagrams (fake instagrams), and imperceptible bots (fake news and trolls).

The problem with this thinking? Social media is real! At this point, we’re globally connected. In 2019, it’s estimated that there will be around 2.77 billion users around the globe.

Rather than falling out of love with social media and the shiny world and personas that people project, think of it as a global networking party. You’d show up to the Oscars, an opening night, or VIP holiday party as a more polished version of yourself. This is why people are more polished and seemingly “perfect” online!

Similarly, you wouldn’t show up to a major party with a megaphone and talk about yourself all night long. Show up to these global networking parties (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etcetera) and just feel the vibe. Support the current leaders and the people you know and recognize. Engaging with others online is the equivalent of a smile, wave, nod, or wink at a party. Then, when you’re ready to share something, you step up to the microphone and make a broadcast. Guarantee people will respond more favorably than if you showed up to the party with a megaphone or selfie stick!

2. Major Network TV SHOW 

ABC, CBS, and NBC are major television networks. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are major social networks. In the digital age, everyone has a global distribution deal.

What kind of programming is your channel airing? Are you a documentary? Reality show? Live performance art? You get to choose what you share… but just like major TV series, you may need to adjust your content to what the market responds to.

What kind of content are you consuming? It’s important you bring consciousness to what you consume, too! If you were to watch Fox News all day, you’d have a very specific view of the world. Always look outside of your curated feed and see what’s going on in other areas. Join movements that matter to you!

3. Digital Legacy

Stop thinking and saying that social media is all about self-promotion. What if it’s about self-preservation?

When you pass, and you will, what will you leave behind? Think of your social media as insight into the human you were and the contributions you made. Leave a trail for the biographers of the future. Memories for future generations.

In the same way, bring more consciousness to the messages that you share digitally. While they seem ephemeral and can often be deleted or edited… in many cases, they do last forever. Bring awareness to each broadcast. Does it represent your highest self? Does it positively impact others?

3 Subtle Strategy Shifts

1. Share less

While some of my social is scheduled, I've turned the frequency down. In all things, online and offline, I believe in quality over quantity.

Imagine if someone called you everyday (or even more than once a day) just to say "Hey.” Now, imagine if you haven’t heard from someone in six days, six weeks, or six months and they call you out of the blue to share exciting news? You’re going to be much more engaged and have a better experience.

It’s okay to share (or post) less on social. Strictly share things of value. Usually, that’s information or inspiration. You don’t have to be precious about it: a selfie is valuable (we don’t get to see you everyday in real life), and so is a smile, laugh, or provoking thought.

My point is do NOT share stupid $#!t for the sake of staying active. Filter and design your content as much as you do your photos. Share your story (or stories) with a beginning, middle and end.

2. Support more

Like any relationship, you have to give to get. Barry Feldman even wrote "If You Don't Treat Social Media Like Sex, You're Doing It Wrong." Social media is like karma. What goes around comes around.

Your online actions truly can create offline results. I know first hand. This is why I encourage my students to really brainstorm their lists of existing and desired connections—then work to nurture those relationships through likes, favorites, comments, shares and retweets.

Create customized streams for your influencers on Facebook and Twitter, and then be ultra generous with your engagement. 

Who doesn't like to feel special? 

3. Create Connection

Remember that these are social networks (not markets). Each network gives you the ability to search your existing address book for new connections.

Make sure you're fully connected with your existing network or community. Like the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game, you’re lessening your degrees of separation from the VIP industry contacts you’re attempting to create a relationship with. Mutual friends and followers add trust and credibility. Take a moment today to follow new/old friends. The larger you make your tribe, the more followers you may gain.

In addition, think about improving the connection with your existing followers (the quality of your relationship), rather than solely focusing on adding new connections (the quantity of your relationships, or followers). An engaged audience is better than a large group of people who ignore you. Think about the offline equivalent!


Little Action Steps

1. Revisit your networks and do some cleaning.

2. Customize your feed so you’re consciously consuming.

3. Search your address book for existing connections. Expand your network!

ArticlesTony HowellComment