Social media, for the most part, is free. But that freedom usually comes at some expense – constant exposure to adverts, your time, energy, and seedy not-so-nice methods of keeping your eyes glued to the screen for as long as possible. If you’ve recently watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix, you know what I’m talking about!
Rather than go nuclear and delete all social media, like some do, there is a way to tame it. If you take some time to really think about what it is you want to see, you can curate your feeds to actually be beneficial, which in turn can help you grow as a person, or a business.
As an online content creator, I’ve used these five methods to make social media work for me:
1 – Cull your feed
The biggest way to make social media start working for you is to stop following the noise.
Unfollow or hide everything that irks you about social media, whether it’s unwanted political opinions, minion memes, cringe-worthy updates, or just plain trash, it’s time to say goodbye. These things are clogging up your feed, and probably adding to your overall negative feelings toward social media. If you can adjust the ratio of seeing these things, we’re off to a good start.
2 – Follow the good
Now your feed is a little more focused, it’s time to follow good content. Find people doing interesting things – think companies, photographers, filmmakers, honest influencers, or even public figures. These types of people are usually making some of the best content out there and it will make your feed something worth looking at, something inspirational.
If you’re struggling, the explore tab on Instagram is a good way to find new content, and it’s built from your current likes. You can follow hashtags too, so if you love #northdevonlife for example you can see content similar to this, even from accounts you don’t follow.
3 – Meaningful interactions
Liking a post is easy, too easy. It’s time to actually start commenting and being part of the community and narrative that make up social media. Ask someone how they edited their photos, where they got a certain item, or just a note of support in general. All of this will make you more visible on the platform, and can even encourage more followers to your account.
Don’t comment for comments sake though, that can be very tempting. ‘Nice post’ or ‘this is cool!’ or ‘Love what you’re doing’ isn’t going to cut it, and it can make it seem like you’re leeching off a good post, people can spot cookie cutter replies like this a mile off and you don’t want to fall into that crowd.
If you’re a small business or are looking to expand your following in general, getting replies from post authors or starting a discussion in the comments section is a power move, and will push more traffic your way.
4 – Design your content
Now it’s your turn to start sharing better posts.
Decide which route you’d like to go down and design your feed so it reflects that. Share things that will add to your own personal brand. Subconsciously, people will often follow an account if there’s a really obvious and specific thing you do or share – they know what to expect when you post, and this also makes it easier to engage with.
There are lots of little things you can do here to help out, for instance if you’re sharing photos then make sure you use the same edit for each one so they all feel like they’re part of the same feed, or if it’s stats and graphics based, then use the same font and colour themes so people know what they get when they follow you.
Don’t worry if your follower count is low, if your feed is genuine, it will gain traction, remember; operate in those areas until you are those areas.
5 – Be Kind
I can’t stress this enough in the world of social media, but be kind. From personal experience, I’ve had so many opportunities come my way because of how I interact online with others. The trick here is to be genuine, if you don’t like something don’t pretend you do, but if you really do love something then pick something specific out and say why you love it, or even incorporate it into your own work and say how another account inspired it.
Share smaller pages or call them out in story posts to show you appreciate what they’re doing, speak with other creators, and make friends – there’s everything to gain from this and very little to lose.
These tips have worked really well for me, and have made me see social media as an important place of inspiration for my work and general social life. I no longer tire of scrolling, in fact I scroll if I’m feeling stuck for ideas, or am just looking for a new way of thinking.
I’ll leave you with one last bonus tip : Making a new account is a great way to ‘restart’ on social media, enabling you to build an entirely new social media persona.