The rise of social media in the last decade comes with many benefits: It’s never been easier for us to keep in touch with family and friends, stay connected with co-workers or be more accessible to clients and customers. We can contact someone instantly through our phones, tablets and laptops, and we no longer have to wait until the 6pm news to find out what’s going on in the world.
Most companies have some sort of presence online to communicate who they are – their brand, mission, values, services or products. Having a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or TikTok can add authority, credibility and trust; that what and who they say they are is genuine and real.
But for those who not only have their own personal social media platforms but manage the accounts of various brands as part of their job – hands up those who work in the fields of marketing, PR, advertising, digital and social? – the line between personal and professional, real life and illusory can get a little blurred.
So here are our top tips to help you set some boundaries when it comes to social media, so you can enjoy a healthy relationship with it:
Set time limits or app limits
Whether it’s your own personal accounts or the brands you’re managing, set a time limit on how long you’ll be using those social platforms. Perhaps it’s 15 minutes before and after work to check your own Facebook and Instagram or a set period of time to check community engagement, respond to comments and create and schedule content for clients. See what works best for you, and then try to stick with it to minimise distraction and avoid getting sucked into the vortex of viewing one account that leads you down a rabbit hole of multiple!
Handy tip: You can put time limits on your most used apps – for example, if you’ve got an iPhone, you can find these settings here:
Settings > Screen Time > “Down Time” and “App Limits”
Screen free or social media free evenings
If you have a job where most of your day is spent on social media, try and do ‘screen free’ evenings, instead of aimlessly jumping in and out of apps and mindlessly scrolling through social media feeds. Now is a good time to pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read or start an activity you’ve always wanted to do. The added benefit? Minimising screen time before bed helps you fall asleep quicker and enjoy a better night’s rest!
Unfollow people you don’t know/don’t add value
How many times have you followed an account, then realised it’s having a negative impact on your mental health? You know the accounts we’re talking about – the ones that make you feel insecure, inadequate or even a little jealous? Sometimes we all need a little reminder that for a lot of people, their Instagram account serves as their ‘highlights reel’ – showcasing what they want the world to see, as opposed to how things really are.
The good news is, you can simply ‘unfollow’ any accounts that make you feel down on yourself – you have the power to control what external forces influence you. But if you don’t want to unfollow for whatever reason, many platforms allow you to ‘mute’ accounts too, which means you don’t have to see their posts or stories coming up on your feed.
Turn your phone on silent or ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode
If you need to be focused on work, or if you just want to minimise being disturbed before bed, there’s a few things you can do to stop those ‘dings’ coming through. Most apps allow you to turn off notifications so you’re not alerted to every message that comes through. Even just turning your phone to silent mode or ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode can reduce the feeling of always being available and contactable, allowing you to just be in the moment. Because we all need a little quiet ‘me time’ every now and then! Even just placing your phone screen down or putting it in another room makes all the difference.