I shared this post yesterday. I had to keep that post within the Instagram post word limit so I could dual post it. And it shit me. Fuck I hate word limits. I really do. HOW DARE YOU TRY AND CONSTRAIN MY MAGNIFICENT WILDEBEEST WAYS. I have things to say! I have random tangents to go on! I have MOAR THOUGHTS, MOTHERFUCKERRRRS.
So I’m going to turn this into an extended version. Include ALL my thoughts. And then I will feel complete.
Want to listen to this as a podcast?
So: as I’ve alluded to, I’ve now formally left social media for my business. I’ve already shuttered my personal profile
In this post, I’ll be sharing with you why I’m doing it, if I’ll be going back, and the best way for you to keep hearing from me.
Why I’m leaving
Six weeks ago, I decided to embark on a series of 21 day challenges. The first one I chose to do was to go without social media for 21 days. I’d long been feeling ambivalent, conflicted and cranky about social media.
I feel like I’ve been trying to talk myself into getting tech sober for YEARS.
- I created the above image/post in 2015. It was the most popular image I shared that year. (Note: it originally lived on social media, I got my assistant to turn it into a backdated blog post instead. Fuck social media really can steal the good content. We need our content and creations to live on our own assets!)
- My internet addiction illustrated zine from 2016.
- I took a six month hiatus in 2017. It was only supposed to go for a month, but it felt so good I continued.
- My viral blog post from 2019 about why businesses are quitting social media.
I’ll be honest though: I felt extremely nervous about doing the challenge. I genuinely didn’t feel like I was able to cope without it, for some strange reason. I realise now that was the addiction talking.
Here’s what I found from feeling the fear + doing it anyway:
My life is SO much better without social media. I am happier. More content. More creative. Wildly inspired. More present. I have so much time back – time that can be spent doing things I truly love doing. I have literally felt my brain healing over the last six weeks.
My heart, my soul, my art: all of it glistens with life again. I thought this beautiful life of mine, my quiet mind before the internet began – that it was gone, disappeared without a trace. But it wasn’t. It was right there, waiting for me. I just had to give up social media to see it again.
So first and foremost: I am doing this for my one wild and precious life.
I am doing this because I believe that what is good for my creativity is what is best for my business. I am doing this because I am a better creative, wife, mother and friend without social media.
I am doing this because I now know that multiple studies on social media have concluded it has negative effects on:
- self-identity and self-image
- sleep problems
- our children’s mental health
- public health through the rise of conspiracy theories
(Further reading and statistics: How To Break Up With Your Phone by Catherine Price and Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Now)
I believe it would be out of integrity for me to market using social media now I know how damaging it is to people’s brains and spirits. (Do I think it is unethical for YOU to market using social media? Definitely not. I’ll talk more about that in a sec!)
I am doing this because my best work has never been on social media. My best work has always, always, always been in blogging, writing books & creating programs. Since December I have been regularly blogging again and it’s like falling in love again with my first love. This is where I belong. This is where I can create + serve + help people. I don’t give a fuck if people say blogging is dead. There’s still a ripe world of bloggers out there.
And you know what blogging really is? It’s social media that’s… OWNED BY YOU + CAN’T BE TAKEN AWAY FROM YOU! It’s your creative playground that you are completely in charge of… not at the whims of a beast that legit wants to suck all your life + money out of you. Social media isn’t here to truly serve our needs. It has its own intentions, and they don’t align with you having a spacious, glorious life.
Leonie + blogging = miracles and unicorns! Weeee! Watch me fly!
Leonie + social media = sadness and disappointment. Watch me… waste my precious life hours on this bullshit.
Let’s look at the stats:
I had a look at traffic sources for the last year, and only 20% came from social media. Which is crazy considering how social media takes up MUCH MORE than 20% of my brain power + time (and that of my VA). We estimated we were spending 80% of our marketing activity on social media.
Clearly, that’s a FUCKED equation, and absolutely not worth it.
The intriguing question to me is:
What could I do instead of endlessly creating more content for less traction on social media? What could I create outside of that environment?
These two quotes from Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport:
“It’s easy to be seduced by the small amounts of profit offered by the latest app or service, but then forget its cost in terms of the most important resource we possess: the minutes of our life.”
“How much of your time and attention, he would ask, must be sacrificed to earn the small profit of occasional connections and new ideas that is earned by cultivating a significant presence on Twitter? Assume, for example, that your Twitter habit effectively consumes ten hours per week. Thoreau would note that this cost is almost certainly way too high for the limited benefits it returns. If you value new connections and exposure to interesting ideas, he might argue, why not adopt a habit of attending an interesting talk or event every month, and forcing yourself to chat with at least three people while there? This would produce similar types of value but consume only a few hours of your life per month, leaving you with an extra thirty-seven hours to dedicate to other meaningful pursuits.”
Will I ever go back?
I doubt it. Life (and business) are just so much better without them.
Of course, if in 3 months or 12 months time I’ve discovered I’ve made an awful mistake, I’ll happily admit it and come crawling back and tell you I was wrong. But I don’t think I am. And I truly don’t think I will.
We’ve currently got some Facebook groups – we’re still testing and considering other options. I’m not sure what the answer is to that though. I’ll let you know once it’s all confirmed and decided.
Do I recommend this as what all businesses should do?
What I recommend you do is:
- Review your traffic sources & see where your traffic & sales comes from. You can more accurately decide what risk you can take on from there.
- Do what I have ALWAYS suggested you do: have a strong plan to get people off your social media & onto your mailing list.
- Build external traffic so you can wean yourself off it.
- Decide on a social media traffic % you are comfortable shutting off from.
You might decide, like I did, to trial and experiment and find a better social media marketing fit for your business.
- Batch create content and schedule it using a social media scheduler app
- Have strong boundaries around only accessing your social media 1-2 times a day to answer messages instead of spending all fucking day on there
- Regularly have no-social media days throughout the week
- Start investing more and more time into non-social media marketing activities
- Decide to take a week to a month off of social media and test the results. See what happens. See how it feels and what the results are.
I recognise I am privileged: I have already spent over a decade intentionally and consistently building my mailing list outside of social media. I have a strong savings buffer, so if my experiment goes tits up, I have the time to be able to pivot and fix without much stress.
A wee rant about social media marketing
Building your business on social media is inherently risky. You are building your kingdom on earthquake ridden sand that does not belong to you. Your followers can be taken from you in an instant. You do not get to take them with you, or control how many you can contact. Increasingly, you need to pay more and more and spend more and more time for the privilege of having your fans and clients hear from you.
Remember that businesses have been growing for thousands and thousands of years. Social media has only been around for a decade. So many businesses are still wildly successful without social media. And even when you are doing social media marketing – it can be very difficult to quantify exactly how many sales it gives you.
And remember: social media is just ONE of THOUSANDS of marketing methods. It’s kinda bonkerdoodles that no other marketing methods that are considered mandatory, but we’ve started to think that social media is.
The best way to hear from me
So with all that said… I don’t want this to be goodbye forever, between you and me.
I treasure your friendship and would love to keep supporting you with loads of free goodies, and continue sharing my life with you.
The best way to do that is through my emails.
I send two kinds of emails:
- Daily-ish emails with everything I create (this is a new thing I offer – there’s about 1000 peeps who get these)
- Weekly-ish emails with the best of what I create (I’ve been sending these for over 13 years to about 50,000 people)
I make sure they are the funnest, most inspiring part of your inbox… the email you can’t WAIT to read. They are all about creativity, business, marketing, parenting, books and soul.
Thank you for being who you are.
Thank you for being on this brave and magnificent Earth.
I’m so glad we are walking this rare and wild path together.
All my love,
P.S. Yes, I will share what I learn about marketing businesses without social media as I go! Make sure you’re on the mailing list!