Is it time for a social media diet?


Weight loss resolutions are common at this time of year. A diet is frequently a tool used to achieve this goal.

I’d like to suggest you consider a different kind of diet: a social media diet.

Social media is all about quality. All too often though it becomes about quantity. When quantity overtakes quality, it’s time for a social media diet.

Here’s three different social media diets to consider.

Use fewer social media

Do you or your organization need as many social media as you have? Are you on too many social media? Do you use them all effectively?

Sure some like Pinterest or Youtube still offer benefits without requiring an investment of a whole lot of time or energy. But your inactivity on some social media is noticeable and affects your credible use of it.

Remember there’s a difference between having an account and using it. If you are not using all of your social media enough to be present in that online community, it’s better to stop pretending that you have a Facebook page, a Twitter account or another social media.

Maybe then your resolution might be to invest the time and energy required to be considered as “using” that social media (or as I like to say “present” in that online space.) If so, a tool like a social media calendar can help you. But you’ll still need the strength of commitment required to turn a resolution into a habit.

What may be more realistic is to shed one or more social media that you are not using effectively–even if you know that it could potentially be extremely beneficial. It’s better to use whatever social media you can commit to effectively than to have too many and not use them all well enough to be effective.

That might mean deleting the account entirely. Or you might formally (if possible) or informally make an account dormant. I could argue either way. It’d mainly depend upon the chances of that social media being reactivated and the value of the content on it.

If you prefer to make an account dormant, follow through by making other changes such as removing your Twitter feed from your website or taking the Facebook logo off of your print materials. Otherwise, you are setting folks up for disappointment or risking having your material be considered stale or dated.

Reduce your connections. Unfollow people.

Another social media diet focuses on reducing the number of people you are connected to or accounts that you follow.

This kind of diet may more frequently apply to your personal use of social media but it may also apply to your professional use or how your organization uses social media.

Do you really need to follow 3,500 people on Twitter? Do you really want to share your Facebook posts with 1,100 “friends?” Do you want to manage your Facebook relationships and classify some as acquaintances, etc?

Take some time to review your connections and/or who you are following. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • How do I know that LinkedIn connection? If you’re not sure, you may want to remove the connection–especially if you wouldn’t send that person a message that requires a sense of relationship exists.
  • Are they sharing content that that has value to me? Maybe that Instagram account that you found interesting when it featured nature photos isn’t your thing with it’s new focus on fountains. Go ahead and unfollow it.
  • Is there a topic or theme that you’d prefer to avoid? Even temporarily? Go ahead. Make the decision you’d make today or that is in your best interests.
  • Has your focus or reason for using a social media changed? Make the decision that reflects what your objective.

In terms of personal use, be sure to make the decision that is in your best interests and is the best use of your time and resources. Sure you risk bruising an ego or putting someone’s nose out of joint. People can and will read into your actions on social media just as they do in other aspects of life. You can’t control whether that happens nor if their ideas have any basis in fact.

Chances are they won’t even notice anyway. If they do, they will (or should) move on with stronger relationships and/or seeking new opportunities.

A lot of this advice is related to personal use. Nonprofit organizations in many cases are trying to build a critical mass of followers and seeking to engage them. But even then, quality is more important than quantity. Does it make sense for a pool company in San Antonio to be following a charity serving youth in Halifax?

But even nonprofits can go on this type of social media diet too. Maybe you initially followed everyone who followed you? Or maybe the people in charge of the account made different decisions than you’d make. If you have enough experience to gauge if a relationship exists and how strong it is, go ahead and make those changes too.

Spend less time on social media

This diet may sound almost sacrilegious if you live and breathe social media. But take a moment to consider f your social media is getting in the way of other aspects of your life that are–or should be–more important to you.

It could also mean making sure you have the right balance in the use of your social media. For example, is your personal social media is getting in the way of your professional use of social media? Is your comfort with Facebook stopping you from spending time better used on LinkedIn?

Correcting an imbalance can make a difference in how your life and your career roll out. For an organization, it could mean ensuring you are focusing on what can make the biggest impact to delivering your mission and striving for your vision.

The bottom line

Take control of your social media. Don’t let your social media control you.

In 2015, put yourself in the social media driver’s seat.