This is a guest post by Jamie Teasdale.
I wanted to do it in 2017. I even wrote about my disillusionment with social media and the luster wearing off back then, but couldn’t bring myself to pull the lever and leave. After all, social media has been part of my small business startup, strategy, growth, and marketing business since Propel’s beginning in 2009. How could I possibly get off the hamster wheel?
Then, in mid-2019, my favorite platform shut down my account without warning. No matter how many emails I sent the Instagram ‘powers that be’ during the eight weeks I was unable to access my account, no explanation was ever offered. It wasn’t until I sent a nasty gram threatening legal action that my account was back — within 24 hours. Hmmm.
During those eight weeks, however, I found a kind of freedom. Sure, at first, I felt displaced and sickened that all my diligent content work since 2012 was gone. But I slowly realized I had been given a gift. I no longer had the pressure of publishing content daily to keep my 10k+ followers interested or the platform algorithms churning.
When I was allowed back on the platform, I chose to post less frequently and only when I had something good to say. Yes, I lost followers and engagement. But guess what? I learned how to not care. Publishing good content had become my priority, not pleasing people or “feeding the algorithm beast.”
Despite this, I still felt pressured. A year later I finally said it out loud to a few associates: “I want off social by the end of 2020.” It’s amazing what happens when you use your words to create change.
After reading Instagram’s new terms and conditions released in late 2020, I knew it was time for me to leave. Within 24 hours, I published one final post on Propel’s Instagram account, removed all social apps from my phone, and officially began strategizing my new social approach.
This year, everything I would have published on Zuckerberg’s sites has instead been published on Propel’s blog. Here’s what that has meant for me and for Propel…
My Content Is in My Hands
Never again will I worry that my intellectual property (my thoughts, ideas, copy, and images) might be held hostage or may not be returned to me. And when Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other platform experiences an outage or shuts down a profile, Propel’s site (and content) lives on.
My Creativity Has Ignited
I can say, share, do and post what I want, how I want, as much as I want. The content I’m publishing benefits my own site, SEO, and traffic, and doesn’t line some billionaire’s pockets. This has released my inhibitions and allowed the content I create to have more depth, which makes it more meaningful and valuable for my readers.
Time Is Saved and Well Spent
Because social apps are no longer on my phone, scrolling on social platforms has stopped, and that saved time is pure gold. As a Maximizer (hello StrengthsFinder) and a small business owner, being efficient with my time is vital to me.
With a weekly “social” blog now in play, I spend focused time getting quality content written, optimized, and published for each week. There’s no longer a daily scramble to find a photo, think of a caption, and publish just to publish. I now have the freedom and ability to focus on what is really important each day.
Posting Weekly Has Been an Excellent Discipline
Over the years I’ve heard about and followed many creatives, entrepreneurs, and self-motivated individuals who have challenged themselves to finish a month or year of daily writing, painting, crafting, or some other interesting activity.
Now, as I’ve joined their ranks of disciplined action, I can truly say publishing content weekly has been good for my creativity and my mind and benefits me and my audiences in a truly authentic way.
My Audience Has Thanked Me
It’s been incredibly encouraging to hear from those on Propel’s email lists who have also wanted off the social merry-go-round. They’ve come out of the woodwork and have, in turn, been encouraged that they can decide to focus their effort on content locations that empower them and their audience.
With so many people having come forward in gratitude for sharing my story and giving them the ‘permission slips’ they’ve been looking for, I’ve come to realize being a leader sometimes looks different than we think.
I was nervous about what people would say or think if I stepped out of the ‘box’ they assume I should be in. But by taking the leap that was right for me, I unwittingly gave others permission and freedom to follow their truth, too.
It took me years to jump. But when I finally did, people were eager and ready to follow the lead. They were just waiting for someone to show the way.
Business Has Followed
Yes, the content we are now publishing weekly is growing our online footprint through SEO. But it has also caught the attention of many who had been dormant on our lists. Contacts and past clients have been circling back, asking for help, seeking new strategies, and re-engaging with Propel in new ways.
Ultimately, this journey has not been easy, but as I’ve taken each step, the next step has been revealed and reinforced, making it a path worth following.
Shifting strategies is a personal journey everyone must take at their own unique right moment in time. It might be a slow transition or swift and sudden, but it is often realized when pain exceeds comfort.
Propel’s decision to jump off social media and take control of our content was fueled by determination to remove myself from inauthentic, fickle, and privacy-snatching systems. This was my personal pain-exceeds-comfort moment.
So, my question to you: What pain points are you experiencing? How can you shift to take control and improve your situation, business, or life? How can you harness your creativity and become a leader in your circle?
Jamie Teasdale is the founder of Propel Businessworks, a small business startup and growth strategy company helping entrepreneurs execute their brands, online presence, and communications effectively. You can find their social strategy at propelbizworkssocial.com
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