If you want to organize and declutter your social media presence, you have to be willing to do a few things first. One, acknowledge that you feel overwhelmed by social media. Two, take the steps to pare down your social media life. Three, ensure that you stay in that space of comfortable decluttering, without FOMO (fear of missing out).
A month ago, I was completely taken up by the book, ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up’ by Marie Kondo. So much, in fact, that I wrote a review of it on my blog, which I rarely do these days. Reading it also gave me the idea of digital clutter and how to manage it.
In fact, my friend Rachna went one step further and not only read the book but immediately put the principles into practice by decluttering both clothes and books. Go check that out. 🙂
In today’s post, which is the first post in my series, ‘How to Declutter your Digital Presence’, we will focus on organizing your social media channels and how to declutter them effectively.
At the end of this post and if you put the principles into practice, I’d love for you to come back in a month and comment on how this has changed your approach to social media. Deal? 🙂
Let’s begin by asking a few important questions regarding social media.
A) Why are you on social media?
B) What channels are you active on?
C) How much time do you spend on each channel per day?
D) Where can you optimize your time spent on each channel?
E) Declutter your Social Media Presence. Are you ready?
A) Why are you on social media?
This is the most important step of all, before you begin the decluttering exercise. Think about this carefully, for a whole 10 minutes and write it down in a diary.
When you answer the question, think deeply about why you need to be on social media.
Is it for work? Do you want to keep in touch with friends? Do you want to promote your brand/blog/product? Do you want to drive awareness towards a campaign? Would you like to connect with your audience? Do you want to relax and kick back after a long day at work? Do you want to share your opinion on the burning topic of the day?
Remember, there are no wrong answers. Just answer the questions honestly. 🙂
Now, once you’ve written down the answers (and you may tick more than one of the above options), it’s time to move on to the next question.
B) What social media channels are you active on?
Now that you have your ‘Why’ answered, it’s important to tackle the ‘What’.
How many social media channels do you use regularly? Tick all that apply.
- Pinterest *
*Not a social media channel, but we’re going to classify it as one, for purposes of decluttering later in this post.
Have you made the list? Okay, great. Now, it’s important that we only focus on those channels that are actually helping us with our ‘Why’, defined in point 1 above.
For purposes of this post, I am going to assume that many of you reading this are using social media as a way to connect with your audience. If that’s the case, the way to know which channel is important is to learn where your audience is active.
Here are 10 Ways to identify where your
target audience is on social media.
Every channel has a specific purpose, demographic and strategy that you need to adopt, to make it work for you. It’s also important to realise that you don’t need to be on every social media network, to grow your blog or business.
While asking about purpose, think about two things:
i) Will this network drive traffic to my blog?
ii) Will this network help with engagement?
For instance, if your target group of readers is young moms struggling for me-time, looking for ways to incorporate fitness into their daily routine, your best bet would be Pinterest for traffic and Facebook groups/ Instagram for motivation and engagement.
But if your target group is young entrepreneurs looking to make money and be more productive, you need to be posting content on Pinterest and Twitter for traffic and Linkedin for engagement and community-building.
Now that you know your ‘why’ and have identified your audience, pick any two channels from the list above.
One channel must be for traffic and the other must be for building engagement. (I always recommend Pinterest for traffic, especially for new bloggers).
Focus on both these channels for a 90-day period. That means you don’t even have to worry about the other channels for the time being.
All clear so far? Then, we move on to the next question.
C) How much time are you spending on social media daily?
This is where most of us tend to fumble, because we always use social media in a reflex manner, instead of a strategic one. Think about it. How many times have you scrolled through your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feeds because you were bored?
Hey, no judgement. We’ve all been there and done that. 😉
But we do need to keep track of how much time we’re spending online, if we want to make amends to our digital presence. Once we know how much time we spend on a channel, we can take the steps to consciously cut down on it in small doses.
For that, I recommend one of two methods:
i) Track the number of times you log into any channel and when you exit the platform. Calculate the minutes spent on each session. Note it down in a diary/ note-taking app.
ii) Use an app that will help with focused, distraction-free social media work. For Facebook, I use the ‘Kill Feed’ Chrome extension. This completely eliminates my home feed. On the phone, you can use any of these apps to stay focused and keep track of how much time you are spending online. My personal favourite is ‘StayFree’.
*This will take time to process and implement, so I’d like you to track your time every single day for a whole week.
D) Where can you optimise time?
Since we’ve figured out where we tend to spend more time, the next thing to figure out is if we can actually optimise the time we spend online.
For this to work, there are three things you need to do.
i) Automate/Schedule content when your audience is most likely to be online.
Automating content is one thing that has freed up so much time for me online. Over time, I know where my audience is most active and which platform is likely to drive more traffic. Both Twitter and Pinterest send traffic my way, so I use Buffer to schedule my tweets out and Tailwind (Affiliate link) to schedule my pins out.
ii) Engage at set times of the day with your audience.
Social media is built to be social, so it makes sense to actually engage with your audience. But you can’t be on social media all day, right?
What I do is have set times of the day when I tend to log in to Instagram and Facebook (where my audience is the most interactive and engaged) and respond to comments, reply to direct messages, check tags and so on. On a day, this should not take me any more than 30 minutes.
Ideally, keep the engagement for the latter part of the day when you’re done with the work-related tasks on your to-do list.
iii) Be mindful of the time you spend online.
I can’t emphasise this enough. 90% of the time spent on social media is unintentional. We pick up our phones instinctively, scroll through updates without thinking and while away precious moments of the day.
Instead, every single time you need to log in to any network, ask yourself a single question: Do I need to do this now or can it wait?
A mindful and productive approach to social media works wonders.
E) Decluttering Tips for Social Media Channels
If you’ve done all of the above, it is now finally time to declutter your social media channels.
i) Focus on one channel for a 90-day period.
This is very important. The only way you can leverage any network is if you take the time to learn all about it over an extended period of time. For that, I recommend focusing all your energies on one social media channel for 90 days.
In this time, schedule and automate content on the other channels.
ii) Unfollow/ Mute accounts on social media
The problem with social media is there’s too much of it. We follow too many people and too many ideas all the time. It’s as if the information faucet is never turned off!
Spend 15 minutes a day, evaluating your social media channel such as Instagram. Look at the people you are following. Are they providing value to you and your business? If not, choose to either stop following them or mute their updates for a while.
iii) Follow targeted people in your niche/ Engage with them
This really helps if you are aiming to build a deep relationship with your audience. Ensure that you only follow those accounts that you truly want to follow.
Engage with your followers and figure out what it is about your content that resonates with them.
iv) Post consistently but not too frequently
Many of us tend to go overboard with our updates. While every social media channel is great for engagement, you will have no time to engage with people if you are constantly posting updates.
Tone down the number of updates and focus instead on listening to the conversation on your posts. For instance, post once a day on Instagram instead of 5 times a day. This will allow you more time to engage meaningfully with the people who follow you, as well as those you follow.
v) Remove social media apps from your phone
With the exception of Instagram, you can access your other apps through the laptop. Doing this will cut down your tendency to scroll mindlessly on the phone.
Really need to check an update urgently? Use the mobile browser on your phone to log in to your social media network.
*Update July, 2020: I’ve removed and stopped using the Instagram app as well. While I can’t use the Stories, IGTV and the Instagram Live feature, my engagement levels have not dropped. I can still post to the grid via Buffer on the laptop. Productivity levels have soared, so win-win! 🙂
vi) Take scheduled time off social media each week
If you work in social media, it can be tempting to stay always connected. But just like you need down time after a long day at work, you need down time from social media too.
Use one day a week to take time off from your social networks. Use this time to pursue other things, such as that course you should complete or that book you must finish reading.
I do hope these tips come in handy. Try them out and let me know which of these you’re doing already and which of these you’re likely to start implementing as soon as possible. 🙂
I’m a blog & content coach with over 13 years of writing, blogging and social media experience.
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