Print by Gayana Danilova

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I love chocolate, but sometimes I forget that I need to limit myself. Sometimes it seems like the more chocolate I eat, the more I want!

Dark chocolate with Caramel and Sea-salt, Nutella and Bananas, Thin Mint Girlscout Cookies, Chocolate Truffles, Chocolate Caramel Turtles…is your mouth watering yet?

But after indulging in all of that rich, mouthwatering deliciousness, I usually feel horrible and wonder exactly why I did that to myself.

Social media can actually have a similar effect. It can up our natural endorphines, do wonders for our business, and according to a recent study, boost our moods by giving us connections to our friends and new people that are valuable to our mental health and self-esteem.

But be warned: Just like chocolate, social media, when over-indulged in, can actually squash our joy.

I noticed recently that my cravings for social media actually border on addiction. I would click, click, click until my eyes were ready to pop out of my head and then wonder where all my time went. And the high I would get from receiving a new like or a new comment or a new tweet was like “computer crack,” just feeding the frenzy to click, click, click some more! An hour would whiz by in an instant, and I would wonder what happened to the time. I realized that this addictive behavior pattern, despite being a socially acceptable one, just wasn’t good for me.

And anything that isn’t good for me isn’t good for my business.

So here are a few things I have implemented to turn my addiction around and put social media back in its rightful, healthy place.

  • I make my time on Twitter, Facebook, etc. meaningful. I find that the joyful and powerful part of social media is in the connections I make with other people. I’ve learned that it really is about quality rather than quantity. I try to use my tweets to connect with other people that inspire me. I tell them thanks. I ask them questions. I give them feedback. I share their posts and tweets. It wasn’t always like that. At first I didn’t understand how to reach out to other people through social media, and I was posting away, just trying to promote my work. But as soon as I switched gears and started focusing on relationships, the value I received from social media grew ten-fold!
  • I schedule time in my day for social media and am strict about it. I use Hootsuite to do this. At the beginning of the week (sometimes each day), I take 15 minutes or so to schedule in tweets that will be posted throughout the day. That way I’m not getting sucked into the fanciful world of who’s saying what, when I really just meant to send out a note about my latest and greatest. However, since I do want to make connections, I also schedule in times during the day to share with and respond to other people.
  • I enable Autopost. I don’t want to waste time posting the same thing over and over again, and I suspect you don’t either. There are several great programs and plug-ins out there that will automatically post your blog posts straight to your social media without you needing to lift a finger. If you are using Hootsuite, you can enable RSS through the dashboard. Networked Blogs is another tool that will post your blog updates directly to Facebook. In Facebook, you can enable all of your Facebook posts to autopost to Twitter.

Of course, I am only human, and occasionally, when I am feeling particularly uninspired, I lose myself online to build up some inspiration for my day. But then I get to practice forgiving myself for slipping up, and doggone it, how can you argue with practicing FORGIVENESS! 😉