I can’t be the only one to have spotted all the headlines earlier this year – one of the top 10 new years’ resolutions around the globe is about quitting social media.
Positive effects of social media
Yet, ironically over the Christmas break I discovered the positive effects of social media, and how to enjoy the user experience once again!
As someone who works all day in front of a computer screen, and further, with a focus on digital content, I have experienced major bouts of social media burnout.
Not ideal for someone who works in my industry and actually, used to really enjoy social media marketing and strategy for business and branding purposes.
According to a survey by Bidvine, this year more people plan to quit social media than smoking.
Bit extreme, but I can understand why – there’s the compulsive (and often anti-social) behaviour around checking Facebook, Instagram and Twitter; pointless posts, blurry pictures, and useless information being shared. Not to mention the psychological impact that many prestigious universities are studying regarding the link between overuse of social media and an increase in depression and anxiety.
After all that, why should we even seek the positive effects of social media and try to enjoy it anymore?
Social media: the positives
Well, for one thing I’d advocate social media is an excellent way to stay connected, particularly for the millions of us who travel, live or commute for jobs and lives away from family and friends.
It’s also essential for business marketing, and of course for the ever rising freelancer economy that’s had the chance to thrive thanks to technology that allows us to work anywhere.
In fact, it’s estimated that by 2020, 50 per cent of the United States’ workforce will be freelancers (Forbes, 2016), and social media provides a free, convenient and clever channel for self-promotion (which equals work contracts and income!).
I started to enjoy social media again last year, inspired by pretty locations I visited including Kent (UK) and Malta, but taking stock over the Christmas break in Ibiza was what really got me back on track.
If you’re over it all but know you need to re-discover the essential elements of how to enjoy social media again (for work, self-promotion or business), here’s what I have learnt.
The positives of social media: 5 ways to enjoy social media again
Don’t get caught up in broadcasting
While I love the fact we can schedule Facebook posts and Buffer Tweets, stories to LinkedIn and now even images to Instagram, it’s easy to let the robot do all the work.
In other words, I was sending a lot of content out in an automated manner (broadcasting), but by the time it surfaced to social media I didn’t really care (mostly because I forgot it would appear!).
Sure, it helped us score some blog click-throughs on content and automation is definitely helpful for the busy business-person, but I was forgetting to actually spend time on the social media channel I was sharing to.
Now I’m back to being interested in only the channels and topics that light me up (such as travel, dogs, technology and lifestyle magazine type features).
After all, if I’m not engaged, why should I expect my audience to be, and how am I going to get any fun out of the experience?
Lesson: refine the content you are sharing and browsing, to that which really interests you.
Schedule time for social media
Find out what times work for your audience engagement, and set up a routine that fits with your lifestyle without cutting into it.
For me, I post to Instagram first thing in the morning (while I’m at the gym on an exercise bike!), I glance at Twitter on the commute to work on the bus (and I tweet or retweet at this time); I post to LinkedIn in the evening and engage on there for five minutes before dinner, and I spend ten minutes scheduling Facebook page updates and also replying to comments or messages that have come through during the day.
Yes, I still Buffer (schedule) content, but I’m doing so more mindfully, and I’m enjoying being present on these platforms again rather than losing the momentum that can come with everything being automated.
I’m limiting the time that I am spending on each social media channel, and I have a routine for engaging – rather than compulsively checking or posting instead of talking to my friends or partner over a meal.
Lesson: schedule social media into your day, as you would organise other tasks. Also, don’t take it too seriously – we’re back to trying to having fun with it, remember?
Re-purpose your content
Certainly, it’s easy to be inspired to enjoy social media in a place like Ibiza – a beautiful, sunny Spanish island!
But how to keep that up when back at work and it’s raining outside? Surface your lovely older content! This might be in the form of photos, blogs, stories you’ve written, top tips, how-to instructions…
We’ve got so much content from ‘before’ we became more active on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram; it’s just a matter of having a little dig though your own archives and planning creative ways to share it.
I find a nice way to do this is to theme your days on social media – e.g. Monday could be ‘Monday motivation’; Tuesday for us is #ttot (‘travel talk on Tuesday’ or ‘travel Tuesday’); Wednesday is often inspiration or wisdom themed, and we like #tbt (throwback Thursday) as a way of sharing past adventures; Friday is also often ‘fun’ themed or a bit more light-hearted coming into the weekend.
Sort your older material into themes that work for your niche/brand and purpose (whether that be business or personal branding) and then you have it on hand ready to share without too much thought on any given day.
Lesson: this method means you’re never short of content or ideas for things to share on social media.
Get involved in the community
Joining groups, adding comments or starting conversations online can be time-consuming, but if you choose your spaces wisely, you can effectively grow your audience and engagement online as well as potentially discover business contacts and even make friends.
LinkedIn is a particularly important space to engage, and there are countless groups you can join to virtually network with industry colleagues from all over the world.
This is also a chance to demonstrate your area of expertise by participating in conversations relevant to your niche.
There are groups you can join on Facebook, Instagram and Google+ too, that enable you to ‘network’, share content and support like-minded people. For example, I’m a member of various bloggers’ groups and professional networks for content and communications professionals.
It can be fun sharing knowledge and getting to know others, albeit in the virtual realm.
Lesson: it’s called social media for a reason – it’s more fun if you are ‘social’.
Choose your favourites
As in life, we eventually learn to not spread ourselves too thin.
It’s very tempting to try to be on all platforms and there was a time I was trying to be active on up to ten spaces! It’s impossible and in the end doesn’t work for you – unless you have a team, you’ll be spread too thin both in time and content.
My advice is choose three or four that complement each other, so Cooper and I now focus on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; Cooper mostly manages our YouTube channel while I enjoy engaging on LinkedIn.
Certainly, browse the others out of interest if and when you have time, but as far as effectively growing your channels and having fun on social media again, stick with a manageable number of offerings.
Lesson: spend your time on the channels that you like the best, and learn how to make the most of their offerings.
What do you make of all this – have you conquered the social media vs time available in life beast? Please do share thoughts, tips, experience and your suggestions in the comments.
While I’m more a woman of the written word, during the summer break Cooper really started to explore the visual world of videography and encouraged me to create a YouTube account to showcase our newer content.
Inspired by the Casey Neistat-esque vloggers of the world, I’ll admit that Cooper’s actually gotten pretty good at setting up creative shots and editing stories together. He’s simply gone about teaching himself, which is how I’d encourage anyone to better understand digital content production (e.g. social media, blogging, vlogging). He’s the first to acknowledge that we need to improve our editing software and invest in new technology (no Cooper, we’re not buying a drone!); but despite every day offering a new learning, I’m actually really impressed by what he’s come up with, particularly as the resources he’s had available are very average by professional industry standards.
Here’s a sample:
We’ve all heard it before: content is king and video reigns supreme.
This is for several reasons, the top ones being that video is engaging, plus it is easy to digest in a world overflowing with more hours of content than we have available in several lifetimes. Whether you are producing or simply consuming video, there are excellent reasons why you should create a YouTube account to enhance your own experience and enjoyment.
With Cooper exploring the world of vlogging and professional YouTubers, I’ve become more interested in the merits of the medium and have been thinking about why it’s a worthwhile idea to create a YouTube account for personal use.
Here’s some ideas based on my own experiences that might be worth considering if you’re not already signed-in to the service:
Enhance your own user experience: 6 reasons why you should create a YouTube account
Enjoy a more personalised experience
I’ve been using YouTube as a signed-in member for a few years. Yes, this has been linked to the fact that I use Google Chrome and I’m also logged-in to Google+.
Essentially this just means that I’m a registered user, and I can see my name and profile picture up the top of the screen.
YouTube remembers what I watch and what I’m subscribed to, and helpfully suggests similar content. I’m a huge fan of Hayhouse authors like Gabby Bernstein and Doreen Virtue, and because I watch so much of their content, YouTube recognises this and shares other ideas with me. I’ve discovered plenty excellent vloggers, authors, musicians and content producers through these personalised suggestions. This would not happen if I did not create a YouTube account to sign-in to.
Never miss awesome new content again
So you start using YouTube to view interesting content, which is great, but what happens if you do not create a YouTube account?
First off, you’ll have to search for those channels every time you visit the site to see what’s new, and second, you’ll miss new content created by your favourite channel producers.
If you create a YouTube account, you can opt in to receiving alerts about your favourite vloggers or channels that produce content that inspires you in life, whether it be about health, fashion, food, travel, beauty, news, sport or entertainment.
Learn new things
The best thing about YouTube is that it is free to use. If you’re a savvy viewer you can use YouTube to teach yourself absolutely anything, from how to set up a podcast to learning a language, taking yoga classes or developing an interest in knitting.
Similarly, if you’ve got knowledge to impart yourself, you could create a YouTube account to share your own wisdom and generate publicity for your business or service.
Get involved in communities
Like any other social media, you can use YouTube to get involved in communities with like-minded people.
Unfortunately I have to say that in my personal opinion I don’t find YouTube to be brimming with the kindest of digital consumers (head over to Instagram for a more supportive experience). However, that’s not to say that if you’re following content producers who inspire you that you can’t connect with other genuine fans or people with similar interests.
The same rules apply here as on other social media – if you like something, show your support by giving a thumbs up, leaving a positive comment, sharing the link or subscribing to the channel.
It’s called ‘social’ media for a reason, so be social – the more you put in, the more you’re likely to get out of the it.
Obviously though, you need to create a YouTube account to have this user experience.
Set up playlists
I go to the gym most mornings around 5am (true story!). It’s thanks to Cooper – he drags me there, pretty much. I’m not that motivated on my own. I’m particularly expert at hitting the snooze button on my phone, but I digress… It’s really early, as you can appreciate, and my brain isn’t in any shape to figure out what I need to watch or listen to in order to be properly motivated. This is where my playlists come in handy!
I often come across interviews I want to ‘watch later’ or music that I can work out to. I save it all to various playlists so I can easily access without any hassle or thought.
You can create content too
If you’re inspired – as Cooper has been – then you too can create a YouTube account to share your own wisdom, adventures, life or business tips. The world as we know it is only going to continue to grow in this direction. The upside of being so connected is that we can all contribute to the sharing of positive and useful messages (and drown out those that are not-so-helpful).
Once I would have simply accessed YouTube to play a video I’d sought out for one reason or another. I’ve realised that as an active signed-in user I can get much more out of it, making the service work for me and my own unique lifestyle needs.
If you’ve not already (and you’re not adverse to the internet knowing more about your likes or dislikes), find out more information on YouTube’s help pages.
Once you’re set up, maybe you’ll consider subscribing to our new channeltoo. In the future we’ll be sharing plenty of fun travel content, plus digital media tips and tricks. If this is something you’re interested in, then maybe we can inspire you.
In my opinion, TBEX never fails to deliver, and this year I thought the calibre of speakers was particularly high, sharing the best travel blog ideas and content tips of the year.
I have an Evernote-file overflowing with travel blog ideas, tips and tricks, and as part of my post-event review process, I’ve summarised the best take-aways below. I hope you find it helpful.
The best of travel blog ideas and content tips – take note:
Ian Cleary on influence
I’ve followed Ian’s work for a few years now (actually, had a nice chat with him back in 2012 at TBEX Dublin).
His content (via Razor Social) is super helpful and he’s renowned for sharing the best social tools of the trade and really great content.
In his keynote which opened TBEX Europe 2016, he told us that if there’s one thing to focus on (among the plethora of things we know we ‘should’ be doing), it is to build your influence online.
By this, he means for content creators to really think about the niche we’re working within, identify other influencers in that niche and interact with them on social media, blogs and even at conferences.
Follow them around (in a non-creepy way) and network.
Another tip he shared was to really make sure your ‘about’ page and subsequent pitches on ‘you’ include ‘evidence’ on your work in the form of things like testimonials, statistics, case studies or your ‘brand’s reputation’.
Matt Kepnes (aka Nomadic Matt) on improving e-marketing newsletters
Matt insists we should always be testing – test travel blog ideas as well as your headlines, content, copy ideas, promotional strategies. Whatever you can measure.
And he should know, as a super successful travel blogger and online entrepreneur.
No matter what type of newsletter distribution app or software you’re using (e.g. MailChimp, AWeber, ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign etc.) see if you can discover ways within their offerings to better optimise and target your audience.
Use ‘if-then’ statements to segment data, so that if for example, a reader clicks on a certain type of content you distribute (such as a review on a book about social media), they can be shifted to a user-group you might want to work with separately (for example, down the track if you release a book or e-book on similar subject matter, this group could potentially be more interested than others on your mailing list).
This is all particularly helpful as your offerings, content, products and services expand, and means you are likely to have more interested groups of readers to target different things to.
On subject lines, he reminded us these are very important and pretty much determine whether an email will be opened or not.
Try to make your subject lines personal in nature, offer help; keep it short but not too specific.
An example: ‘How to travel for free’ worked well for Matt; on the same content, ‘The ultimate guide to travel hacking’ did not.
On a side-note about the blogging world as a whole, he also mentioned that we shouldn’t be so tied up creating content that we forget to read and educate ourselves too.
The more we read: travel, business, marketing, history, personal development, and so on, the better we’ll become at everything! Makes sense, right?
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
The Power of Persuasion by Robert V. Levine
The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
Ask by Ryan Levesque
Spud Hilton on storytelling
In this inspiring address, one of the few truly experienced newspaper travel editors working in the world today, shared some brilliant tips on how to craft compelling content.
Spud Hilton reminded us that in order to enhance even our best ideas for a travel blog, we need to:
Write to a point – who is the audience and what message do you want them to take away? Work this out before drafting your copy or visual content.
Defy expectations – find things people aren’t doing somewhere or that wouldn’t be expected of a particular place. Be different. It’s also nice to share what’s great about a destination that others either overlook or perceive is a bit rubbish. We think a great example is Hastings in the UK – a place we had a lot of interest in because no-one in England cared about it but we sung the destination’s praises and shared why it is a cool place to go.
Move past ‘tourist vs traveller’, because everyone is a traveller, really. They just fall between being a discoverer (e.g. climbing a mountain, seeking a monk and spiritual enlightenment) and a leisure traveller, that is, taking a break and unapologetically sipping on cocktails by the beach.
And it’s important to report, not repeat content – find the story, don’t rehash what’s already been shared. He reminded us to look which way the pack is going, then head in the opposite direction, because that’s where the unique story will be.
Shawn Smith on using blab and Facebook Live (live-casting)
Shawn (The Mobile Pro) presented a really interesting workshop about his thoughts on live-casting services, with particular references to Blab and Facebook Live.
He maintains (and we keep hearing this) that this method of conversing with an audience will continue to grow, and inevitably boom. I really see the benefits of live-casting, although my only reservations are availability of Wifi and data when travelling. Personal mobile Wifi seems to be more accessible now though, which would alleviate these worries.
He shared a case study about how he managed to raise funds for much-needed stoves in a remote part of the world, because he had the chance to use this technology to show people first-hand how much of a difference their donation would really make.
Using live-casting technology you can:
Re-purpose content from your blog, but remember to talk about it, don’t just re-read it. Live-casting is about conversation, it’s not a presentation.
Chat about three to seven key points.
Talk to people by name – if they are commenting, chat back to them.
Be authentic and vulnerable – be yourself.
Invite calls to action (e.g. sign up to a mailing list).
Don’t be afraid to ask for comments and shares of your feed. Often people do not know to do this but will happily oblige.
If you plan a live-cast in advance, don’t forget to set up event invites (you could do this via Facebook) to remind friends to come online for a chat!
Why not have a go at it this week, but be mindful that Shawn advised you should try to broadcast for at least 15 minutes to gather an audience and have a ‘chat’ live across the world about your chosen topic. I suspect this is true, because I experimented with Periscope and Facebook Live (for the first time) while we were exploring the Vasa Museum in Stockholm and noticed the audience uptake was rather low within the five minutes I was playing around on both streams. Longer and I might have had the chance to have a proper conversation.
Shane Dallas on using Google+ to reach millions
My final workshop summery is from a very engaging Aussie traveller’s session. Shane Dallas (aka the Travel Camel) hosts The Road Less Travelled, one of the world’s biggest Twitter travel chats.
He spoke about how Google+ is far from ‘dead’ and that we should all be keeping an eye on its ‘collections‘ feature, and carefully curating our own meaningful collections while nurturing conversations about the subject matter within our chosen niche.
On social media, he insists more of us need to more mindful of what value our content is bringing to the party, how it makes us different (stand out) and its purpose.
He says we need to strive to be better at the three Cs:
Interestingly, Shane discussed using Google+ and the featured collections function in almost a micro-blogging capacity, rather than as a vehicle for driving traffic back to a website.
I can definitely see his point, particularly being that it is a truly different user-set that make the best of this social media platform.
He mentioned that Twitter, Instagram and Google+ are the social vehicles used by those who want to ‘network and learn’ (rather than those where you will mostly hang out with friends). I totally agree with this and have enjoyed these three services in this way.
I have also always found Google+ to offer a more beautiful interface for images, videos and interesting conversation, so I was glad to be reassured that it is embedding its place firmly in the world of micro-blogging, creative content and social media.
Do you have tips or questions? Let us know in the comments below.
The impact of social media on youth is highly debated in the media. Does social media expose your child to danger, what do you think?
Possibly, but I believe the risks can be reduced, as long as we’re prepared to be curious about how the younger gen consumes digital media, and understand how they are using social platforms so we can make sure they’re doing so safely and age-appropriately.
Impact of social media on youth
At the end of summer term, my school held a disco to celebrate year six students finishing primary school. To capture this momentous occasion, students were allowed to bring in smart phones/mobile devices (normally banned during school hours).
They embraced this freedom with vigorous enthusiasm. My colleagues and I watched in amazement as the serious selfie-obsession (video and photos) unfolded before our eyes. Sadly, some students preferred to play on their devices, engrossed in games (missing the significance of the event) and chatting with friends online, who were at the disco! We also witnessed some students vent frustration and anger at not being able to upload their images. They were missing out on ‘likes’, you see; the more ‘likes’ achieved, the more popular they perceive themselves to be. Not a totally healthy reflection of real life – thanks Kim K and co.!
Did you know?
The most frequent activity amongst children today is engaging in social media? Any site which allows your child to interact socially, such as Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, Snapchat, Twitter, Youtube and gaming portals are all classed as social media.
I’ll be honest, I love social media and technology. This digital revolution means we benefit from a fantastic flow of information, learning and open communication. But, ‘with great power, comes great responsibility,’ and this applies to adults (parents, teachers, carers) and children, who of course due to age, are more vulnerable to peer pressure and dangers of digital as they experiment in this space.
It’s no great secret that the digital age has a dark side, and there can be collateral damage associated with it. There are many dangers kids will encounter on their journey through adolescence, including as they navigate social media and its boundaries. Remember, this is NOT about your child being naive, immature, untrustworthy or naughty – kids are kids, and there’s only so much they can be expected to navigate safely on their own.
What are the dangers?
sharing or consumption of inappropriate photos and video
sharing too much information which can lead to anything from your home being burgled, to a young person sharing photos-not-set-for-public-consumption, tagged with your precise physical location!
As a parent (and teacher, for that matter), if you lack a basic understanding of social media, and find it difficult to communicate with digitally-confident children, you are manifesting a disconnect between you and the youngster in your care.
Here are ways to help you navigate this new socialisation and to bridge that technical gap.
Social media and teens – helpful rules
Talk to your child
…about specific issues they may be dealing with, or what other children may be encountering online.
Become curious and better educated
…about the many technologies children and teenagers are using. There are plenty of ways you can learn more – local courses, YouTube tutorials, personal coaches or simply ask questions on areas that are new to you.
Instigate family discussions concerning online topics
… check privacy settings (including location settings on mobile devices), and keep an eye on online profiles for inappropriate posts. On the point of security, if you’re worried, seek advice and assistance from your local mobile phone store, an IT or digital media consultant, or speak to your mobile / broadband provider.
Discuss the importance of your supervising online activities
…through active participation and communication. If the child in your care is out with friends or socialising and playing somewhere in the ‘real world’, I’d expect you would know where they are, who they are with and that they’re being effectively supervised. The same rules apply to online activity. You should be aware of ‘where’ online they are hanging out, and who it is they’re liaising with. Wonder how kids can get into trouble? Press play on the video linked above – you’ll realise why it’s important to take control.
Keep all devices in a public area
…in the home such as places you can monitor as you’re cooking or wandering through a room e.g. lounge, kitchen, dining. I’d also urge you to seriously consider why any child needs to take a mobile device to bed… (actually, we adults shouldn’t either – it’s a dreadful habit – put them away at night!).
Have a strategy in place for if/when your child may be exposed to inappropriate content.
Set aside quality time with your child
…doing things they are interested in, and vary activities across digital and real-life platforms.
All adults lead busy hectic lives, but it’s our responsibility to make time, be informed and implement safety strategies
…for online activity, just as we do for anything our kids are involved with.
Child psychologist, Dr Richard Woolfson believes, “Parents need to maintain an open dialogue and encourage children to share both good and bad online experiences, and make sure they keep up with the latest social media crazes, and work with their children rather than trying to control them.”
The world is a different place to when we were children, and things are vastly changed compared with even as recently as ten years ago. As a parent or carer, it’s critically important to remain aware and prepared for how this type of communication and technology truly impacts and works in kids’ lives and in the home. Develop rules that fit best in your household – just because another family does it one way, if a certain rule or process doesn’t sit right with you, use your discretion. Above all, seek information and educate yourself – it’s not good enough to claim that new technology ‘aint your thing! But who knows, by learning something more, you might end up enjoying this new frontier as much as the kids do.
It’s recently come to my attention that DIY Facebook page managers are unaware of a few of these super easy social media strategies for managing a Facebook page. Here’s a quick post designed to help you today.
5 Things you may not be doing on your business Facebook page
You don’t have to post right then and there, in fact, you can schedule a week or more of material ahead of time! Simply compose a post as you usually would, but instead of clicking “post”, select the little clock icon underneath your post and set a time you would like the post to appear.
This is simple – ask your readers to take what action you require, whether it be to ‘like’, ‘share’, ‘comment’; Ask and generally you shall receive.
4. Be engaged and engaging
That is, when people comment or message you, always reply. Additionally, encourage conversation by asking questions of your audience and consistently share interesting and helpful information as well as insights into your business (behind-the-scenes photos or stories are always well received).
5. Be social
Don’t forget to follow other pages from your business page and always check your news stream so you in turn can be social – by that I mean be sure to ‘like’, ‘share’ and ‘comment on’ other posts. Remember, it’s not “all about you” – to network and socialise, you need to reciprocate what you want from others.
Persistence and repetition of these actions pays off in the end.
Do you have a question, or perhaps another tip to add? Please do drop us a line in the comments below.
Welcome! We are Sarah + Cooper, Aussie expats living in the UK with our Westie dog, London. We like to inspire on how to travel for longer and to live and work from anywhere. Our most popular content here is about seeing the world with your pet, remote working & digital nomadism, and house + pet sitting. Create a global life of your dreams at any age! Subscribe to find out more :)