There’s no denying that social media is an important tool for connecting, growing and promoting your business. However, an online presence comes with its own set of challenges that can hold you back in your entrepreneurial journey — increasing your vulnerability to cyberbullying, loneliness and excessive comparison.
Today we’ll go over two powerful strategies to protect yourself from the negative impacts of social media while effectively leveraging its potential for self-promotion.
Social media is designed to feel like a never-ending stream of content, and it is easy to forget why we’re on it in the first place. Think back to a time when you had one of those what-am-I-doing moments where you realized that an innocent Instagram notification from your friend led to an hour-long scrolling session.
Your first strategy to effectively deal with this problem is to be ever-mindful on social media. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Health Psychology found that mindfulness in employees who used social media at work counteracted the negative effects of social media like emotional exhaustion and, more importantly, feeling unaccomplished.
The study revealed that while social media use can potentially lead to burnout in employees, mindful users fared much better than those who were not as mindful.
Here are a few things you, as a Xolopreneur, may need to ask yourself about your social media usage:
Periodically assess how you feel when you use social media, and don’t shy away from taking breaks as you see fit.
Negativity, criticism and cyberbullying thrive on social media. As a digital nomad, trying to establish your presence, social media can sometimes feel inhospitable.
A 2020 systematic review of 16 papers on the effects of social media on mental health revealed that social media use was consistently linked to poor mental health. According to the review, anxiety and depression were the two most likely mental health conditions that can arise from social media use.
Anxiety in social media users is likely caused by the phenomenon of social media envy. A digital nomad will come across several talented people, many of whom may also have their own social media presence where they market their products and services. Understand that, just like you, they have certain goals they are trying to achieve on social media. Their content is likely to be highly curated and may not give us a full picture of the effort that goes into making successful social media posts.
Take inspiration from other people’s hustle, but do not fall into the trap of constant comparison, which is neither healthy nor enjoyable.
The key to protecting your mental health online is to realize that everyone is on their own path, and social media is just one small part of their journey. There isn’t a race to the top, and even if it seems like there is, what exactly are we racing toward? This is why it’s important to be mindful of what your personal, unique goals for social media are, and work towards that rather than trying to one-up someone with the number of likes or followers you have.
A recent study published in The Journal of Psychology found that an obsession with the number of likes or comments your posts garner will only work against you by increasing your reliance on feedback from others. This can cause you to make poor-quality decisions that are based on emotions. What’s more, the frequency with which you make decisions may also go up, as you are now being guided by many voices instead of just your own. This could lead to a situation called decision fatigue, where we end up making too many decisions throughout the day, causing our decision-making abilities to take a hit.
As an entrepreneur, decision-making is a crucial skill to master. Jeff Bezos put it best in a CNBC interview: “If I make three good decisions a day, that’s enough. And they should be as high quality as I can make them. Warren Buffett says he’s good if he makes three good decisions a year.”
Making sound entrepreneurial decisions can be challenging when you allow yourself to be excessively influenced by chatter on social media. Once you have a clear vision or goal, pursue it single-mindedly.
By staying true to your unique goals and maintaining mindfulness, you can cultivate an authentic online presence that resonates with your target audience. Focusing on your carefully laid-out goals and clear marketing vision allows you to make decisions aligned with that vision, rather than being swayed by external opinions.
Harness the potential of social media to showcase your expertise, connect with your audience, and drive meaningful engagement.
Mark Travers, Ph.D., is an American Psychologist with degrees from Cornell University and the University of Colorado Boulder. Xolo helps him run his online therapy practice, www.awake-therapy.me, from whatever part of the world he is currently living in.
and get the latest updates and expert
business tips straight to your inbox.