3 ways to build a healthier relationship with social media

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How often have you found yourself getting frustrated with the things you see on social media? Or feel like you are wasting time on platforms?

In this episode Chris digs into his battle with social media and shares with you three ways that has helped him create a healthier relationship with social media that you can use too.

Chris discusses:

  • Unfollowing your friends on social media
  • Supporting others content
  • How you can add value with your own thoughts on platforms


Additional Resources:


Social media is a constant battle for me. It’s kind of like trying to get this balance between having a negative relationship with social media and a healthy relationship with social media.

I go through phases of deleting everything from my iPhone and then only checking it once a day, to then having it embraced fully into my life, and then getting addicted to it again. I just struggle with this. I think this last 12 months or so, this is recording this in January, 2019, so I’d say over the last 12 months I’ve become better at it, but I still struggle.

I find that it’s little things that I do every day that helped me to have a healthier relationship with social media and how to behave more positively on social media as well.

I don’t think I’m the only one with this challenge based on all the articles that are coming out just now and all the books about digital minimalism and all. It seems to be a real problem. Well, there seems to be. I mean, hopefully it’s not just marketers creating problems where there aren’t any, which wouldn’t be the first, would it?

So I’ve got like three things I want to share with you today that are things that I’m working on that I think that will help you too, to get more from social to build a healthier relationship.

1. Unfollowing your friends

So the first thing is, is that it’s okay to unfollow your friends on social media.

Now this may apply more to business people and marketers, I’m not sure, but it definitely applies to me. I think this comes into like if you’re ever on Instagram, or Twitter, or on any social media platform and you feel frustrated, annoyed, or angry, or just like in disagreement with what your closest contacts are sharing on that social platform.

It happens to me all the time. I’m looking at things and I’m just shaking my head. I’m kind of annoyed and just generally quite, I don’t know, frustrated. Like my friends would say things like this, and then Cara notices this in me all the time. She’ll say something like, “Why are you following these people?” I’ll just be like, “Well, they’re my friends. I want to support them and sort of content that they share.”

And she said something like, “But it’s not for you though, Chris. This content that they’re sharing isn’t for you.” It was so bloody obvious. It was so obvious in that moment where I was like, “Oh yeah, the content that they’re sharing on social media is for some other audience entirely. It’s not for me, and it’s not for their friends.” So because they’re my friends, I feel like I have to, or I want to, or I should be supporting them online, but actually, I feel like it’s having a negative effect on our friendship because I see what they share on social more than I see them in person, especially if they live abroad or outside of Scotland.

So this is a big thing for me, and I think that’s the permission that I want to give to you as well, is that … because that’s what Cara gave me in that moment too, was that permission, is that their content might not be for you, and that’s okay. They’re trying to interact, and engage with, and create discussion in a different group of people, and that group of people doesn’t include you, and that’s fine.

It’s absolutely okay to unfollow your friends on social media. I’m pretty sure, I’m pretty certain that people have done that with me as well, that are friends with me and don’t want to see me talking about the things that I do for a living or whatever.

You will still be friends with these people, and I’m still friends with these people, and maybe even better friends because of it. So unfollowing your friends is okay. That’s the first thing I want to share with you.

2. Supporting others work

The second thing is all about our responsibility as content creators, and how we should behave, I guess, on social platforms.

This came to me as a piece of self-awareness. As I was putting more … a new type of content out there, I noticed just how the lack of engagement or interaction I was getting online, and as soon as I started to feel that negative sort of feeling creeping in, I had that moment of self-awareness where I was like, “Why am I feeling like this?” This is for those that have been creating content for a while, but this is hugely relevant for anybody that’s at the start of their content marketing journey.

I want you to think back. Can you remember how it felt to create and publish content in your early days? You know what? That’s the moment when you worked really hard through all the physical and mental barriers to get that first blog for your podcast out there. It was tough, right? Maybe for some of us it still is tough.

Now, I want you to think as well about how it feels to have your squad in your corner, right? Your people in your corner that recognize you for your great work. They have good discussions with you on Facebook, perhaps they re-tweet your blog. Maybe they comment on your YouTube channel, and generally they support you. I want you to remember what it feels like to have that support when you need it the most, and I want you to channel that outward to your behavior on social media.

For example, when you see someone posting their video, or their blog, or their podcast, let them know that you can see them, that you can hear them, and that you recognize them for the work that they’re doing, because we know as content creators, we know how hard it is to create and publish content, especially in a consistent and committed way.

I think it’s our duty as content marketers, as content creators, I think it’s our duty and our responsibility to recognize others when they are doing great work. This comes back to a part of the CMA manifesto. This is one of the five values is to elevate and inspire others, to understand that for me to be successful, for you to be successful, others must be successful too, and that we’re all born to work together. So, so important, so crucial that we understand this, right? This is our responsibility.

This is your behavior is to support each other online, to comment on and recognize people for their work, and it’s so important. This is us developing this healthy relationship, right? So first of all, we can unfollow people that we would call our friends, but know that their content isn’t for us, and that’s okay.

We should be supporting each other on social media, especially our peers and our colleagues, and those that are working hard to create content. It might not be perfect. It might not be the best type of content they’ll ever create, but we certainly understand and can empathize with the journey and the process that they’ve had to go through to publish this piece of content.

The third thing that I want to share with you is really about what we share, or the type of content that we share.

3. Your unique voice

I think this is a lesson that I’ve learned along the way too, and you know my position on things like sharing people’s quotes, and quote images and things like that, and why I think it’s a weak piece of content to do that, to sort of rely on someone else’s words to express how you feel about something.

What I really want to see as how you feel about this thing, or this expedience, or your own self-awareness or lesson that you learned in that experience.

One of the things that’s changed for me, especially over the last 12 months, so this is now January, 2019. This goes back to about January, 2018 as I moved from just simply sharing my own blogs, and podcasts, and videos on Twitter and on social, to much more of a … into much more a thoughtful content.

You know, I write something new every day, something new and thoughtful every single day, and I’d been doing that for the last year or so. There’s always something for me to share, and I’ve been leveraging Twitter more than anything else, but it’s also bleeding into a lot of the emails that I send, the sort of smaller blogs that I write, and also into the podcast too.

This sort of … you could call it wisdom, or thoughtful wisdom, I guess, is probably what it’s called.

Generally what’s happening here, is that instead of sharing a quote that says how I feel my challenge and my challenge to you is, is to help, is to … Is it possible for you to get there on your own? Oftentimes what happens is I will share my tweet with someone about this thing that I’ve learned, this self-awareness piece, and they will literally reply with a quote from someone famous.

That’s the way around I want to have it, is that I want to get there on my own, and perhaps it can be emphasized differently, or more eloquently, or said better by a famous quote from someone else. I don’t want to share that quote. I want to get there on my own.

This is my challenge to you as well, is to think about how you could shift into thinking much more about how you feel about things and what’s your thoughts and opinion on something, and maybe in maybe as part of that, what happens is you start to shape your own philosophy, and your own ideas, and your own thoughts, and you start to become actually a little bit more confident as a result too.

So there’s a few important points here I think that I want to get over, and then switch from just sharing … just curating content and just sharing your own content, and get into more thought, is that I learn … a lot of times I learn … I can learn from other people’s behaviors.

I’ve seen some other people doing this recently too, where it’s obvious that their thought and this sort of wisdom is actually coming from a place of anger or a place of frustration, and it doesn’t typically work very well if your tweet or your piece of content is better, and it’s a rant. I don’t think it works if it comes from a place of anger.

Now the original place can be from frustration, but the output has to be different. It also can’t be, and I’ll get into that in a second, it also can’t be, “I’m amazing. I learned this thing. I’m better than you,” type of sort of looking down on people, patronizing. It can’t be that either.

The way I try and think about it is if like I’m a mirror, and I am trying to help other people to see something that they can’t see, that’s right there in their own life. It may well be something that I have learned myself. There are some sort of self-awareness.

I’ve changed my behavior as a result, and I can share that with people, and the reason it works really well is because it helps people to see in their own life, so the tweet or the piece of content becomes about the reader, not really about me.

I think this is a really, really important point and something actually I’ve wanted to talk to you about for a while, because I see a lot of people, even in blog articles and videos they create, you can tell that their ideas and their thought comes from a place of anger and bitterness, and that never comes across very well at all. I bet you’ve seen it yourself too. So be more aware of that in other people’s content too.

My challenge to you is to, you know, every day, be a little bit more thoughtful about what you see in the world, and then to sort of craft your own ideas and thoughts about what that means to you, and what you learn, and then to share that on social media as your own thought, and try and not let it come across as better, or from a place of anger. I think those points are really, really important.

And really, the shape of things that happened for me was I wasn’t getting very much interaction or engagement on Twitter at all. Twitter is my main platform for this, but other places it works too as well. All of a sudden, I was starting to share no images, no links, no nothing, just a couple of hundred characters about a thought or some wisdom. I’m getting into hundreds of likes on some tweets, lots and lots of re-tweets as well, and lots of people replying with their own thoughts and ideas on that thing too.

Hands down, this is way more interesting than someone else’s quote that you used to express how you feel. I want to know how you feel about this thing, and that’s what I want you to think about, and that’s what I want you to think about for your own content.

You heard my alarm in the background. That was me trying something different to discipline myself so I could put 30 minutes on the clock and focus on one task and have a five minute break. So that’s my five minute break coming up, which is great.

So a few things for you to think about in 2019 in terms of how you are approaching social media and content, and how to get that healthier relationship with social media is to accept the permission.

It’s okay to unfollow your friends on social media.

Accept your responsibility as a content creator to elevate others, to empathize with other content creators.

Take time each day to think about your perspective on your industry and your world, and then share that wisdom and those thoughts on social media, on your platforms, and it gets far more interesting.

I think it makes social media a much more fun place to be.

That’s everything for today. I hope there’s something in there that you can take from this episode and put it into practice. I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

Just email me chris@cmauk.co.uk with whatever’s on your mind.

And until next time, don’t forget to be awesome.

Have you joined our CMA Facebook group yet? If not, it’s a really good place to hang out. Just head over to Facebook, search for CMA Facebook group, click the join link, and I hope to see you in there soon.

Don’t forget to be awesome.

About Nicola Crawford

Marketing PA at the Content Marketing Academy.
In business, I believe in people first.
Mum to two crazy kids, Alaina and Morgan.
Green belt in Shotokan Karate.
Always learning, always growing.