Facebook lost roughly 1 million daily active users in the last few months of 2021.
I’m one of them.
As part of my declared “year of no,” I decided to cancel my personal and professional Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Many people have written about the personal benefits of cutting back on social media, such as feeling less FOMO and reclaiming more downtime for true relaxation—and I’ve felt a lot of those. But today, I want to address the professional benefits and business growth I’ve experienced since shutting down my accounts. In fact, I’ve received more speaker inquiries from prospective clients since I’ve left Facebook and Instagram than I did when I was actively using those platforms.
If you’re considering a social media detox, too, I want to share my experience with you. Here’s how quitting Instagram and Facebook helped me grow my business.
I Became More Intentional About Staying in Touch
When I was scrolling through Facebook and Instagram on a daily basis, I felt like I had touchpoints with clients, colleagues, partners and peers because I “saw” them on my feed all the time. I saw people’s selfies, their kids, their dogs and–true to stereotype–their breakfasts.
But, since quitting Facebook and Instagram, I’ve realized that seeing someone’s social media feed and clicking “like” isn’t the same as staying in genuine touch with them.
Now that I’m not mindlessly scrolling through social channels, I’ve felt much more compelled to reach out to people through email, set up one-on-one video calls and coffee dates, and text people more to check in. I’ve been actively reaching out to my contacts instead of interacting passively with them.
I’m still craving connection, but now I’m taking steps to make those connections more directly. And those active, intentional interactions are doing much more to keep me and my business on a prospective client’s radar. I recently texted a client I hadn’t seen in a while to say hello and ask if she’d like to meet up for lunch. She immediately said yes, we met in person and she hired me to give a presentation to junior employees at her company next month.
I Spend More Time and Energy on LinkedIn
One question that I struggled with—and ultimately led to my decision to walk away from social media—is this: Can you effectively engage with followers on every platform? For me, the answer is no.
When I was managing several channels, I felt like I couldn’t present my best self to everyone because it was too hard to be everywhere at once. I tried hiring multiple social media consultants to help me manage the different approaches needed for the different networks. It all felt inauthentic and, frankly, like too much work.
Instead of stretching myself thin and diluting my impact across several channels, by quitting Facebook and Instagram I’ve tripled down on LinkedIn. I’ve concentrated the energy that I used to spread across multiple networks into LinkedIn alone (with, I’ll admit, a little bit of Twitter sprinkled in) because it fits my personal and business brand better. As a B2B author and speaker, LinkedIn provides a much larger return on my time investment than the more-consumer-oriented platforms.
I feel more authentically myself on LinkedIn, which aligns more with my content and business goals. Some have called it “Facebook for old people” and that suits me just fine.
Social Media “Perfection” Triggered My Perfectionism
It’s well-documented that we idealize how we present ourselves on social media (although authenticity is better for your mental health). Seeing that fake perfection from others dragged down my self-image and just made me feel bad. As a recovering perfectionist, I knew I had to protect myself from those icky feelings of envy and impostor syndrome.
For example, for a long time I was in a Facebook group with fellow alums from my university. Scrolling through the group’s posts, I often felt envious and unhappy with myself because I didn’t feel as successful as everyone else.
Amazingly, when I went to an in-person event with those same people, it turned out that I really liked everyone. They were real, and they told me both good and bad things that had happened to them. Real life was so much more nuanced than social media.
How did this help my business? Sometimes when we feel “lesser than,” we get stuck in inaction and comparison. For me, that negativity took a toll on my ability to promote myself and my business. When I got rid of social media and focused instead on real life interactions, I felt less like I had to be perfect and more like I just had to be human.
If you enjoy interacting with followers on Facebook, Instagram or social channels and you’re getting good business from any or all of them, good for you! I’m not recommending that you give up social media just for the sake of it.
But if you, like me, have always had a nagging feeling that it’s bad for you, give quitting a shot. You might be surprised at the results.