Imagine if you had the ability to control social media and get benefits from apps such as Instagram and Facebook.
That’s a question I’ve been asking the last few years, not just while writing this column about social media and releasing a book about habits but also by analyzing my own routines and obsessions. Twitter is a great platform for writers. I have recently shared how it has influenced my writing. I’ve noticed that social media can be a tool for good in the right hands.
And yet, why is it that we’re all still so distracted and unproductive? It’s almost always due to social media obsession.
Good productivity is about focusing on what matters most and staying away from distractions and bad habits. Social media might be our worst bad habit, because it’s always available, easy to use, and yet the goal with social media is elusive and hard to pin down.
Jordan Raynor is a colleague productivity expert. I recently asked him how he handles social media. Raynor wrote the book. Save Your TimeA popular podcast host. His advice could be helpful to all who are struggling with distraction.
1. Every 24 hours, you can delete your favorite apps
It’s a bold step but it is something I really love. He’s not saying we should permanently delete Instagram, for example, but he takes a big step to avoid over-usage. “I delete and reinstall Instagram from my phone every 24 hours. It is downloaded, I do my work, then I get rid of it. Otherwise, I will find myself drowning in that infinity pool for the rest of the day,” he says.
2. Don’t try to get new customers
This is one that I find fascinating. Raynor believes that the continuous pursuit of new customers (in Raynor’s instance, readers or podcast listeners) is an ineffective endeavor. “I don’t think about social media as a means of acquiring a new audience. It’s just become too expensive to do that on most social media platforms. We have begun to see social media, with my team, as an area where we can provide existing fans with resources (posts and videos, etc.). to easily share with their friends.”
3. Don’t try to persuade people to purchase products
Raynor says that it is less likely that people will purchase his book through a link on social media. “[What hasn’t worked is] direct calls-to-action to purchase products—especially on Instagram. There’s just too much friction. Thus, we have started to think of Instagram like podcasting—a tool to deepen relationships with our super fans who we know will click to buy via our email marketing efforts.”
4. Concentrate on your email list
Raynor claims that productivity through social media may not be directly related to the boosting of social media. It’s tied to your email marketing efforts. People don’t use social media to buy products direct (despite Social Commerce being a hot trend). Raynor says if he could change anything about how he used social media early on, especially with his first books, he would focus on his email list, not on “single sale” book links.
5. Get even more radical
Raynor isn’t one to say we should delete our social media accounts. Raynor did say that some people need to be more radical. According to him, the key question is what social media can provide and how much it will cost. Some people should reconsider staying on social media platforms if it is too expensive. Raynor takes a more moderate approach, but “non-stop noise limits our ability to think, be creative, and be productive in an anxiety-free way.” Some of us need to cut that cord.