How to reduce (or ditch) social media in 3 easy steps

How to reduce (or ditch) social media in 3 easy steps

Why I left social media, and how to do it in 3 easy steps

This article will help you if you've been toying with the idea of leaving social media, or reducing the amount of time you spend on it. If you're not planning to quit yet, it might encourage you to think about why, how and when you use social media for your business.

I will share the journey I've been on from being on literally all the platforms to only being on LinkedIn. 

Some people say LinkedIn is social media. I don't agree. It's been around much longer and it has a totally different vibe to it.

My definition of social media is Facebook, Facebook Groups, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and the 'love it or hate it' Tik Tok.

What follows are my own personal views and opinions. If they don't resonate with you or your business, that's fine.

All I know is that my business has grown since I came off Facebook and Instagram and I feel so much better as a person. 

Where are your clients?

I work with coaches and therapists and they are all on LinkedIn. Their own clients tend to be corporate women - who are also on LinkedIn - so it's the ideal platform to focus on.

More on LinkedIn later.

(If your ideal clients are on Facebook and Instagram etc., then by all means, stay on those platforms.)

Why would you leave social media anyway?

My main goal for 2022 was to simplify my life and spend less time online so I can focus on the things that truly make me happy. I enjoy my business, but it isn't my whole world.

My 'happy list' is a long one and nothing on it involves a screen!

How I made the decision

It was a difficult decision because we are all told that we should be on social media if we want to market our business successfully.

However, as an email marketing specialist, I know that social media is only one part of the marketing wheel (see my post on why email marketing is so important).

I knew social media wasn't really serving me or my business but I kept going, probably for a couple of years after I knew I wanted to quit.

Have you really considered what social media success looks like?

Is it the number of likes and follows? The reach? Engagement? I carefully tracked these metrics each month and they showed steady growth, so I thought I must be doing OK.

But how many actual leads or sales had I made?

Very few.

That was a lightbulb moment.

I could have kicked myself when I thought about all that time I had spent churning out social media content but with so little to show for it.

I decided not to follow the Facebook Ads or Groups model but I appreciate that they can work really well for people...but as a part-time business owner, I needed a slick, simplified model of marketing that works for me.

Here are my other reasons for wanting to leave social media:

1. I had too many accounts

    I had 3 Facebook and 3 Instagram accounts (personal, business, and one for the charity I manage).

    This is on top of a LinkedIn account, and 6 email accounts plus all of the various apps, tools and platforms I use for my business and the charity.

    That's a lot of stuff to manage.

    When I did Social Media Manager training back in 2018 I also had a Twitter and Pinterest account but I quickly got rid of those!

    2. It took up too much time

      I was quite slick at creating content and posting but even my very simple social media strategy meant spending hours writing content, posting and creating graphics, resizing them for the different accounts.

      (Believe me, I have tried all manner of social media strategies but none of them really worked for me and how I do my business.)

      You might ask 'Jackie, why not block out time and do your posting all in one go?' That content-batching thing. I say no. Why? I tried it. For me, it takes all the joy and spontaneity out of life! I have lots of evergreen content which is easy to cut and paste and schedule, but the other stuff flows better when you write what and when you actually want to write.

      I admit I am not the most disciplined person and after years of struggling with feelings of 'I should', I finally accepted that rigid time blocking is not for me. This allowed me to accept myself more fully and it felt great.

      You might say 'Jackie you can hire a social media manager or VA to do this for you' and to that I also say no. I've been a social media VA myself and quickly dropped it as a service. It takes the very best copywriters to write stuff for you, as you, in your voice. Because they're the best they cost a lot. I am a small part-time business owner wanting to keep my overheads to a minimum. I could get a VA to schedule but I'd still have to write the stuff. The scheduling bit actually takes seconds.

      3. It was physically and mentally unhealthy

        Once your post is out there, you have to 'engage.' Spending (wasting?) time 'engaging' (a.k.a. scrolling) was not good for my posture or my eyesight because I'd usually do this on my smartphone whilst sprawled in a comfy chair.

        Again I 'could' have done this in a disciplined way during the day at my PC but at the end of a busy day I just wanted to switch off the big screen and relax.

        Sometimes I felt that my mental health suffered. 'Comparisonitis' could kick in, and those endless glossy posts about people 'living their best lives' and running their perfect, successful businesses began to grate. Especially the ones on Instagram.

        Don't get me started on people who do those little dances with captions.

        Is it just me…..?

        4. Enough is enough!

          I'd sometimes get drawn into silly pointless conversations, be triggered by some idiot, or incensed by someone's ignorance.

          The feeding frenzy in Facebook groups was also utterly cringeworthy (you know, when someone posts that they need exactly what you have to offer but 40 people have responded first?).You're drowned out and feel like you've sold your soul. That's how it made me feel, anyway.

          The censorship thing also concerned me. Seeing brilliant people being cancelled and de-platformed for expressing opinions that are different to the mainstream narrative was the final straw for me.

          A coach I know nearly fell off the side of a mountain trying to perfect a selfie. That was her lightbulb moment - all she wanted was a quiet day hiking with her family, yet all the time she was thinking 'oh what can I post about this/where would make a good selfie?' Not good. I see this alot and it makes me uncomfortable to be honest.

          You're simply not present when your head is in the social media world when every meal, moment and location is potentially post-worthy.

          My own kids often used to say 'don't put that on Facebook' and I now find myself saying that to their grandparents whenever the phone camera comes out. Not everyone wants to have everything they do photographed and posted, yet it seems to be an ingrained habit nowadays.

          Some might accuse me of having a mindset that is keeping my business 'small', but you know what, I want to keep it small! I'm running my business my way and it's working perfectly for me.

          5. Is it a con-trick?

            Social media does have its benefits but at the end of the day, no one can argue with the fact that it's designed to hook you in and keep you online. There is tons of evidence (including videos I've seen from former employees at Facebook and Google) that it's all geared around that little dopamine hit you get when you get a notification.

            Do your own research - you'll likely be horrified!

            6. Nothing in life is free

              Many people don't realise that if a platform is free then YOU are the product. Think about it - we are creating content for free that keeps these sites running. Without us, there'd be no platform….and people are leaving in droves (again, do your research).

              Finally, remember the hype about Club House? That aged well, didn't it.

              So, I have waxed lyrical about why I left Facebook and Instagram - what about the how?

              Here's how I did it:

              1. Make your decision, then pick a date to delete the account(s). It takes 28 days to fully delete a Facebook and Instagram account.

              2. Tell everyone about your plans - I received loads of lovely supportive messages; many people have been inspired by me to leave social media, or at least look at how it is affecting them and to weigh up whether the effort results in actual sales.

              3. Follow the right people over on LinkedIn - I had tons of followers who were ideal potential clients, but I hadn't sat down and looked through them to connect and/or follow back. I have connected with as many of the 'right' kind of my Instagram and Facebook followers as I could find on LinkedIn. My LinkedIn account is now at 500+, and is full of the right kinds of contacts for my business.

              You might decide to leave your account(s) live, but static.

              That's up to you. I wanted a clean break, so I deleted mine! If you do stay, here's some advice:

              Go through your followers with a fine-toothed comb. I hadn't done this in far too long, and noticed a lot of followers were 'dodgy blokes' who were clearly not my ideal audience. I deleted them straight away.

              Make sure your profile clearly explains who you are. I know we are all obsessed with our 'talking business card' / strapline, but when I was going through my followers, I noticed several had fancy titles rather than their real name, so I'd have to do extra work to find out who they are before connecting with them on LinkedIn. I don't have the time, so I didn't bother.

              Protect your time and head-space. Are you faffing about with graphics, quotes and hashtags? Is it really worth it?

              LinkedIn only

              Since March 2022 I have only been on Linkedin. What a blessed relief! It feels so much more grown up and business-like there. My ideal clients are there, it's easy to manage and post content, and it's all in one place.

              I have synced my LinkedIn account up with my Canva Pro account so I can create and post/schedule in minutes direct to my LinkedIn page. It saves me oodles of time and energy. I cut and paste stuff from my website or from my huge bank of the social media posts I created over the years.

              Always save your work on one place so you can grab content that's still relevant rather than starting afresh each time. So many of my clients do this, forgetting they have fab stuff they've already shared. It's OK for people to see posts more than once - it reinforces your message and they might have missed it the first time around.


              It takes a brave person to admit that social media is not really working out, despite how many followers you might have. Really interrogate your follower list, leads, sales and stats and weigh up if it's worth staying. 

              Think about where your ideal followers hang out. Can you delete just one of your social media accounts to save time and head space?

              Consider taking a break from social media for, say, a week and notice how much extra time you have available. What are you really missing out on?

              If you're ready to walk away, I can tell you it's very liberating and I haven't looked back.

              There really is more to life!

              Go for it! And connect with me on LinkedIn if you haven't already...