Creating a Mentally Healthy Relationship with Social Media

As the CEO of a veterinary-focused digital marketing agency, I am all too familiar with the challenges of social media, both personally and professionally. Social media is a crucial part of my daily job and an important part of my personal life. 

Finding a balance between personal and professional in the 21st century can be challenging, but I’ve tested some strategies that work in my life that may help you find a healthy balance too.

Habits to Intentionally Consume Social Content

We all have our own definition of how much social media is too much. And that’s okay. Everyone has a different experience and relationship with social media both personally and professionally. I found social media encroaching on my family time when I couldn’t stop looking at it. I was afraid I was missing something for work. I was afraid I was missing something that I’d find entertaining. Overall it was just producing a lot of anxiety and stealing time from my priorities, so I made a few changes:

  • Night Night Phone. I used to look at social media in bed. Before bed at night, before I got out of bed in the morning. One day I realized this habit was making me MISERABLE! So I stopped. No more phone in the bed, full stop. The result was amazing. I fell asleep easier because my mind was able to relax–screen-free. In the morning, I began a new routine, waking up, making coffee, and listening to a podcast while walking for 30 minutes before scrolling through social media. This set the tone of my day much better. I had some “me” time back and was able to approach the day with a better attitude.

  • Family Time is Family Time. When I get home from work, the phone goes on the charger and stays out of sight. It was too tempting to have it near me. A reel here and there while I cooked dinner. A response to a client post while my loved ones were telling me about their day. No more! And you know what, I don’t miss it at all, and I haven’t missed anything for a client either. The concept here is pretty simple, when I spent 100% focus on clients during client-time, I was more productive during work time. I was able to really sit and think through ways to make client social media more efficient because I was fully engaged in the task. Essentially–the social media boundaries go both ways. No personal social media during work time, and no work social media during personal time.

  • Intentional Presence. Nothing makes someone feel unimportant, like you doom scrolling through socials while they are trying to connect with you in person. Being intentionally present is one of the more rewarding things you can do with your time. This presence allows you to make more meaningful connections with people and makes people want to spend more time with you. This goes for both personal and professional meetings. I have been in plenty of professional meetings where folks stare at their phones instead of listening to me, and it’s incredibly frustrating. People want to do business with and be friends with people who make them feel important. Don’t let your phone get in the way.

  • Second Screening. Who watches TV while scrolling through socials? Me! I was getting a fraction of enjoyment from both. Pick a screen and stick with one.

  • Set Your Schedule
    Smartphones now have the ability to customize what notifications you see in personal, sleep, work, and do-not-disturb focus modes. To customize what you see and the hours of each focus mode, visit the settings area of your phone, select focus, and customize your focus modes. Don’t want to be bugged by social media notifications when you have personal or sleep modes on? No problem!

  • Consumption Time. We’ve discussed ways to put social media in its box but what about when it is time to sit down and dig into the comments on either your personal or professional accounts? Of course, there is never a good time for negativity; most of us find it emotionally draining. Here are a few tips that can help:

      • Don’t approach it with dread. Usually, the comments aren’t negative. Don’t let one negative comment ruin the good vibes you got from the 10 good ones.

      • Negative comments are an opportunity. If someone had a negative experience with your clinic, you’d rather they tell you than not…right? This is an opportunity to hear the feedback, address it, and in many cases, create an even stronger bond with your client by handling the feedback appropriately.

      • Don’t bear the burden alone. If you’re struggling with something you read or how it makes you feel, process the comment collaboratively with an appropriate co-worker. 

Now that you’re being more intentional with your social content consumption, if you’re also responsible for business social management and find it interfering with your personal social media use, these next tips are for you. If you don’t manage any professional social pages, there are some helpful book recommendations you won’t want to miss at the end of this post.

Notification Settings Are Your Friend!

One of the easiest ways to focus your social media time for personal OR professional use is through notification settings.

  • Meta Business Suite
    Make sure your clinic or whatever social channels you manage are set up as a business page, not a personal page. First, it’s just best practices. No clinics should be operating as individual pages on Facebook. Second, here’s where the magic happens for you. When your clinic administrator adds you as a person with page access, they can set what you need access to. For example, if you are not responsible for responding to comments and messages–they can turn that access off. This ensures you are only getting notifications about things that are your job to follow up on. This will prevent the ‘notifications’ bell from showing you tons of work-related content.
  • On Your Phone
    Navigate to the settings area on your phone, and scroll through your apps until you find Facebook or whatever other social media app you want to manage. Next, click “notifications” to customize what events push notifications to your phone. If you have the Meta Business Suite or Meta Ads Manager apps installed you can also customize settings there for what notifications you receive. In all platforms you’ll navigate to the “settings” area to customize notifications.
  • On Facebook at the Page Level
    Sign onto your work Facebook business page and navigate to the area called “notification settings”. This allows you to choose what you do, and don’t want to be notified about. The settings will not impact others who are users on the account so feel free to make customizations that work for you.
  • Don’t Mix Accounts
    If all these settings sound too difficult there is another solution. Create a new social media account that you only use for work. Have your employer associate that account with the business pages. This will enable you to keep your work social and personal social completely separate. Easy fix!

If you choose to silence notifications make sure you adopt new habits during working hours to ensure you are not missing notifications that are critical to your job. Another way to ensure you’re not missing anything is to implement a social media tool at work. These tools let you schedule posts, monitor comments and inboxes, and respond all in one place. This can save you a ton of time, and takes the onus off you responding to the endless chimes of social media notifications in your free time. These tools also allow teams to share responsibility for social accounts which enable you to take time off and to accept support. You can also set up auto replies on social media inboxes so you don’t have to worry that unread messages haven’t gotten a response. You can provide basic instructions for other ways to get in touch with the clinic if the request is urgent or sensitive. This can help take those important conversations off Facebook messenger and onto your corporate email. 

Further Reading to Inspire Healthy Social Media Boundaries

About Red Brick Partners

Red Brick Partners is a veterinary-specific marketing agency with over 14 years of B2B and B2C veterinary marketing experience. We specialize in lead generation, marketing automation, and digital marketing.