In the internet age, avoiding the omnipresent social media monster is hard. Unfortunately, many of us have fallen into bad social media habits that prevent us from maximising the potential of our online presence.
From spending too much time scrolling through our feeds looking for inspiration to posting content that is too boring or too lazy, there are many mistakes we can make.
In 2023, it is time to break free from these bad social media habits and take control of our digital presence.
Let’s look at how to break free from bad social media habits and develop engaging and readable content that can help you build a robust online presence.
What Are Bad Social Media Habits?
In general, bad social media habits can be defined as any behaviour that leads to unproductive or inefficient use of social media.
Besides inefficient searching for content ideas and lazy content creation, it can also include posting too much, too little, or not engaging with your followers enough. These habits can lead to less effective use of social media and prevent you from achieving your goals.
How I identified my bad Social Media Habits
When I first started using social media, I was guilty of many of these bad social media habits.
I would spend hours scrolling through my feed, looking for ideas, inspiration, frameworks, tips, tricks and hacks. Then after wasting so much time on what and how to post, I’d be left with no time to do the actual posting.
And that meant that what was posted was awful. It was rushed. It was boring. It was lazy. And it wouldn’t work.
Seeing that I wasn’t making any progress, my posting patterns would swing wildly from posting every few weeks in one part of the year to posting 10 times a day during another.
And just like any form of bad behaviour, you can’t recover until you admit you have a problem.
And I had a problem.
The first step in breaking free from these bad habits was to take a step back and analyse my current social media usage.
I started by looking at how much time I spent researching, learning and inspiration-hunting on social media. It was pretty shocking. I spent up to 2 hours a day trying to figure out what to do.
I could see a correlation between the time spent “researching” and the lack of posting.
I also looked at how engaging my content was and how much interaction I got from my followers. This gave me a good idea of where I was going wrong and what I needed to do to improve.
There were some interesting findings. And many of what I assumed would perform the best failed to fire.
Breaking Free from Boring Content
Once I had identified my bad social media habits, the next step was to break free from the boring content I was posting. I realised that the content I was posting needed to be more engaging and needed to help me reach my goals.
I had assumed that educational content that helped people do better at managing their WordPress sites, assisted them with Cybersecurity, guided them with using software and pointed them in the right direction on how to handle search engine optimisation would be the most engaging.
It turns out that the content was too long, too complex and too impersonal.
When I wrote about social media and branding, engagement rose.
That’s when I read a post from someone I was following that suggested that if we’re posting about 15 different topics, no one understands what we’re an expert at.
But once we strip back to just one or two topics, something happens that, at first, seems counterintuitive.
We get less reach and engagement. But we get more people seeking our assistance via private messages. And private messages seeking your assistance are infinitely more valuable than effortless likes and two-word comments on posts.
To fix this, I started to focus on creating more exciting and engaging content within my two chosen fields of expertise that people seemed to resonate with. And I found that out by asking my followers what they know me best for.
By far, the most significant response was “social media.” Hardly surprising since I have been training people how to do it for over a decade and am one of just five accredited Meta trainers in Australia.
The other answer came up more from private messages I had been receiving for months. These messages were asking more for direction on branding. But not standard business branding — they wanted to know how I had managed to build my personal brand.
And there we had it.
Social media and personal branding were my two areas of known expertise.
more visual, such as videos and images, and I also made sure to use more exciting language in my posts.
Based on this, I had to ensure I posted content relevant to my audience and addressed their needs and interests.
This helped me to create more engaging content that was more likely to get the attention of my followers.
And it did. Within a couple of months, my following had tripled.
There is still more that I have to do in 2023.
Develop Engaging and Readable Content
Once I had broken free from the boring content I was posting, my next step was to develop engaging and readable content. To do this, I started to focus on creating content that was easy to read, and that was not too long or too short. I also made sure to use a clear structure to make it easier for my followers to read and understand the content.
Some techniques included shorter sentences, double line breaks between paragraphs and eye-catching ways of formatting the text in my social media posts, creating an instant eye drawing.
Possibly the best advice came from a LinkedIn influencer, Justin Welsh. He created a framework for writing content that involves asking six questions;
- What can I teach someone?
- What did I observe during the journey?
- How is this different from what others say?
- What tools or lessons can I share in list form?
- Why did all of this happen?
- How did it start? And how is it going?
This created what he claimed was an endless content-generation machine. And given that I’ve been following this content framework for some 30 weeks now, I’d say he’s right. I don’t struggle to come up with things to post these days.
Do I get it right on every post? No.
Do I have killer weeks every week? No.
But I have learned that the more I answer these questions within my values, the more engagement and reach I get. Especially when I’m authentic and vulnerable with sharing stories about myself and others around me.
Making Content More Shareable
Once my content was engaging and readable, my next step was to make it more shareable.
And while I haven’t entirely conquered this one yet, I am making my start with a couple of varieties of content that I’ve noticed are doing exceptionally well on various platforms;
- TikToks that are based on reactions or reviews
- Document uploads on LinkedIn in the form of carousels
- Reels on both Facebook and Instagram
- Podcast episodes
And while I’m already doing podcasts, I’m lagging far behind in video simply because it’s time-consuming to make, and I am still sorting out who I am.
Plus, the creators on social media that I enjoy the most aren’t making videos. Although I do watch a lot on YouTube… hmmm.
Written content isn’t particularly shareable because its message is not immediately entertaining or obvious. Video gets to the point faster. And in the TikTokification of attention, there’s crazy attention to be found.
Watch this space in 2023. I may be late to the video game, but I will be doing it.
Rubbish advice that I’m kicking to the curb
Once you have identified your bad social media habits and have started to break free from them, there are still some simple steps you can take to improve your social media presence.
At least according to the AI writing tool I just used to generate this article, I’ve now spent 2 hours correcting and making it a little less generic.
Firstly, ensuring you are using the right social media platforms for your business is important. Each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses, and you should focus on the best platforms suited to your needs.
I can agree with the AI there. A small business can’t do everything ideally suited to every platform without putting on a full-time team dedicated to making online content.
The AI tells me that creating a consistent posting schedule and posting regularly is also essential.
My own experience is that this is not necessarily true.
The AI wants me to tell you that it keeps you top-of-mind. It doesn’t tell you that when you’re super active on social media, people will get sick and tired of seeing you at the top of their feed daily. And they’ll either start to ignore you or actively unfollow you to get your face out of their day.
You also have to give people a break from you.
Expect people to rebel when you’re cramming their LinkedIn feed with your unsolicited, know-it-all advice at 8 am every weekday.
I found that my reach and engagement tank if I do too much at the same time every day. So throw things around a little.
Post a bit later. Skip a day. You won’t die. And neither will your following.
This will help to ensure that your followers are seeing your content and that you are staying top of mind. It is also essential to engage with your followers, as this can help to foster relationships and build trust. Finally, measuring your performance and analysing the data is vital to understanding what is working and what isn’t.
The Bottom Line
If you want to be effective and not have people hate you, you’ll want to spend some time working on dropping those nasty social media habits that have crept in over the last year
From spending too much time on social media to find content to posting content that could be more exciting or active, we can make many different post styles that could be improved. But you can break free from these bad habits and start to create content that is engaging, readable, and shareable.
From simple steps, such as making sure to use the right social media platforms, to more advanced strategies based on your insights and analytics, you can take control of your digital presence and be in a better position in 2023.