The truth about how social media is affecting your creative process

A director/writer recently told me that she’s “struggling to find the space and peace to go into the cave, dig deep, and stay focused for long periods of time to create meaningful art.”

I feel like I’m racing the clock and like I have to be available.

Sound familiar? Every creative I’ve coached, worked with or just chatted to at an event has said the same thing. They’re trying to manage e v e r y t h i n g on their own. And of course, there’s a bit of blind panic in there when they stop and realise how much they have going on.

And this is not okay.

I know that you have amazing ideas for content, but there’s always something in your way stopping you from writing, filming, creating. But no one got into this game to think about cool script ideas that only exist in their head 24/7.

So today we’re going to tackle one of the biggest time-energy-resource sucks in 21st century creative life. Social media.

In case we haven’t met yet, I’m hugely passionate about social media, especially for creatives. There’s a lot of untapped potential in the way creatives are using social media (getting film festivals approaching you saying, ‘we’ve seen stuff about your short on Instagram. We’d like you to submit your film to our festival *waiving the submission fee’)

But right now I’m betting that you spend minutes that roll into hours scrolling mindlessly on Twitter or Instagram. Then you become disheartened when you see or read about all the brilliant things everyone else seems to be doing.

Is this enabling you to create? No. It’s actually preventing you from creating.

Social media is the biggest procrastination tool out there, and sometimes you don’t even realise it. You think you’re interacting, keeping up with your friends or getting inspiration.

Here’s what you can actually be using social media for:

Growing an engaged audience that you can leverage

Creating a buzz for your latest/newest/in development project

Meeting other creatives (and having other creatives meet you)

There are three questions you need to answer in order to get really clear on how you’re using social media, so grab a cup of tea and let’s get going.

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What do you do most on social media?

Are you scrolling mindlessly? Are you taking any of the content in? Are you reading any of the captions? Are you checking up on the biggest hashtags? Are you just quietly stalking your ex? What are you really up to most of the time?

Get really specific on what it is you’re spending your time doing.

Example: I scroll mindlessly an engaging with some of the posts. Sometimes I read the captions properly, sometimes I just skip to the next post (and the next… and the next)

How often do you post on social media?

Posting regularly is the key to creating an engaged following.

It’s all about quietly showing up in people’s feeds on a regular basis.

If you’re not posting 2-3 times a week on Instagram already, why not? 5-6 times a week on Twitter? No? Why not?

Example: I only post about once every two weeks on Instagram because I forget to or else I don’t have anything interesting to post.

What is my audience like?

You don’t need followers in the thousands to class them as an audience. Any number = an audience. Now it’s time to analyse them.

What posts do they enjoy the most? Which posts do they engage with the most? You can get a huge range of insights from Instagram if you have a free business profile (here’s why you need one)

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Example: my audience is mostly the same age bracket as me, mostly the same location as me and the posts they interact with most are selfies. They interact the least with sunset pictures. Because I post a lot of sunset pictures, I don’t get high levels of engagement and that’s disheartening.

Now you’ve got some clear and honest answers about your usage of socials we can get really clear on the effect it’s having.

If you’re scrolling mindlessly, that is taking away time and motivation to create.

If you’re not posting regularly, that’s a huge opportunity missed to create an engaged audience and start standing out in the industry.

If you’re not posting enough of what your audience is interested in or you currently have the wrong audience, you’re letting your engagement levels drop (and engagement levels are WAY MORE IMPORTANT than number of followers).

If you’re ready to stop the mindless scroll, check out how to use social media to get your content seen

Analysing your own social media habits and how they’re affecting your creative process is not always a nice thing to do, but it’s a huge step forward.

Saying goodbye to unproductive habits can take away a big chunk of stress.

If you want to take it a step further, look at simplifying your social media activities by automating your content.

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