Why I Quit Marketing On Social Media

At the beginning of this month, I quit marketing my work on social media.

To be clear: this wasn’t a big stretch! I haven’t talked about my work much more than “randomly” (and social media has never helped me sign clients).

Still, it’s considered “the” place to share your work on the internet, right? This is partly because nearly everyone uses social media (making it, quite literally, the biggest and farthest-reaching “social network”) and partly because it’s “free” …as long as you’re willing to sacrifice your time to the algorithm and some personal information for big-spending advertisers.

But marketing my work on social media has never worked for me. Not for my money-making work and not for my mind/body/soul.

And here’s why -

#1. Finding clients through social media is rare within my industry.

I’m a writer and a copywriter. I work with people who use social media for marketing; but it doesn’t attract those same clients to my work.

Instead, and like many service providers, my work is primarily referral-based: If a previous client shares her results with a friend, that friend is more likely to reach out for help (v. an Instagram follower who finds my work through a hashtag browse).

Of course, this isn’t the case for every industry (even for every writer). And Instagram says it’s committed to supporting creators in 2022. But it seems to be the case for me!

#2. The life of a social media post (on Facebook and Instagram) is severely limited — sometimes to as little as one hour. Which makes it far less fruitful in the long-term.

If your post on Instagram doesn’t receive “good” engagement within the hour it’s posted, the algorithm won’t share your post — even within your followers’ feeds! This means you have to post the right kind of image, with the right kind of words, at the right time of day just to have a chance for visibility.

Even the sound of this is exhausting to me.

And this doesn’t even touch on the topic of how distracted people are within that hour of your “best engagement” period! Even if someone sees or reads your post, it’s unlikely to make them stop and think… let alone follow and support.

Alternatively, Pinterest and YouTube allow for long-term searchable content. (These platforms are not considered social media, though I think it’s vital to point out their use of similar algorithms.)

And this, I think, is what I need right now (and what I’ll attempt to create with my non-social media marketing strategy): internet platforms used to archive my work, publicly.

Again, this isn’t the best strategy for every small business creative. Determining what works for you and why is quite individual. That’s a big part of my work with clients.

#3. To that point, social media requires a lot of creative energy to keep up with an endlessly changing algorithm.

This isn’t inherently bad; if you enjoy creating for social media platforms, it’s a great way to engage with people around the globe.

But if you’re like me and you don’t particularly enjoy creating Reels and regularly posting to Stories, creating for social media doesn’t provide the same kind of rejuvenative energy. (And really, that should be the goal: creating in ways that support you.)

Of course, some people have created intentional balance with social media. Many of my business friends and clients have created time-boundaries with social media (i.e. only spending one hour per day on all platforms) or social sabbaths (i.e. no social media on the weekends).

I’ve tried those things and failed (many times). Which leaves me with few options but to exit the platform — at least for now.

#4. The consumption of social media is well-documented to encourage unhealthy and unrealistic comparison that leaves us feeling more depressed and anxious. (Visit TheSocialDilemma.com to learn specifics.)

Of course, this wasn’t the original purpose of social media: it was designed to expand our social life in ways that in-person events can’t.

But with a business model that prioritizes big-spending advertisers and an algorithm that intentionally creates screen addiction, the original purpose for community-building platforms feels nearly long-gone.

Even without the research, my personal experience has changed lately.

At the beginning of the pandemic, social media helped me keep in touch with everyone I wasn’t seeing in-person. Now it feels like an easy distraction from the hard parts of life I sometimes want to avoid.

The decision to quit marketing my work on social media is one I’ve struggled to make for years.

Social media acts as my primary distraction to what-matters-most; and yet, it’s full of small business owners I choose to support and friendships I wouldn’t have otherwise: But how can I drop the parts about social media that I don’t like… and keep the good parts?

I couldn’t find a solution other than dropping social media entirely and engaging with friends and community in different ways — by visiting our local artist studio, directly writing to dear friends, and starting this community for creatives like me.

But I’m curious, whether you use social media or not: How have you grappled with your questions around these platforms?

xx, alycia buenger

NOTE: This was originally published as an email to my list. If you prefer to receive articles like this right inside your inbox, sign up to hear from me weekly right here — www.alyciabuenger.com/sign-up

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freelance writer, cultural critic, deschooling parent. I explore radical re-imaginings for our collective, sacred experience on this earth.

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alycia buenger

alycia buenger

freelance writer, cultural critic, deschooling parent. I explore radical re-imaginings for our collective, sacred experience on this earth.

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